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Richmond plans to look at who's buying, flipping new homes

Coun. Carol Day asked whether it's possible to have new homes marketed locally before they are sold overseas

Richmond will look into whether they can get information about who is being targeted in local home sales and if developers can be required to market locally “before sales are open to the rest of the world.”

Coun. Carol Day brought up the issue at Tuesday’s planning meeting, and senior planning staff seemed to agree it was a fair question to explore.

Day pointed out homes sales take place before they are built, causing prices to go up as they get flipped by investors.

“Local buyers are often paying far more than the original price because they do not get the opportunity to get in early,” Day said. “And this makes new homes even more unaffordable.”

She added she’d like to see whether homes should be offered to locals “exclusively” for a certain period of time, as they are more likely to live in them.

Joe Erceg, general manager of planning and development, told the planning committee this was a topic “worthy of research.”

“The reality is that we don’t know very much about how residential units that are created within the city — with council’s approval — are actually marketed and consumed,” he said, echoing Day’s point that many homes are bought and resold before the final occupier moves in.

Erceg added it would be worthwhile finding out whether “some segments of our community are excluded from purchase at any stage of marketing.”