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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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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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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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The Future Of Open Houses During The COVID -19 Dilemma

Holding an open house is an integral part of the real estate sales process. With the COVID – 19 pandemic enforcing us to engage in social distancing from each other and engage in COVID-19 preparedness, holding open houses does not seem to be the right thing to do.

Having said that, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) is “strongly recommending” against its approximately 14,000 members holding open houses during this pandemic. It has also suspended its rule requiring properties that are listed for sale to be made available for showings.

“Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way,” said REBGV president Ashley Smith in a news release. “We’ve heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their realtors are not holding open houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today.”

“While only the provincial government or the real estate regulator has the ability to mandate an end to open houses, we urge realtors to encourage clients to take advantage of digital tools like virtual tours when buying or selling a home,” Darlene Hyde, chief executive of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, said in a statement Friday.

So the question is “How do you sell a house if you can’t show it to buyers?” And this sadly, comes when most Canadian real estate markets seemed to be on course for a red-hot spring selling season.

For sellers, the REBGV recommends taking “alternative approaches to open houses, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions.” For buyers, the board recommends limiting the number of people participating in a property viewing, sanitizing hands before and after the showing and avoiding touching doorknobs and other surfaces while inside the listed property.

While we are all sailing through uncharted territory with the current pandemic, there are homeowners that need to sell their home and families that need to buy a home. Contact us by email and we can consult with you.

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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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The Impact The COVID -19 Pandemic May Have On How The Real Estate Industry Functions In The Future.

Don’t Let The COVID-19 Pandemic Prevent You From Selling Your Home – Here Are Some Useful Selling Tips. 

The real estate industry in Canada has come to a screeching halt in many regions as the COVID -19 pandemic takes its toll on every aspect of our lives. With social distancing firmly in place, real estate companies have been forced re-think and re-engineer the way they successfully conduct business. 

We are typically in the busiest time of year for home sales. The future is unknown. No one knows when we will recover from this unprecedented shock. While it may prove more difficult to buy and sell your home, it is not impossible – thanks to technology and our ability as an industry to adapt. 

Here are some useful tips on selling your home: 

Create a 3 D Home Tour to replace in person showing 

With open houses being shunned and homeowners skittish to let would-be buyers in, real estate professionals are turning to technology to give buyers a look inside properties by recording or streaming virtual tours, and holding open houses where buyers jump on a video conference to walk through the home. Many are using technology to turn 360-degree panoramic photos of properties into 3D virtual tours. 

In these “virtual tours,” agents act as narrator and walk through homes with their smartphone’s video camera capturing a home’s key selling points while buyers watch virtually from home. 

Stage a Virtual Open house event to replace a conventional open house 

With social distancing limitations, it is difficult to hold an in-person open house. The alternative is to hold a virtual open house, where a virtual tour of the home is uploaded and a digital walk through is performed for everyone tuned on line. Typically, a Facebook page can be set up for the home and a virtual open house event can be created. The real estate professional walks the viewers through the home as if he/she were touring with the buyer in person. 

Be prepared to be patient and flexible 

Actions that once could have taken, a few minutes or a few hours to complete, may take much longer. This is due to the fact that many of the people involved in the sale may be working under different circumstances – limited hours, home office, affected by travel restrictions, may be infected by the virus, etc. Be prepared to wait longer for documents to be completed and reschedule of tasks. 

You may have to close your deal with a “drive through closing”, where by you meet the concerned parties at a parking lot, and handing documents through a car window using gloves.  

In these trying times, a real estate company that is tech and video savvy and has successfully sold homes using virtual marketing is important – that describes us perfectly. Contact us if you want to sell or buy a home. 

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