September 25, 2018 8:46 pm
Updated: September 25, 2018 10:51 pm

As dreams of home ownership fade, B.C. startup offers shares in Vancouver homes for as little as $1

WATCH: A Vancouver-based company is offering people a way to break in to the housing market by giving them a chance to own a piece of a home. John Hua explains how it works.

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Breaking into Vancouver’s real estate market is increasingly challenging, and many have simply given up on the dream of owning a home.

A B.C. startup, though, says it has come up with a way to offer people a piece of the market.

IMBY — which stands for In My Backyard — is an app-based service that lets investors buy shares in a home or condo.

IMBY’s Michael Stephenson says buyers can get in for as little as $1.

Globalnews.ca coverage on B.C. real estate

“Our first development property on the IMBYx platform is sold out — there are 200 investors in this house,” Stephenson said as he stands outside a home in Vancouver’s Trout Lake neighbourhood.

READ MORE: Canadian housing market increase slowed in August but sales are still up overall

A developer owns 51 per cent of the home and the rest was open to the public who bought in as shareholders.

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After rezoning and redevelopment, the expectation is a 35 per cent return on investment.

“Real estate has been the best performing asset class in the world,” Stephenson said.

One resident told Global News that the idea of buying shares in a Vancouver house is “symptomatic of the speculative nature of Vancouver real estate.”

READ MORE: Beyond a teardown: Charred remains of Vancouver home on the market for $3.9 million

While some say buying shares in a house is still far off from owning a home, Tom Davidoff of UBC’s Sauder School of Business says in principle it could be a stepping stone.

“When we were kids we were all told, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,'” he said.

“So if you want to invest in real estate, being able to own part of a property or multiple properties instead of owning a lot of one property makes a lot of sense.”

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