5 Things Homebuyers Need to Know When Making an Offer
When it comes to buying a house, you’re looking for the perfect place to call home. The problem is, in today’s market there just aren’t that many homes available to purchase. With inventory hovering near record lows and sky-high buyer demand, a multi-offer scenario is the new normal. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re ready to make an offer:
1. Know Your Numbers
Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. That’s why you should connect with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Taking this step shows sellers you’re a serious, qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.
2. Brace for a Fast Pace
Today’s market is dynamic and fast-paced. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the average North Vancouver home is on the market for just 7 days – and in West Vancouver, 9 days. A skilled agent will do everything they can to help you stay on top of every possible opportunity. And, as soon as you find the right home for your needs, that agent will help you draft and submit your best offer as quickly as possible.
3. Lean on a Real Estate Professional
While homebuying may seem like a whirlwind process to you, local real estate agents do this every day, and we know what works. That expertise can be used to give you a significant leg up on your competition. An agent can help you consider what levers you can pull that might be enticing to a seller, like:
Offering flexible rent-back options to give the seller more time to move out.
Your ability to do match their dates or make an offer that’s not contingent on the sale of your current home.
It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller may need can help your offer stand out.
4. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer
Let’s face it – we all love a good deal. In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. From Spring 2021 Statistics courtesy of the REBGV, more than 60% of homes on the North Shore sold at or over their asking price.
In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Use an agent as your trusted advisor to make a strong, but fair offer based on market value, recent sales, and demand.
5. Be a Flexible Negotiator
If you followed tip #3, you drafted the offer with the seller’s needs in mind. That said, the seller may still counter with their own changes. Be prepared to amend your offer to include flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to forego. For example, resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency. Instead, consider doing a pre-offer inspection. There are various levels of inspection that can be provided in this case.
When it’s time to make an offer, it’s important to consider not just what you need, but what the seller may need too. Contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on this step in the homebuying process. Relying on an agent’s knowledge and guidance can help you put your best offer on the table.
Article Courtesy of Dominion Lending Centres -
With several Big-Five bank CEOs calling for regulatory action to slow the red-hot housing market, it didn't take long for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the governor of federally regulated financial institutions, to respond. In a news release issued today, OSFI proposed an increase in uninsured mortgages' qualifying rate to the higher of the mortgage contract rate plus 200 basis points or 5.25% as a minimum floor.
Based on posted rates of the country’s six largest lenders, the current threshold is at 4.79%. Before the pandemic, the posted rate was widely considered too high relative to much lower contract rates. Remember, Canada's six largest lenders under OSFI's jurisdiction set the posted rate each week when they submit to the Bank of Canada the so-called 'conventional 5-year mortgage rate'. It has increasingly born little relationship to actual contract rates.
OSFI, once again, shows itself to cozy up to the Canadian banking oligopoly. Keep in mind that delinquency rates on the Canadian banks' mortgage books are very low--both in historical terms and compared with financial institutions in the rest of the world. OSFI couched this proposal in terms of "the importance of sound mortgage underwriting."
In the release, OSFI said, "The minimum qualifying rate adds a margin of safety that ensures borrowers will have the ability to make mortgage payments in the event of a change in circumstances, such as the reduction of income or a rise in mortgage interest rates. As mortgages are one of the largest exposures that most banks carry, ensuring that borrowers can repay their loans strongly contributes to the continued safety and soundness of Canada’s financial system."
The comment period ends on May 7. OSFI reported that they would communicate the revised B-20 Guideline by May 24, with an implementation date of June 1, 2021.
This all but ensures that the current boom in home buying will accelerate further in the spring market--providing an impetus for borrowers to get in under the June 1 deadline. OSFI's move will trigger an even hotter spring housing market as demand is pulled forward just as it was before the January 1, 2018 implementation date of the current B-20 ruling.
This will not impact non-federally regulated FI's such as credit unions, mono-lines and private lenders, nor does it immediately impact insured-mortgage borrowers.
The federal government is in charge of mortgage qualification for insured mortgages. CMHC and the finance department could well follow OSFI's lead in tightening qualifying rules for insured loans.
It is noteworthy to remember that on January 24, 2020, OSFI indicated that it was reviewing the benchmark rate (or floor) used for qualifying uninsured mortgages. At that time, the thought was that the widening gap between the posted rate and the contract mortgage rate was too large and that OSFI and the Bank of Canada would publish a mortgage rate weekly that would better reflect the contract rates. The new qualifying rate would be that contract mortgage rate plus 200 basis points. This consultation was suspended on March 13, 2020, in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are a lot of misconceptions about buying or selling a home today, making it challenging to know exactly how to navigate the current real estate landscape.
Here's a little clarity when it comes to 5 common myths about the 2021 housing market.
With these busted myths in hand, be sure to also work with a trusted real estate advisor so you can decipher local facts from fiction along the way.
One of the hot topics in real estate right now is -- if I sell my home where am I going to go? What if I can’t find a new home? And what happens if I need to sell before I can buy a new home?
Our team has some great tips for helping solve these big dilemmas:
• We can write an offer on a new home contingent upon you selling your home but in this hot market this is our least competitive option.
• Sell your home to the buyers then rent back your home for a couple of months from the new buyers until you find your next home.
• Sell your home with a reverse contingency -- your sale would be contingent upon you finding your next home within a reasonable time period.
• Sell your home then move to a short-term rental like an Airbnb, VRBO, or extended stay hotel until you find your next home.
• Sell your home and move in with family or friends short-term.
• Take out a bridge loan on your current home to have a downpayment for your new home
We want to assure you that you have options and selling for top dollar, with terms that are in your favor, and buying while interest rates are at an all-time low are great ways to take advantage of this amazing real estate market we are currently in.
March 10, 2021 – REBGV Government Relations
The BC government recently introduced Bill 7 - Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act to extend the current residential rent freeze to December 31, 2021, create regulations to prevent renovictions, and improve dispute resolution. These changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The current rent freeze was initially set to run to July 10, 2021 and the maximum rent increase had previously been set at 1.4 per cent for 2021.
The new rent freeze means all renters who have received a rent increase notice that would have taken effect after March 30, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, can disregard those notices. Starting in 2022, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation.
Landlords will be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before terminating a tenancy agreement if they’re renovating.
Landlords won’t be able to end tenancies for renovations that aren’t substantial or don’t require the rental unit to be vacant.
Proposed changes will improve the residential tenancy dispute resolution process by expanding grounds for the RTB to review arbitrator decisions, including formally reviewing a decision where it’s clear an error has been made. The goal is to divert cases from the judicial review process to the RTB’s internal review process, reducing costs to tenants and landlords, the courts, and government. All of these changes fulfil recommendations of the government’s Rental Housing Task Force. (Opens 72-page pdf)
The industry perspective
David Hutniak, the CEO of LandlordBC, says his members of organization aren’t happy the rent freeze has been extended throughout 2021. “Many landlords haven’t been able to, and now won’t be able to compensate for inflationary increases to for their businesses for two years. Property taxes are up, insurance costs are up,” Hutniak said, noting landlords and tenants have been helped by the government’s structured rent repayment plan. As for the renoviction regulations, Hutniak explains that landlords can still make investments. “If the scope of the renovations requires ending tenancies and vacating the building, we can still do this. We just have to go through a RTB arbitrator. Overall, this will increase transparency and end conflict.”
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- When you’re thinking about buying a home, there are a few key steps to take before you even start to look at houses.
- From saving for your down payment to getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to make sure you keep your financial plan on track from the beginning.
- Reach out to a local real estate professional and a trusted lender today to make sure you have the best possible guidance as you begin your homebuying process.
A strata depreciation report is a thorough written, and sometimes illustrated, physical assessment of the condition of a strata property that identifies current and future issues that need to be addressed with associated cost estimates. According to provincial regulations, a depreciation report must include an inventory and evaluation of a building’s:
* Exterior (such as roofs, roof decks, doors, windows and skylights),
* Systems (such as electrical, heating, plumbing, fire protection and security); and
* Common amenities (such as fitness room, pool, bike lockers etc).
* Collectively, the items listed above are known as "common property" as they are elements that are shared by all owners of individual units within the building.
Why is a Strata Depreciation Report important?
It helps strata corporations plan for the repair, replacement and renewal of common property and assets, especially those that require considerable outlay of money, such as roofs, windows, elevators, roads or utilities.
They are also an important part of a Buyer’s due diligence as they provide insight into future repair and maintenance needs and their associated costs. It is in your best interest as a Buyer to thoroughly review strata depreciation reports and seek legal or other expert advice before making a buying decision.
Buyers should also understand that a depreciation report covers common property as part of a strata building and not individual units within that building. As such, be sure to get an independent inspection for the specific unit you are considering purchasing.
What isn’t covered in a Strata Depreciation Report?
Depreciation reports don’t normally cover every item in the common property or routine repairs and maintenance. Buyers should still do their own due diligence in having the property inspected as well as obtaining other strata documents, including but not limited to bylaws, rules, regulations, meeting minutes, strata plans, summary of insurance coverages etc. To obtain additional information, Realtors will typically request other strata documents in addition to the depreciation report.
Are Strata Depreciation Reports mandatory in BC?
In most cases, yes.
Under B.C.’s Strata Property Act and Regulations, strata corporations must obtain a depreciation report unless the strata consists of fewer than 5 strata lots. The Regulations also require the report to be updated every three years.
Yet - Strata Corporations can opt out …
Strata corporations in BC can waive their requirement to obtain a depreciation report, or defer the renewal of one, if 75% of the owners pass an annual vote in favour. Voting to waive a depreciation report can backfire however, with the long-term costs of unanticipated repairs and maintenance needs often far outweighing any short-term savings gained from opting out. In addition, prospective buyers are sometimes reluctant to invest in stratas that don’t have a long-range maintenance plan in place and as important - lenders and insurers may consider stratas without depreciation reports greater risks.
Information above - Courtesy of BCREA
Choosing the right real estate professional to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make in your homebuying or selling process.
The right agent can explain current market conditions and break down exactly what they mean for you.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home this year, make sure to work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, negotiations, and more.
This year will be remembered for many reasons, and optimism is one thing that’s been in short supply since the spring. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, social unrest, an economic downturn, and natural disasters, just to name a few. The challenges brought on by the health crisis have also forced many homeowners to reevaluate their space and what they need in a home going into 2021. So, experts are forecasting that next year is one in which we can be optimistic about real estate for three key reasons:
1 The Economy Is Expected to Continue Improving
Following a record contraction of the Canadian economy in the first half of 2020, the third quarter saw a vigorous rebound in economic growth. Real GDP grew 8.9 per cent, or 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis, bringing the economy back to within 4 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level. The distressing second wave of COVID-19 and the restrictions it has necessitated have jeopardized the recovery that’s currently underway.
However, we still expect the economy to post positive real GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, though there is the risk that a renewed fear of public spaces combined with targeted restrictions will prompt a modest retracing of output.
The ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of 2020 will be a Canadian economy that is about 2 per cent smaller by year-end. That said, promising results from vaccine trials should lead to very strong growth in 2021 as pent-up spending floods back into the economy. We expect Canadian real GDP will grow by an average of 4 per cent over the next two years.
Courtesy: BCREA Economics
2 Interest Rates Are Projected to Stay Low
Along with a massive expansion of its balance sheet to facilitate QE, the Bank of Canada has also reaffirmed its plans to keep its overnight policy rate at 0.25 per cent until it sees slack in the Canadian economy fully absorbed. Given current forecasts for economic growth, that may not occur until 2023, meaning these low rates will be around for quite some time. There are, however, other factors in the economy and financial markets that may push mortgage rates marginally higher over the next year.
3 Future Home Sales Are Forecasted to Grow
Canadian real estate brokerage Royal LePage expects home prices to rise 5.5 per cent in 2021, building on unexpectedly strong growth this year, driven by a shortage of properties for sale and record low interest rates.
"The upward pressure on home prices will continue," supported by lack of supply to meet surging demand and policy makers promise to keep interest rates at record low, Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper said.
The average Canadian home price rose more than 15 per cent in October from a year earlier to an all-time high, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Royal LePage expects the shift to larger homes, which has driven a surge in sales and prices of single-family houses this year, will moderate as "life returns to normal," easing some of the pressure on condo markets.
Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021. If you’ve thought about buying or selling your home this year but have held off, now may be the time to take advantage of this market. Reach out to a local real estate expert to take the first step toward your new home today.
Good news continues to arrive, albeit in bits & pieces, concerning Strata Insurance rates in our province.
The B.C. Financial Services Authority is the regulator responsible for the private sector insurance industry in British Columbia.
At the direction of the Minister of Finance, BCFSA released its interim report on the rising cost of strata insurance in British Columbia on June 16, 2020. This report found that premiums have risen by approximately 40 per cent throughout the province on a year-over-year basis, with deductibles experiencing up to triple-digit increases over the same period. The Province introduced amendments to B.C.’s Financial Institutions Act and the Strata Property Act to help address the cost and availability of strata insurance in B.C.
You can read more HERE.
Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to sell their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why selling your house now, or keeping it on the market this season, is the best choice you can make. This year, buyers want to purchase homes for the holidays, and your house might be the perfect match.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait to sell your house this holiday season:
1. Buyers are active now. Mortgage rates are historically low, providing motivation for those who are ready to get more for their money over the life of their home loan.
2. Purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are serious ones, and they’re ready to buy.
3. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you, or even select virtual options. You’ll remain in control, especially in today’s sellers’ market.
4. Homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers.
5. Today, there’s minimal competition for you as a seller. There just aren’t enough houses on the market to satisfy buyer demand, meaning sellers are in the driver’s seat. Over the past year, inventory has declined to record lows, making it the opportune time to sell your house.
6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who have been searching throughout the fall and have been running into more and more bidding wars are still on the lookout. Your home may be the answer.
7. This season is the sweet spot for sellers, and the number of listings will increase after the holidays. In many parts of the country, more new construction will also be available for sale in 2021, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.
More than ever, this may be the year it makes the most sense to list your house during the holiday season. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if selling now is your best move.
There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
Your family’s safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the WCB and CREA to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.
Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was available yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money or more? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your options.
1.Maximize curb appeal
The outside should draw people inside. Neatly trimmed bushes, mulched beds, weeded lawns all help make that crucial "first impression". Freshly painted front doors with new mailboxes and house numbers are easy ways to create maximum impact without breaking the bank. Adding seasonal urns by the front door for some color are another way to brighten up concrete steps or boring brick.
2. Choose a neutral color palette
Bold colors are great for living, but not for selling. Light and Bright should be your motto! Stick with a warm, neutral palette like tans, taupes, and greys. Avoid dark colors, especially in small spaces (like powder rooms). Keep the ceilings white to keep walls looking tall. Rule of thumb, if the walls haven't been painted in over 2 years, now is the Time!
Return on investment: 109 percent*
3. Let there be light
Lighting plays a vital role and is often overlooked when getting a property ready for sale. Dark hallways, rooms with little natural light, basements, and bathrooms should be addressed. A minimum of a 2-bulb overhead fixture with maximum watt bulbs can transform a dingy area. There should be NO overhead receptacles without a light fixture! Consider adding pendant fixtures in dining rooms and eating areas. Big box stores offer affordable options in brushed nickel or silver fittings.
Adding ambient lighting is essential especially in areas where there is no overhead outlets. Adding table lamps and floor lamps will help brighten up any room and help your property appear as "light-filled" as possible.
Return on investment: 303 percent*
This is the other main area that always increases the value of a home. It will ALWAYS cost you less to replace worn carpet or add new flooring then to leave it to the new home owners.
Most purchasers are looking for reasons to discount their offers. Flooring is one of the first things buyers see when they walk in. If their first thought is "I will need to replace these floors", I guarantee they are discounting their offers $5000-$10000 for condos and $7000 – $15000 for houses. Doing the work yourself will cost you a fraction of that amount.
Return on investment: 107 percent*
5. It's all in the details
Replace all burnt out bulbs, touch up any nicks and dents in high traffic areas, replace torn screens, and fix leaking faucets. Once the fix-ups are done it's time to focus on the pretty stuff. Fresh linens in the bathrooms, a bowl of fresh green apples on a kitchen island, fresh flowers on a dining table or in the entranceway.
Adding live or silk greenery to bathrooms and adding a new crisp bedding set to the Master all help create the impression of a well-cared for home.
6. Clean, clean, clean
This may seem like common sense, but unfortunately, it's still the one area owners tend to try and shortcut. This is the time to hire a professional cleaning company. Special attention should be placed on appliances, inside and outside of cupboards, baseboards, and windows. Bathrooms should be scoured and if necessary use grout cleaner to get the tiles looking spotless!
7. Highlight best use of the space
Tenants may have liked to use the dining room as an office, but it should be shown with it's intended purpose. Giving a room more than one function (i.e. guest room and office) is a great way to effectively show the space. In condos, this becomes essential when space is at a premium.
Using small glass desks with a stool you can tuck in can creatively introduce a "workspace" where one wouldn't think possible. Adding a daybed to a den/office creates extra sleeping space. Determine what adds the most value to potential buyers in your neighborhood and showcase the space accordingly.
8. Kitchens and bathrooms are the places to invest.
If you have dated cabinetry, cracked and worn laminate counters, chipped or broken tiles, consider investing in repairing and upgrading these rooms.
If your budget is limited, changing cabinetry hardware to brushed nickel or silver knobs and handles will give it an immediate appeal. Consider painting cabinetry instead of replacing them.
Depending on the price point of your property it is often worthwhile to install stone counters. This immediately adds value and is very durable for long term use. If stone is not in the budget, consider a "stone-like" laminate counter. Recaulking around sinks and bathtubs is a simple improvement that can greatly improve the look of a bathroom.
Return on investment: 172 percent*
Remember, Vacant properties sit, staged properties sell!
Staged homes sell 2 – 3 times faster and up to 6 percent more than unstaged ones**. People perceive staged units that are well decorated as worth more. Professional stagers know how to highlight the features of the unit and distract from any "not so desirable" features.
If your budget is limited consider focusing on the main living areas and at least one bedroom. If you can't borrow furniture and artwork, rental companies carry everything from furniture to linens. Just keep in mind that the goal is to show people how to use the space effectively.
- When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
- There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
- We will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and are a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!
The BC government is taking its first steps to mitigate soaring strata insurance costs by introducing a bill to amend the Strata Property Act and Financial Institutions Act.
The government wants to make the strata insurance industry more transparent, close depreciation report loopholes, and end referral fees paid to property managers, while giving strata councils more tools to deal with insurance.
If passed, the changes will:
- end the practice of referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and property managers or other third parties;
- set out clear guidelines for what strata corporations are required to insure to help strata councils make informed decisions on their insurance policies;
- require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, provide notice of any policy changes, including increasing deductibles, and allow stratas to use their contingency reserve funds when necessary to pay for unexpected premium increases – this was recommended by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA); and
- protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits from strata corporations if the owner was legally responsible for a loss or damage, but through no fault of their own.
The new legislation will also give the government the ability to:
- identify when stratas are not required to get full insurance coverage;
- strengthen depreciation reporting requirements, including limiting the ability to use existing loopholes in the legislation to avoid completing depreciation reports;
- change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation’s contingency reserve fund;
- require brokers to disclose the amount of their commission, which has been reported to be at times in excess of 20%;
- strengthen notification requirements to strata corporations of changes to insurance coverage and costs, or an intent not to renew – this was recommended by REBGV and BCREA; and
- amend the Form B Information Certificate – this was recommended by REBGV and BCREA.
Consultation with REALTORS®
The government specifically named BCREA, which represents Realtors across the province, as a key stakeholder in the creation of the new legislation.
Since February, Realtors have made recommendations to the provincial government to help deal with rising insurance costs.
BC Financial Services Authority report
The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) found strata insurance premiums rose by approximately 40 per cent, with deductibles seeing triple digit increases over last year across the province according to their interim report released on June 16.
These increases are having a widespread impact on BC – nearly one in three British Columbians live in a strata property.
We’ll provide more information on this report in the coming weeks.
Changes to strata regulation
An addition to the Strata Property Regulation (BC Reg. 43/2000), made through an Order in Council on May 29, 2020, may make life easier for strata corporations grappling with sky-high insurance premiums.
Strata corporations can now fund insurance premiums from their contingency reserve funds without a three-quarters approval vote.
Vancouver's Real Estate Board worked with the BC Real Estate Association, and the other 10 boards in the province, to develop recommendations for the BC government that, if implemented, would help deal with the issue:
- Amend the Form B Information Certificate to require proof of insurance, including premiums, deductibles, coverage and expiry date.
- Work with the insurance sector to put measures into place that assure all strata corporations are able to obtain insurance coverage, for as long as the difficult market conditions last.
- Engage with insurers so they continue to provide coverage to strata corporations.
- Amend the Strata Property Act to require a strata corporation to inform owners and tenants of any material change in insurance coverage, including an increase in any deductible, as soon as feasible.
- Require insurers to provide strata corporations with notices 60 days before their policies expire or will be cancelled.
- Encourage the provincial insurance regulator, the BCFSA, to make public the data and information it is gathering from insurance companies to better understand the current climate of expensive strata insurance.
- Encourage the BCFSA to foster a robust, economically viable market that attracts insurance providers.
- Develop mandatory education for strata council members.
- Either create a new organization – modeled on the Condominium Authority of Ontario – to enforce the Strata Property Act, including providing mandatory training and creating best practices for strata councils, or assign this role to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Why are insurance rates increasing?
Strata building insurance premiums are increasing for a variety of reasons, according to the insurance industry. These include an increase in the number of claims, in the cost of repairs and rebuilding, and in the growing number of strata developments. Many strata buildings date back to the 1970s and ’80s and strata owners may be reluctant to undertake major system upgrades until problems occur.
What's the impact on the housing market?
The most affordable homes in Metro Vancouver are strata units. Drastically increasing insurance rates negatively affects housing affordability. As well, some strata corporations are struggling to find insurers willing to cover their building, making them non-compliant with the Strata Property Act. This means these units can no longer be bought or sold. This is adding uncertainty and risk into the market and the economy at large.
In the "bet you wouldn't have guessed this" category - Did you know that as of yesterday, the number of homes sold YTD in North Vancouver are just 18 homes less than this time last year? Once weekend sales are reported, we may get very close to the same # of sales as YTD 2019. Put this along side inventory at 80% of last year's levels, and add favorable rates plus a lower stress test, and you can see why our market is moving swiftly.
In West Vancouver, there have been 333 residential sales YTD 2020, and 317 for the same period last year. And, residential inventory is only 75% of what it was this time in 2019. This is great news for West Van - as the turnover is much better than 2019.
Summer is the new Spring - and now we just have to keep staying cautious & safe out there in the world, so that we can keep not only the real estate market, but our economy - both broad & local - going strong through the end of the year!
The health crisis slowed the market this spring, so buyers are jumping back into the market to make their moves this summer. Check these 10 items off your to-do list so your house is ready to sell while buying is hot!
Summer is the New Spring!
Well, hello and welcome to June. Looking back to last week on the North Shore, we see the highest Sales to Listings Ratio since early March of this year. Impressive numbers ! 46% sales to listings in North Vancouver, and 61% in West Vancouver. The phone is ringing. The stress test has loosened. People feeling a little more comfortable in their day to day lives, and venturing our & about a little more. Plus, add some sunshine to the demand for North Shore homes ( people want to live here!), and you have a winning combination.
BUYERS: There's a little more choice for you now, in all categories.
SELLERS: This is the PERFECT TIME to book a Strategy Session with us so that we can help you get your home looking beautiful, and on the market before everyone else lists and your competition gets going!
Book your Strategy Session HERE:
In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate through the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.
We are, however, in anything but a normal market right now. We are amid one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers take to purchase or sell a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’
According to Lexico, a Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.
They are much more than just guides.
This is much more than a normal real estate market.
Today, the average guide just won’t do. You need a Sherpa. You need an expert who understands how COVID-19 is impacting the thoughts and actions of the consumer (ex: virtual showings, proper safety protocols, e-signing documents). You need someone who can simply and effectively explain the changes in today’s process to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, especially in these challenging times.
Hiring an agent who understands how the pandemic is reshaping the real estate processes is crucial right now. Find that ‘Real Estate Sherpa’ to guarantee your journey is a safe and successful one.
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