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An Update On The BC Tenant Protection Changes

On March 25, 2020, the BC government announced that renters would not be evicted if they could not pay rent due to the COVID-19 crisis. It also introduced a Temporary Rental Supplement (TRS) to help renters pay their rent. 

Last month, it partially lifted the ban on residential rental evictions, but maintained the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent. 

The government has also extended the TRS program that was supposed to end in June, to the end of August. The rental supplements of $300-$500 are paid directly to the landlords. 

Between April 9, 2020 and June 15, 2020,  BC Housing received more than 90.000 applications for the temporary rent supplement, and nearly 82,500 eligible applications were confirmed. 

On July 2, 2020, the following tenancy laws came into effect:  

A landlord can now issue a Notice to End Tenancy for any reason (other than unpaid or late payment rent). Landlords with existing orders for eviction can now take them to the courts for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately. Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24 hours notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate. 

The change also allows for personal service of documents to resume, rather than via email. The landlords’ ability to restrict access to common spaces for COVID-19 related health reasons remains. 

A tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over. 

If you require more information regarding this issue or any other developments that have taken place recently, please contact us or call us on 604 913 1000. Our real estate professional advisors will be only too pleased to be of assistance. 

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Here Is The New Normal When Buying A Home With Social Distancing

There’s no doubt now that using technology has become the new normal for buying a home. Keeping everyone safe is front of mind, and online tools like those created for remote working and collaboration, are now being actively used to help home buyers look for a home. 

Fewer visits to homes 

The rules for viewing homes in person have changed drastically. While one family member may be allowed to physically walk through the home, the whole family may not be able to view together, Touching countertops, opening closets and other habits we are used to doing when viewing a home, may be a thing of the past. Finding a suitable property may take longer than before. 

Distance home viewing 

Buying a home today will require more online investigation and viewing virtual open houses. Gone are the days when real estate professionals would drive 30-40 clients to multiple listings over a number of weeks. 

Virtual staging, 3D floor plans, aerial photography, videos of the home and the neighborhood are essential to buyers, sellers and appraisers, who now rely on these  marketing tools to price homes that they may not have physical access to. 

Less paper work to deal with 

There is more exchanging of contracts and transfers through the Internet, thus eliminating the need for paper. Not only does this save time, it is better for the environment as less paper is used, and fewer trips are made to municipal offices, open houses etc. It is also cost effective regarding time spent and less disruptive to staff. 

With all these changes, real estate professionals are finding that more time is needed for transactions to go through the buying process. Everything now has a process that cannot be circumvented or avoided. 

This new virtual world is an adjustment for everyone including the real estate industry. While there is less interaction between clients and real estate agents, there is still the need for employing the services of a real estate professional, who are now using these tools more efficiently and effectively.  

Our investment in technology puts us in the forefront with regards to the real estate industry. We use the best available online tools to market your home. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a home in today’s market. 

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BC Financial Services Authority To Be Created By Spring 2021 To Regulate BC’s Real Estate Sector.

BC has been under pressure to deal with money laundering in the province’s real estate market, which has inflated home prices by at least 5%. Creating a single regulator was a key recommendation for cracking down on money laundering in the sector.

Currently oversight and enforcement of regulations in BC’s real estate sector remains the joint responsibility of the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate. Both have been mandated to work closely to crackdown on money laundering.

On Nov 1, the province created the BC Financial Services Authority as a Crown agency to continue the regulation of the province’s financial institutions, mortgage brokers and private pension plans. This Crown agency consists of an independent board of directors, effectively to take over from the Financial Institutions Commission under the Ministry of Finance.

Carole James who is BC’s Finance Minister unveiled plans for the new regulator to be created by the spring of 2021. Her reason for the lengthy rollout is mainly due to the fact that “ it will take some time to transition to make sure that the Crown Corporation is ready to take on that responsibility. ” She added, “For example, we don’t want to have a gap in disciplinary hearings. We also need to give the financial services agency some time to get up and running.”

According to B.C. Superintendent of Real Estate Michael Noseworthy, the change should make for better consumer protection “to increase public confidence in the broader financial services sector.”

Our team of real estate professionals has years of experience and first-hand knowledge about the market. We thrive on working with homeowners to help them achieve their dreams, whatever the season or style of home. For more information, please call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000, or email us.

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REBGV Market Update For June 2020 – Buyers and Sellers Play Catch-up

The June 2020 market report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) showed that home sales in the Greater Vancouver area are starting to return to more typical levels after dipping to four decade lows in April. All this while, prices continue to edge up from 2019. 

“REALTORS® continue to optimize new technology tools and practices to help their clients meet their housing needs in a safe and responsible way,” said Colette Gerber, REBGV president. “Over the last three months, home buyers and sellers have become more comfortable operating within the physical distancing and other safety protocols in place.” 

Home Sales 

In June 2019, there were 2,443 residential property sales. This represented a 17.6% increase from the 2,077 sales in June 2019 and a 64.5% increase from the 1,485 homes sold in May 2020. 

The number of detached properties sold was 866, 16.1% more than June 2019. 

The number of apartments sold was 1105, 17.4% more than June 2019. 

The number of attached properties sold was 472, 21% more than June 2019. 

Board chair Colette Gerber said realtors and their clients are getting more used to exploring and showcasing homes remotely through video tours and floor-plan reviews as buyers and sellers alike acclimate to health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Home Listings 

There were 5,787 new listings of detached, attached and apartment properties for June 2020 added to the Multiple Listing System (MLS). This represented a 21.8% increase compared to the 4,751 homes listed in June 2019, and a 57.1% increase compared to May 2020 when 3,684 homes were listed. 

The total number of homes listed for sale in June on the MLS was 11,424, a 23.7% decrease compared to June 2019 (14,968) and a 15.1% increase compared to May 2020 (9,927). 

“Much more of the real estate transaction is happening virtually today,” Gerber said. “Before considering an inperson showing, REALTORS® are helping potential buyers pre-screen homes more thoroughly by taking video tours, reviewing floorplans and an increased number of high-resolution images, as well as often driving through the neighborhood.”  

Sales-To-Active-Listings Ratio 

This is a good indication of the supply and demand forces in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio is below 12% for a sustained period, and there is upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for a number of months. 

For all property types, the ratio in June was 21.4%. When broken down by property types, the ratio was: 

  • 19.9% for detached homes 
  • 25.2 % for townhomes 
  • 21.3% for condominiums 

Home Prices 

The MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,025,300. This represents a 3.5% increase over June 2019 and a 0.3% decrease compared to May 2020. 

Click here for a full report. 

Working with our real estate professionals will enable you to set realistic expectations that help you achieve your real estate goals. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000

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Now Is The Time To Invest In Vancouver Real Estate, As Amazon’s New Offices Will Most Likely Create A Real Estate Shortage.

Amazon recently announced plans to convert the old Canada Post site in Downtown Vancouver, into its new base of operations, in the process creating 3,000 new jobs by 2022. This will mean that there will be thousands of extra workers needed homes in a city already facing a shortage of affordable housing.

Amazon has been gradually increasing its workforce footprint in the Lower Mainland of BC over the past few years. The current workforce scattered around the lower mainland stands at 1,800 and by 2022 will explode to 5,000. But it will not stop there.

Consider Amazon’s presence in the Seattle metro area where in 2010 the company had 5,000 employees. Today there are around 40,000, making Seattle one of the fastest growing US cities.

According to Zillow, rent increases in the neighbourhoods that experienced the greatest influx of theses workers have risen 65% faster over the past 5 years than areas with the smallest influx.

Then consider the “Amazon effect”. Amazon attracts other companies that also want that talent, so they move their offices closer to the Amazon hubs, and this causes a larger influx of people.

Experts have commented that with Amazon’s higher pay to its tech workers, they will be able to afford higher rents and mortgages, creating more incentives for higher end housing developments. This would crowd out the working class and force them to leave the city.

Vancouver has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in North America, and the price of a benchmark home has risen 91% over the last 10 years. Despite government attempts to ease prices, real estate is becoming more and more expensive.

Unless there is some drastic policy change that forces a net out migration of people from the Lower Mainland, it seems that we are continuing to experience an influx of population into our beautiful city. So would you not want to become a real estate investor in this market?

We currently have over 70 exclusive listings on our website http://virani.ca

If there is any property that interests you, please contact us or call on 604 913 1000

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How the COVID 19 Pandemic Is Affecting Home Inspections

Despite the fact that the COVID 19 pandemic that has virtually changed the way we live our lives, people are still buying and selling their properties. Any person buying a home would want to get a home inspection, in order be alerted to any issues that could become problems in the future.  

In the past, it was not uncommon for buyers to show up during the inspection, so that they could learn about the property, as the inspectors would go through it. But now with social distancing and keeping safe being on the forefront of everyone’s minds, new home inspection protocols have been introduced by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). 

Inspectors now conduct their work differently compared to before the pandemic.  

Below are some of the changes that are required to ensure the lowest possible risk to the inspector. 

 – Before an inspection is considered, the occupants of the home must answer the following questions, if in the last 14 days: 

  • Have they been, sick or showing any signs of sickness 
  • Have they been in isolation or quarantine 
  • Have they been in contact with anyone exposed to the coronavirus 

If any of these answers is a “yes”, then the inspection is considered as a medium or high risk one, and should be postponed to a later date. 

– The use of PPE (personal protection equipment) such as masks, hand sanitizers and shoe covers is necessary and the job is done in complete isolation.   

– The seller must ensure that the inspector gets a clear and unobstructed access to the heating equipment, water heater, air conditioning , electrical panel and attic access hatch. All window coverings must be raised or opened. In effect, the inspector must have the least amount of physical contact with the seller’s contents. 

– Used wipes, gloves and other disposable items used during the inspection must be collected in a disposal bag and then disposed off with other household waste. 

– The post inspection summary review should not be done in person, but rather by telephone, email or video chat, ensuring that the inspection is done with the lowest possible exposure risk. 

If you are looking to get into this market, we are offering a wide range of homes suitable for any budget. Visit our website and browse our wide range of listings. 

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How To Repair Your Credit Score

A poor credit score can hinder your chances of getting into your first home or your dream home. If you have a “decent” but not optimum credit score, a lender will compensate for the risk by offering you a higher interest rate, which means higher monthly payments on your mortgage. 

Here’s how to repair and improve your credit score and keep it healthy: 

Get a credit report. 

The first step on the road to recovery is to get your report from the 2 main credit bureaus in Canada that collect and share data about how you’ve used credit in the past – Equifax and Transunion, and identify any errors in your borrowing history. These companies have been known to make mistakes. Finding mistakes and resolving will make a huge difference to your score. 

Consolidate your debt 

If you are dealing with out of control debt, it makes sense to evaluate your accounts and consolidate your debt. Developing a repayment plan is a good idea as it shows the financial institution that you are taking steps to remedy the situation. 

Make your payments on time. 

Paying bills on time, even if it is just the minimum payment, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your credit score. Late payments are very serious. Don’t make your payment exactly on the due date as with some financial institutions and companies, your payment may take a few days to process.  

Contact the financial institution for late payments 

If you do have a problem making a payment or if you cannot meet the minimum payment, contact the financial institution concerned and inform them. They will not penalize you if you are frank and open with them. 

Maintain low balances on your cards 

Maintaining a low outstanding balance in relation to the borrowing cap on a credit card or line of credit will help improve your rating.  Owing 50% or more of your credit limit has a negative impact on your credit score. 

Put boundaries on your spending behavior. 

Ready to jump into the market? Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or learn more about the market changes, reach out to our team today! We’ll help you make the right move! 

Contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000

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If You Have Investment Properties Earning Rent – You Must Read This

 If You Have Investment Properties Earning Rent – You Must Read This 

As COVID-19 makes its way through our lives and the economy like a hurricane sweeping over land, it leaves nothing untouched. Its has also affected rents. Cities like Vancouver and Toronto are seeing rent reduction rates that would have been unheard of at the beginning of the year. 

While rents in some Canadian cities have declined a bit or even risen slightly in the last few months, the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, homes of the priciest rental market in the country, have seen rents falling fast because of the pandemic. 

Last week, Rental.ca posted figures showing that compared to a year ago, rents in Metro Vancouver are down by about 9%.  The average rent demanded for a 2 bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver had dropped by almost $450 to $2,478 a month. 

Reasons for rental declines: 

Flood of new rental inventory has hit the market   

In the pre COVID-19 economy, real estate investors with a portfolio of homes would be renting them out on the short-term rental market. They would be making more money renting out homes for days or weeks, than they would with traditional long-term leases. But now with the lockdown and restrictions on movement across borders and regions, the short-term market has virtually dried up overnight.  

This has made some owners seriously think about selling their investment properties, while others are being forced into the long-term rental market, adding much needed supply to the tight rental markets that the Lower Mainland has been experiencing for the longest time. 

New home owners stuck with 2 homes 

Some homeowners bought a new home before the lockdown and have yet to sell the old one. They are in a bind as this is no longer in a seller’s market and selling has become much more difficult. An option they face is to rent out the home that is for sale, bringing in some much needed funds, while they wait and hope for prices to rise again. 

Decline in international students 

The lockdown has forced a ban on international travel. Many universities are contemplating on line education that will not require international students to be physically on campus. Canada has over 300,000 international students per year studying at its institutes of higher learning. Their absence will be noticed and make a noticeable impact on rental properties and the economy. 

Decline in seasonal workers and visitors

Canada will have less immigration, fewer international students and, with the border closed for the foreseeable future, not nearly as many seasonal and part-time workers. All typically are renters. 

Tighter borders provincially and internationally means landlords who once offered costly short-term rentals, like those on Airbnb, have been hit hard in attractive cities like ours, whose economies rely more than most on the traveller. Former airbnb properties are now being marketed as long-term rentals. 

More rental units built ready for occupation

The dire rental-housing situation that Vancouver has faced over the last few years, has prompted the municipal and provincial governments to push for an increase in the construction and availability of purpose built rental units. Many of these building which were on the drawing board a 2-3 years ago, are now fully constructed and inviting tenants to rent. This has further increased the inventory of rental units available in the region. 

 
Home buyers are buying homes today for potential move-in dates 30, 60, or 90 days from now. If you are contemplating a move, contact us. We have the experience, tools and know how, to navigate this uncertain market.  

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Take Heed Of Your Property Tax Assessment – There Could Be Some Savings Here

On January 1, 2017 property assessments became available on the BC Assessment website. And as expected, the increases in property values are substantial: values were calculated as at July 2016 when local real estate prices were at their peak. 

The main issue here is that your property value has risen and you are facing a higher than normal property tax rate hike. 

It is important to note that a sharp increase in your property value does not necessarily indicate a proportional property tax hike; it’s relative to how much your property appreciated compared to others in the same municipality. 

In view of this year’s higher assessments, the Provincial government just announced an increase in the Home Owner Grant threshold from $1.2million to $1.6million, in an effort to assist homeowners whose property values and taxes have increased substantially. 

Since July 2016, prices in some neighbourhoods have marginally declined while others have not.  There are a number of homeowners who strongly disagree with their assessments. If you are one of them should you file an appeal? 

You have until January 31 to appeal your property assessment.  Before you do, consider the following: 

  • There are 2 arguments for appeal: either that the assessed market value of your property is too high based on comparable sales, or that you were unfairly assessed in comparison to your neighbors. 
  • There is not a straightforward correlation between your property taxes and your property value  – the important factor here is how your property fared relative to others in your property class and local taxing jurisdiction. 
  • An appeal could work against you as a second review of your property may reveal that you were initially under assessed. 

If your property value went up 30% or 40% don’t panic. It does not mean that your property tax will increase by that much. What matters is how much your value appreciated relative to other homes in your municipality. 

If you are unsure on how to handle the recent dramatic rise in your property value and whether you should appeal or not, we have experts who can advise you as to the best course of action. Contact us on 604 695 1000, email us or visit our offices on 1280 West Pender St. 

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REBGV Market Update For April 2020 – April Home Sales In Metro Vancouver Lowest Since 1982.

Last month life as we knew it, ground to a halt because of COVID-19, and so did Metro Vancouver’s real estate market. This was reflected in The April 2020 market report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

“Predictably, the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place. People are, however, adapting. They’re working with their realtors to get information, advice, and to explore their options so they’re best positioned in the market during and after this pandemic,” said Colette Gerber, REBGV president-elect.

She added, “We’re seeing more innovation in today’s market, with realtors using different technology to showcase homes virtually, assess neighborhood amenities with their clients and handle paperwork electronically.”

Home Sales

April 2020 sales were 62.7% below the 10 year April average and were the lowest total for the month since 1982.

There were 1,109 residential property sales. This represented a 39.4% decrease from the 1,829 sales in April 2019 and a decrease of 56.1% from March 2020 when 2,524 homes were sold.

The number of detached properties sold was 388, 33.8% less than April 2019.

The number of apartments sold was 503, 43.2% less than April 2019.

The number of attached properties sold was 218, 39.1% less than April 2019.

Home Listings

April saw a plunge in new home listings. There were only 2,313 newly listed properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Metro Vancouver. This was 59.7% lower than the 5,742 new homes listed in April 2019, and a 47.9% decrease when compared to March 2020 when 4,436 homes were listed.

The total number of homes listed for sale in April decreased to 9,389 – a figure well below the inventory of April 2019 when 14,357 homes were listed and a 2.3% decrease compared to the 9,606 homes listed in March 2020.

Sales-To-Active-Listings Ratio

This is a good indication of the supply and demand forces in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio is below 12% for a sustained period, and there is upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for a number of months.

For all property types, the ratio in April was 11.8%. When broken down by property types, the ratio was:

  • 10% for detached homes
  • 14.7% for townhomes
  • 12.4% for condos

Home Prices

The MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,036,000 in April. This was 2.5% higher than April 2019 and 0.2% higher than March 2020. Despite ongoing concerns about the economy and millions of Canadians out of work, the average price of a home in Vancouver went up. 

Paul Kershaw, UBC professor and founder of Generation Squeeze, says the rising prices, as sales fall is worrisome. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our entire economy has been upended, our housing system has been hit with a massive shock, and no one knows where all of this will go,” he said.

Click here for a full report.

Working with our real estate professionals will enable you to set realistic expectations that help you achieve your real estate goals. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000.

 

 

 

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