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Blog › March 2016

Taking Action on Housing Affordability


Province to address “shadow flipping” abuse in real estate transactions

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0025-000427

Premier Christy Clark has announced British Columbia is taking further action on real estate agen conduct, conflict of interest and housing affordability.

  • In the coming weeks, government will put new rules in place to prevent the potentially predatory practice of real estate contract assignment ─ so-called “shadow flipping.”
  • Government looks forward to the Real Estate Council’s independent advisory group recommendations on licensee conduct and potential conflict of interest, such as dual agency representation where one licensee acts for both the seller and buyer in a transaction.
  • Finance Minister Michael de Jong and Deputy Premier Rich Coleman will meet with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to discuss collaborative steps governments can take to further improve affordability in Vancouver.
  • Real estate contract assignment ─ dubbed “shadow flipping” in media reports ─ refers to the practice where some real estate licensees and some purchasers have taken advantage of rapidly rising prices by using assignment clauses to acquire a client’s home then assign the contract to a third party for a profit. New provincial rules will prevent the abuse of assignment clauses by requiring the express consent of the seller and mandating that any profits from assignments are returned to the home owner.

    The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is responsible for enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act and the real estate services regulation. The Province expects the council’s Independent Advisory Group will examine whether the current regulatory regime is adequate to protect consumers and the wider public interest.

    The Province looks forward to recommendations that will improve the rules and requirements on licensee conduct to better protect consumers, as well as recommendations to improve administration and enforcement.

     To take further action on affordability, de Jong and Coleman will meet with Robertson to discuss collaborative steps governments can take to help increase market and rental housing supply, reduce red tape and investment costs. That conversation will then be broadened to other local governments and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for a broader, more provincial discussion.

    With increasing demand for housing from a strong economy and steady population growth, and restricted supply of single-family homes, prices for single family in most areas of Greater Vancouver have increased between 45% and 70% over the last five years. Prices for multi-family homes, in contrast, have increased between 14% and 40%. The most-recent data show there are about as many single family dwellings in the Vancouver census metropolitan area as in 1991, while the number of condominium units doubled in that time.

    In Budget 2016, the Province changed the Property Transfer Tax to help the market respond to mounting demand for housing. The Newly Built Home Exemption offers an incentive for buyers to purchase new construction priced up to $750,000, by providing property transfer tax relief up to $13,000.

    Budget 2016 includes measures to provide more affordable housing options for lower-income earners. Capital spending of $355 million over five years will support the construction or renovation of more than 2,000 affordable housing units in communities throughout the province.

    Quotes:

    Premier Christy Clark ─

    “In a fast-rising market, some individuals seek to profit at the expense of homeowners and buyers. Today’s steps address immediate concerns while the Real Estate Council’s independent advisory group conducts its review and brings forward further recommendations on practices in the market. We will work with the City of Vancouver, and then other local governments and the UBCM, on housing affordability issues such as supply and taxation.”

    Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson ─

    “The provincial government’s move to prevent ‘shadow flipping’ is a good first step to reduce the unhealthy speculation that is taking place in our housing market. As Vancouver’s economy grows, we need to make sure that our housing is first and foremost for homes, not to be treated as a commodity. Vancouver City Hall will continue to seek out every option to both protect and increase affordable housing, and I look forward to meeting with the ministers to discuss new tools for both the Province and cities to do so.”

    Scott Russell, president BC Real Estate Association ─

    “BCREA supports strategies that prevent questionable or unethical activities by real estate agents. While the vast majority of agents in British Columbia work diligently for the best interests of their clients, we applaud the provincial government for taking action to ensure all buyers and sellers are protected.”

    Quick Facts:

    • On average, private-sector forecasters expect B.C.’s economic growth to rank first among provinces in 2016 and tie for first in 2017 (with Ontario).
    • The Lower Mainland is growing at a rapid pace. BC Stats estimates that the population of Metro Vancouver will grow by about 185,000 people over the next five years.
    • As a result, pressure on the housing and rental markets will continue to increase if steps are not taken to increase densification and ensure an adequate supply of new housing.

    Learn More:

    The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has established an independent advisory group to review rules governing licensee conduct: http://www.advisorygroupbc.ca/

     

     

     



Foreign Investors


Foreign investorsMillionaire boomers decamp Vancouver pocketing housing windfalls as city becomes a ‘commodity

Jonathan Baker is the first to admit he shouldn’t be complaining about foreign investors driving up prices in Vancouver’s red-hot housing market. They helped the retired lawyer pocket millions.Baker and his wife sold their five-bedroom home for $3 million in December, a 100-fold gain from their purchase price in 1970. The house went for $300,000 over asking after an offshore investor bid up the price and was later flipped several times to other buyers. Now the home sits empty in Dunbar, the telltale sign of a buyer who lives abroad, he says.“You can’t be too critical when you’ve benefited from it,” Baker, 78, said by phone from his 4,200-square-foot, $1.5 million seaside home in Sechelt, bought using proceeds from his Vancouver sale. “But the city has become a commodity. One group like myself has bought early, we were lucky. But we no longer knew our neighbours. It’s empty.”Baker’s generation is cashing out as an influx of foreign demand pushes up the average detached home price in Vancouver to a heady $1.8 million. They’re taking the profit and injecting it elsewhere, exporting higher prices to retirement enclaves across the Canadian province. That’s pushing up sales and price growth in these small towns beyond even Vancouver’s torrid pace.“All these prices are crazy — it really is crazy,” Baker said. “I can’t imagine this thing continuing.” That’s why he sold last year, fearing a rapid price drop if offshore demand dries up.Seniors are moving from Canada’s third-biggest city at a record pace, with 2,322 people over the age of 65 leaving the city for other parts of B.C. in 2014, tying with the prior year as a record high, according to preliminary data from Statistics Canada. That’s coincided with a jump in home sales and prices where they typically settle. The dynamic is also seen in Canada’s number one retirement hub: Qualicum Beach, the town of about 10,000 people on Vancouver Island. Half the residents are over 65, the highest proportion of any city in the country, according to Statistics Canada. Home sales in that area and nearby Parksville, the No. 2 retirement haven, almost doubled to 63 transactions in January from the year ago period, and the average price of a home is up 24 per cent to $444,856 over that time.Baker’s home is in Sechelt, the fastest-growing retirement community in Canada according to Statistics Canada. The inflow of residents aged 65-plus increased 7 per cent in the last five years, the most of any municipality in the country, bringing that aging population to over a third of its 10,000 residents.Bidding warsThe quiet town now faces big-city housing issues: construction, bidding wars, and never-before-seen prices and sales. Prices jumped 42 per cent to a record $510,839 in January from the prior year, according to MLS data compiled by Gary Little, a realtor who’s been selling real estate along the Sunshine Coast for a decade. Sechelt broke sales records last month, with 99 residential sales in February, the highest ever for that month and the second highest on record after 117 in June, the data show.Activity in Qualicum Beach and Sechelt has been so frothy it surpassed Vancouver, where sales rose 32 per cent in January from last year and the benchmark price of a single-family home like Baker’s is up 26 per cent in the same period. In the last five years, the average price for a detached Vancouver home has nearly tripled to $1.8 million in February, with data released Wednesday showing a record sales pace for the month as transactions jumped 36 per cent to 4,172 deals.“It’s just been startling,” said Little. “People are coming in from the Lower Mainland area and they do have money. They are cashing out there.” There are also more Vancouver agents coming into town with moneyed clients, snapping up properties, land parcels and buying homes over the asking price, he said.The sky-high home costs in Vancouver have a downside — some retirees can’t afford another roof over their head in the city after selling.“I can’t afford to stay here anymore,” said Linda MacAdam, a 69-year-old who recently sold her century-old Vancouver home with an unfinished basement and second story for $2.7 million. Buying another home in the city, plus the higher living and travel expenses would consume that windfall quickly. “Retirees are depending on this wealth from their houses as retirement income, but this extreme wealth has only happened in the last three years.”She’s now looking for a home in Victoria, something private, close to theatres where she plans to treat friends with show tickets, and near the water so it’s easier for her to sail.“It’s just a fluke,” MacAdam said, in the midst of preparing for a weekend trip to a nearby island with friends. “I’m never going to use all that money.”Bloomberg News © Copyright (c) National Post



Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/millionaire+boomers+decamp+vancouver+pocketing+housing+windfalls+city+becomes+commodity/11760177/story.html#ixzz42FYPGBG1





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