Vancouver's mayor wants to give local residents priority access to presale condos, in an attempt to prevent the practice of flipping in order to help address skyrocketing real estate prices.

Gregor Robertson says he plans to introduce a motion at the next city council meeting Oct. 17, calling on staff to develop a policy to help locals find affordable homes.

"In Vancouver's red-hot housing market, local employers are crunched to retain talent, whether they're doctors, tech workers, retailers, firefighters, teachers or nurses. I regularly hear stories about people who work in Vancouver but are forced to move elsewhere in the region, because they can't find a place to live," Robertson said in a news release.

The policy would favour anyone who lives and works in Metro Vancouver, no matter their citizenship, he added.

The mayor also suggested the policy might be modelled on a 2016 agreement between the District of West Vancouver and Westbank Corp., a Vancouver-based developer, which stipulated Westbank would only market homes in a new condo project to district residents for the first 30 days. For the next 60 days, those condos could only be marketed to Metro Vancouver residents.

That agreement also restricted bulk purchases of units and required purchasers to sign a declaration saying they would live in the home rather than flipping it to a new buyer.

"Vancouver's "Housing Vancouver" strategy seeks to dramatically increase the supply of new housing, but it needs to be the right supply — homes that are affordable for people who live and work in Vancouver," Robertson said.

Flipping probed by CRA

In an investigation last year, the Globe and Mail revealed major Vancouver developers were privately selling prebuilt condos to friends and family before offering units up to the general public.

This practice allowed the buyers to reassign their contracts to new purchasers at higher prices before the deal closed.

Earlier this year, the Canadian government began a series of actions in federal court, in a bid to force developers to provide details about buyers who flipped presale contracts before construction was completed.