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Vancouver leads Canada's first home sales decline in five months

Condo flipping was never pervasive in the Vancouver and Toronto housing booms and that sliver of the market has faded over time, suggesting tougher measures to curb speculators won’t make those cities more affordable.

Just 3.4 per cent of Vancouver condominiums sold between April and June were units that had already been sold over the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from Teranet Inc.’s land and housing registry. The share of “paired sales” is close to the 2.9 per cent average over the last 12 months, and the rate has steadily declined from a decade ago when it topped 6 per cent.

Paired-sales data can be used to measure flipping, the speculative practice of quickly selling a property to profit from escalating prices. The proportion has also fallen in Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, where it was 1.7 per cent in the second quarter, down from 5 per cent before the global financial crisis.

The Teranet data provides insight into markets where domestic and foreign speculators were often blamed for driving prices out of reach for ordinary buyers. The paired sales rate did spike in Vancouver’s condo market in March 2016, when about 5 per cent of transactions were resales made within one year. Prices in the city were rising an average of 5 per cent per month at the time, prompting the province to crack down by introducing a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers.

Looking at full-year data, the share of flipped condos never exceeded 5 percent in the past decade. That suggests few people were looking to make a quick buck in a city where prices almost doubled in 10 years.

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