Best of 282 property flips in Greater Vancouver, from the classic type to “speculation head scratchers”

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      Last week, the Georgia Straight released its 26th Best of Vancouver edition.

      As has been the cherished tradition, readers vote on the best things in and around the city. Staff writers choose their picks as well.

      Along this vein, the Straight asked the guys over at about an astounding property flip they have seen in the past year.

      As readers know, Zealty is a real-estate information site owned and operated by Holywell Properties.

      Responding to the request for a jaw-dropping flip, Zealty cofounders and Holywell realtors Adam Major and Gary Little did something better.

      Little, who is the portal's chief technology officer, mined the site’s enormous trove of data.

      Little pulled out a list of 282 properties in the Greater Vancouver housing market, which were sold twice within a year.

      [To see the complete list of properties, the Straight is sharing here Zealty's compilation as a file on the sidebar of this report.]

      Next, Major, who is Zealty's CEO, combed through the list, and made three principal trends or ways how a flip is made.

      Before that, the Zealty guys note that a flip happens when the same property is sold twice within 365 days.

      Classic flip

      This Burnaby home at 3708 Price Street made $472,000 within a year.

      The first type of flip is “probably more traditional”, Major noted.

      “Buy a house, do some renos and sell it for more money.  These take all forms, from just painting and buying new appliances to full gut renovations.  You can still make money buying the right property, reno-ing the kitchens and bathrooms and putting it back on the market,” he explained.

      “If you do it right, you can probably net a couple hundred thousand dollars in under a year,” Major said.

      “I would call these classic flips,” he said.

      Major cited an example, which is 1307 Noons Creek Drive in Port Moody.

      The property was sold on October 26, 2020 for $1,190,000.

      The Port Moody home sold again under a year on October 19, 2021 for $1,781,000.

      “That is a $591,000 or almost 50 percent increase in one year,” Major said.

      “The flippers put in high end kitchen and bathrooms, and I’m guessing the renovation costs were over $200,000 but still an impressive, almost $400,000 profit in one year,” Major noted.

      Another one is 3708 Price Street in Burnaby.  

      It sold twice this year, first for $1.2 million, and later for $1,672,000.

      That is $472,000 or 40 percent in six months, Major said.

      “Again, reno costs were likely $200,000, so profit is also likely over $200,000,” the Zealty executive said.

      “Sounds like easy money, but to pick the right house at the right price and do the renovation work in six months takes work,” he said.

      Do Nothing flip

      This Sechelt home at 5490 Hill Road made $586,000 in a year.

      Major noted that some people are taking advantage of the run up in house prices to “make a quick buck for whatever reason”.

      Likely “because they can”.

      “There are a lot of homes that have gone up 20 percent to 30 percent in the last year, and sold as they were a year before,” he said.

      This means that buyers earn “without doing any work”.

      Major cited a deal in the Sunshine Coast involving a waterfront home at 5490 Hill Road in Sechelt.

      The home sold in December 2020 for $1,799,000.

      In less than a year, the same property sold in October 2021 for $2,385,000.

      “That is a $586,000 increase or 32.5 percent in one year,” Major said.

      “Not sure what it says about our society when houses, most people’s largest asset, increases in value by a third in a year,” the Zealty CEO said.

      “Maybe the inflation rate is a bit higher than two percent,” he added jokingly. “It is good to remember that this is not typical and does not happen every year.”

      Speculation headscratchers flip

      This Vancouver home at 1716 Drummond Drive lost $800,000 in a flip.

      Major said that the third type of flip is “really just speculation head scratchers”.

      “These are people buying detached homes to redevelop them or flip them to developers who have too much money to spend,” he explained.

      “This also seems to be happening recently at the high end where people are buying expensive properties with a plan to build high end spec homes,” Major added.

      “This can be a dangerous business though,” he cautioned.

      One example is 1716 Drummond Drive near UBC.

      The Point Grey home sold in December 2020 for $12.3 million.

      It was sold again in May 2021 for $11.5 million, or $800,000 less.

      “I guess if you can afford to pay over $12 million for a house, you can afford to lose a million in reduced price, property transfer tax and real estate commissions,” Major said. “Maybe it’s a tax write off!”