Skip to content

Letter: This is how house flipping is hitting New West hard

One year and a giant profit later
Glacier Media file photo


The house-flipping problem recently highlighted by the new MP for Vancouver Granville, and his history, is also an issue in New Westminster.

I was out for an evening walk recently and I noticed the home was for sale again. When I first saw the home for sale last year, I assumed the property was going to be redeveloped as it was looking rundown.

A large family with young children lived in the home before the first sale, trampoline in the front yard and kids playing. I believe that they rented the home. After the first sale, the family moved out, trampoline and all. My son delivers papers to the house and as far we could tell, the house sat empty for the past year.

I checked the BC assessment website and the home sold for $1,190,300 in September 2020 - one year later it is listed for sale for 1,388,000. It appears that some staging and painting have been done to make the house look more appealing. The home is being sold precisely one year later, I assume to avoid capital gains or other penalties.  

I don’t know how that is possible since the home was not occupied. The new owners stand to make a gross profit of $197,700 if it sells for asking – not bad for one year.

I am all for a free market and people making money, but this type of speculation in the midst of a housing crisis is concerning. The property sat empty for a year, it was not a place to live for anyone. A family was displaced. Now it is being dressed up and sold for a considerably higher price - no wonder people can’t find affordable housing.

All levels of government continue to talk about the housing crisis, but nothing is done. The provincial government will gain on two land transfer property taxes, the municipal government continues to bring in property tax, the real estate agents will make some good commissions, and the speculators may clear $200,000 in a year. Everyone wins except for the people who need a place to live.

A better solution might be for the city to expropriate the land, provide the speculator a more reasonable profit for the one year. 

The city could redevelop properties like this. Maintaining the heritage values while creating two or three suites to rent. The provincial and federal governments could kick in to pay for all the renovations on the understanding that the home remain rental housing managed and owned by the city.

Perhaps that is simplistic, but solutions need to be looked at. The free market system is not perfect and it is clearly failing people that need housing, it is time to step-in and provide some solutions.

Geoff Pomper, New Westminster