Vancouver Liberal candidate makes series of rapid-fire home deals, insists he’s no speculator

A day after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pledged to heavily tax house flippers, a Liberal candidate is under fire for selling his properties in a short timespan. Kier Junos and Martin MacMahon report on the candidate’s rapid-fire home deals.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville in this year’s federal election has been involved in at least four rapid-fire real estate deals within a four-year period, but Taleeb Noormohamed insists he’s no speculator.

This comes after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pledged on Tuesday to crack down on home flipping, with a promise to impose heavy taxes on anybody selling a home within 12 months of buying it if his party stays in power.

Of the four transactions reviewed by NEWS 1130, three involved the purchase and sale of a home within a 12-month period that would result in taxation under the proposed Liberal plan. The fourth deal happened just beyond that mark. In combination, these four deals brought in nearly $600,000, before taxes and other transaction costs are factored in.

Nothing Noormohamed has done is illegal, and he has largely been a private citizen apart from a brief period in mid-2018 when he announced he would run for Vancouver mayor under the Vision banner, before abruptly pulling out due to a heart problem.

But amid Metro Vancouver’s affordability crunch, deals with these kinds of quick turnarounds and profitable outcomes have been described as “flips,” and blamed as contributing factors to rapidly escalating home prices.

In particular, NEWS 1130 has learned Noormohamed bought and sold two of the four homes during the pandemic. They included a two-bedroom condo on West 13th Avenue in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood and a two-bedroom apartment on National Avenue near Pacific Central Station. In the first instance, Noormohamed bought and sold the unit within three months, while the National Avenue property was sold seven months after purchase.

In December 2019, the tech entrepreneur sold a townhome-style condo on Burrard Street a year and four months after purchase. Going back a bit further to late 2017, Noormohamed cashed in on a designer loft in the West End six months after acquiring it.

Transforming ‘unlivable’ spaces

But Noormohamed pushes back on the suggestion he’s a speculator.

In a phone interview, he told us he intended to live at the property on West 13th, but the pandemic made renovations impossible. He says rules in the building meant he couldn’t rent the property out, so he sold it.

As for the home on National Avenue, Noormohamed says the intention was for his sister to move into that property, but as a result of the pandemic, she decided to continue living with their parents, so again, there was a decision for a quick sale.

Regarding the Burrard sale, Noormohamed suggested he, along with his parents, turned it into a livable space.

“Understand my family,” Noormohamed said. “My father is an architect, my mother is an interior designer. And they have a passion for retrofitting and redesigning and working through old spaces. And so the Burrard property was an unlivable, at that time, unlivable property. There were quite literally pigeons in the apartment, needles.”

Of the four deals, the 2017 sale in the West End was seemingly the most profitable, bringing in a profit of around $200,000 within half a year.

“I think it’s really important to look at the property that was purchased, and the property that was ultimately sold and the work that was done, and the cost and the effort and the consideration that was put into it,” Noormohamed said, stressing that the buy and sell price indicating a $200,000 profit “does not reflect the economics” of that transaction.

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Local housing advocate Rohana Rezel was the first to go public with his concerns about Noormohamed’s dealings, and shared his research with our station — which we verified through land title records.

He argues what’s happened here qualifies as flipping.

“On the one hand, you have Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promising to crack down on speculation and flipping, and at the same time, you have a candidate that’s engaging in that very behaviour,” Rezel said.

NEWS 1130 asked Noormohamed how many homes he has sold within a two-year period after purchase within the last decade, and he said he didn’t want to speculate.

His staff says they will try to provide some more information on this, but that it may take time.

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