VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Days after the Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville said he didn’t “want to speculate” on how many rapid-fire real estate deals he’s been involved with in a short period of time over the last decade, NEWS 1130 has learned Taleeb Noormohamed has bought and sold at least 21 homes within a year of buying them since 2005.
It comes as the Liberals campaign on housing affordability as part of the party’s platform in this year’s federal election, even going so far as to promise an anti-flipping tax.
Read more: Vancouver Liberal candidate makes series of rapid-fire home deals, insists he’s no speculator
According to documents obtained by NEWS 1130, Noormohamed has sold at least 42 properties within Metro Vancouver within the last 17 years, holding 30 of them for less than two years. And the tech executive has made a tidy profit along the way, making $4.9 million in the process, a remarkable $3.7 million of which he’s bagged in the last six years.
Last week, NEWS 1130 reported Noormohamed had sold at least four homes within two years of buying them since 2017. While nothing Noormohamed has done is illegal, these new documents paint a far more extensive picture of his real estate activity during an election in which his party leader has described real estate speculation as “predatory.”
Housing activists have labelled Noormohamed’s real estate activity as consistent with flipping behaviour, in which a person buys a home only to sell it in a short time span for a profit. Flipping has been criticized as one of the contributing factors in rising home prices in Metro Vancouver and throughout the country.
In a previous interview with NEWS 1130, Noormohamed suggested two quick sales in 2020 were related to the pandemic, and that other sales in recent years were as a result of a family business in which he upgrades homes — some of which he described as “unlivable” — along with his parents, and then puts upgraded properties — which are then suitable to be lived in — back on the market.
When we asked about the extent of Noormohamed’s real estate dealings during that interview last week — specifically, how many homes he’d sold within two years of buying them over the last decade — he wasn’t able to answer the question.
Related video: Vancouver Liberal candidate under fire for flipping properties
When notified on Sunday that NEWS 1130 had a more extensive list of his real estate activity since 2005, Noormohamed’s staff shared this statement with us:
“I am fully committed to making housing more affordable across Canada, and right here at home in Vancouver Granville.
“Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the most ambitious plan of any party to make housing more affordable – and I will work hard to make that plan a reality.
“While I have had business activities improving homes, I have been consistent in my support for measures to make housing more affordable, and as the MP for Vancouver Granville, it will remain a priority.”
Last week, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pledged to impose heavy taxation on those who flipped homes within a year of buying them.
Of the 42 home sales made by Noormohamed since 2005 reviewed by NEWS 1130, 21 would have qualified for the Liberal anti-flipping tax had it been in place.
Impact of flipping on the real estate market
In the view of Tom Davidoff, an associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, the type of flipping that’s taking place is an important factor when considering what impact, if any, the deals are having on Metro Vancouver’s hot real estate market.
“Probably the worst case would be if he takes houses, buys them because he thinks the price is going to rise, sells them, pockets the money or loses the shortfall, and all he’s doing is probably adding a little bit of volatility to the market. He’s both the buyer and the seller, so I don’t think it’s a huge impact on the market, but if you have a lot of people adding thickness to the market, I think that increases prices a bit,” he explained.
Davidoff notes if Noormohamed is taking unlivable homes, fixing them up, and then selling them, as the Liberal candidate has suggested before, that is a good thing.
However, if that’s not the case, and if Noormohamed is taking homes and turning them into luxury properties, that can be a problem.
“That probably tends to push prices up, because it makes neighbourhoods more attractive to more affluent people, and maybe you get more affluent people in the metro area as a result of better housing stock, and maybe you get some gentrification,” Davidoff told NEWS 1130.
When it comes to the various causes of rising home prices in the greater Vancouver area, flipping houses is more a symptom and not a cause of it, according to Davidoff.
He, like many, does not believe flipping houses is the major cause of rising home prices. However, given the election campaign and promises by the Liberal Party to crack down on house flippers and speculators, the situation is complicated.
“In that we need some explanation for the distinction between an ordinary flipper that the Liberals believe is affecting home prices in this behaviour,” he explained. “Probably the best rack for him to hang his hat on would be the notion that he’s improving the properties, which is different from a garden variety buy, borrow money, hope prices rise, turn around and sell.”
Whatever the case, Davidoff believes it to be in Noormohamed interest to explain exactly what he was doing with the properties.
“I think this candidate now has an opportunity to discuss his role in the housing market and how that conforms with — or does not conform with — the Liberal Party’s view that speculation and flipping are contributing to rising housing costs.”
In response to Noormohamed’s real estate dealings, the NDP is asking for Justin Trudeau to clear up whether it is “acceptable that a Liberal candidate in Vancouver has made millions of dollars flipping dozens of homes while people and families have paid the price.”
The party is calling on Trudeau to clear the air on whether he knew of Noormohamed’s house flipping.
Speaking on Monday, NDP candidate Anjali Appadurai, who calls herself a proud renter, said voters deserve better.
“Housing is a human right, and homes are for living in. The current system is broken because money begets money, and it’s us working people who pay the price,” she said.
– With files from Charlie Carey