Few people will argue that real estate is not a great investment. But now a Toronto-based investment research firm has revealed that nearly half of homeowners and investors who rent out properties are actually losing more money than they earn each month in rent.

And that loss is ultimately bound to get a lot larger, especially for Torontonians who own investment properties – as property taxes are expected to skyrocket in the next fiscal year.

Veritas’ informal poll of clients found that only half of those who own real estate as an investment are actually reaping the benefits in terms of being cash-flow positive. With the price hike in real estate, Torontonians are already carrying hefty mortgages.

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When property is purchased, investment owners will often opt to stay with the former tenants out of convenience and then find reason to evict them and hike the price way up after a few months.

It’s not a legal tactic, but some landlords will do anything to get that return on investment – even break the law. That’s lead to soaring rent prices and contributed to an even shorter supply of affordable rental units in Toronto.

The Veritas poll results showed that only about 18 per cent of landlords are breaking even, while 33 per cent said they are losing money on their investments.

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If flipping the property is the ultimate goal, then there is reason to believe a profit can be earned – eventually. But according to surveyed investors, over 84 per cent don’t plan on selling anytime soon.

However, if they did – the market could be thrown for a loop.

“Our belief is that house prices in the future will be driven by residential real estate investors, whether they are selling or buying,” Veritas said in a note to clients.

According to data from Statistics Canada released this year, about 38 per cent of condos in Toronto and 46 per cent in Vancouver are not occupied by their owners, meaning they are being rented out or are sitting empty.

READ: What You Need To Know About Renting Out Your Condo In Toronto

And that trend seems to be intensifying. A report last year from CIBC estimated that about half of all developed condos recently were bought by investors.

“House price corrections happen when there is a flood of sellers,” Veritas said in its report. “In our opinion, the next flood will not come from a glut of new construction or even from owners, but from real estate investors and speculators.”

That said, the survey is most likely to be true of investors within the competitive Toronto market – and in other urban centres. Varitas interviewed fifty-four per cent of respondents who own property in Greater Toronto, compared to 10 per cent in Greater Vancouver, 7 per cent in Montreal and 33 per cent everywhere else.

With the rates of Toronto Hydro rising again, investors are in for even more losses as city services inch up incrementally.