Vancouver, BC – February 28, 2012.The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) rose for the second consecutive quarter, advancing 1.1 points to an index level of 111. On a fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter basis, the CLI moved 1.6 per cent higher in 2011. While this is a marked slowing from the 5.2 per cent surge in 2010, the index picked up considerable momentum in the third and fourth quarter of the year, more than making up for a weak first half of 2011.
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The trend in the CLI turned up slightly as early softness in economic activity was smoothed out by a stronger second half of the year. This change in trend indicates a positive economic environment for the BC commercial real estate sector in 2012.
“Improving economic data provided a strong tailwind for the CLI in the second half of 2011,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Economist. “However, growing anxiety surrounding the global economy could constrain the economic environment for commercial real estate this year.”
Immaculate 11 year old home with open concept living. Vaulted ceilings, new interior doors, updated countertops & tile backsplash in kitchen. The bedrooms are very large & spacious with oversize closets. Central A/C 3 year old. Large fully fenced yard with covered deck & 8×20 wired workshop. Park will sign a site lease, no rentals (special permission sometimes) & small dogs & cats allowed. You can move right in & enjoy.
This weekend, on Saturday, February 25th and Sunday, February 26th, 2012 open houses will be held in Aberdeen and Campbell Creek (Near BC Wildlife Park).
Saturday, February 18th & Sunday, February 25th, 2012: 12:00-2:00: 2285 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, $469,900
This stunning home has a dramatic entrance w/18 ft ceiling. Oversized living room has vaulted ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom ensuite has 2 sinks and separate tiled shower and soaker tub. more
Saturday, February 25th, 2012: 1:00-3:00: 8970 Grizzly Crescent, Campbell Creek, $409,900
Brand new home in a newer subdivision that sits on a large private lot. This home has 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms which includes a full 4 piece ensuite with separate shower and soaker tub. more
Saturday, February 25th, 2012: 2:30-4:00: 8905 Badger Drive, Campbell Creek, $468,500
Beautiful Campbell Creek executive 2 storey home. Tons of value in this home with over 3100 sq ft finished, 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. more
This article appeared in the Vancouver Sun on February 24th, 2012.
In real estate, like many other fields, professional representation is avail-able for every step of the process. How much or little representation you need or want will depend on your knowledge and background in real estate, as well as the amount of time you have to dedicate to the process.
The purchase or sale of real estate has significant financial implications for those involved, although the way in which the transaction unfolds can have more significant consequences for those involved than the price tag.
“It’s critical to understand your com-fort level going in. Buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction that most people will ever be a part of and you want to ensure that all aspects of the transaction are handled in an efficient manner that helps protect you,” Rosario Setticasi, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president said. “Realtors provide clients with professional representation in a real estate transaction. As your agent, they are duty-bound to work and advocate in your best inter-est.”
Realtors provide a broad range of ser-vices, depending on individual business models and the agreement between you and your Realtor as to which services you want.
Depending on that agreement, services may include helping you determine the value of your home if you’re a seller, or helping you establish a reasonable purchase offer if you’re a buyer. It may include listing a property for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system to bring it to the attention of Realtors working on behalf of buyers. It may include marketing a property on www. realtor.ca or www.realtylink.ca, in a local newspaper, on signs, via open houses or other advertising vehicles. It may include help negotiating the sale if you’re the seller, or the purchase price and conditions if you’re a buyer. It may include seeking advice on conditions and appropriate subjects.
There are a lot of ‘mays’ in the range of potential services, again depending on a Realtor’s specialties, i.e. residential, commercial, the types of services a Realtor offers, and the types of services you choose.
What’s equally valuable is the level of protection you gain from hiring a Real-tor. Buying a home is the most significant purchase most people make in a lifetime. A Realtor brings assurances and safeguards to the process.
Each stage of the transaction occurs in front of a well-regulated backdrop created over many years to protect the public. This includes Realtor insurance, an assurance fund, and multiple avenues of recourse if someone feels their agent did not act in accordance with their professional and contractual obligations. Those avenues include the BC Real Estate Council and the appropriate real estate board.
Here’s a more comprehensive list of the protections that come from working with a Realtor:
STANDARDS, LEGISLATION AND REQUIREMENTS
The real estate profession is one of the most highly regulated in the country. The Real Estate Council of BC is a regulatory agency established by the provincial government to protect consumers through the licensing of all individuals who practice real estate in the province. The conduct requirements for all real estate licensees and brokerages include:
1. Undivided loyalty. The brokerage must protect the client’s negotiating position at all times, and disclose all known facts, which may affect or influence their decision.
2. Obey all lawful instructions of the seller.
3. Keep the confidences of clients.
4. Exercise reasonable care and skill in performing all assigned duties.
5. Account for all money and property placed in a brokerage’s hands while acting for the client.
The above speaks to the minimum required under the Real Estate Services Act. Realtors are subject to a higher standard. As members of their local real estate board, Realtors are also required to adhere to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s REALTOR® Code and Standards of Business Practice.
Both the Real Estate Council of BC and the 11 BC real estate boards use a comprehensive investigatory and disciplinary process to deal with complaints. Realtors who are found to have breached either the legislation or the REALTOR® Code are subject to sanctions by their board and/or the Real Estate Council.
REALTOR DUTY TO DISCLOSE
In 1991, the BC Real Estate Association, the provincial association for Realtors, introduced the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). This document is a detailed form that asks a property seller to disclose any defects to a prospective buyer. This document is not required by law, however, the Realtors of BC decided to make the PDS (and associated forms, the Strata Property Disclosure Statement and the Rural Property Disclosure Statement) available to any client wanting to list a home on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). The PDS can be legally incorporated into the Contract for Purchase and Sale.
The PDS goes beyond current legal disclosure obligations and requires that potential problems be itemized for prospective buyers, such as buried fuel storage tanks, asbestos insulation, unauthorized rental suites, renovations done without a permit, moisture problems, unregistered easements or encroachments, and whether the home was ever used as a grow-op or drug lab.
Although the PDS is never a substitute for a thorough, professional home inspection, it is a great place for buyers to begin their due diligence investigation into any home they are hoping to purchase.
By choosing to make the PDS mandatory, the Realtors of BC sought to provide the public with an additional level of certainty when they purchase a home.
SPECIAL COMPENSATION COVERAGE
The Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation is authorized by the Real Estate Services Act and provides protection for consumers who have lost de-posit monies entrusted to a real estate licensee (or an unlicensed individual related to the brokerage, for example, a receptionist, director or officer) that is misappropriated, wrongfully converted, intentionally not paid or accounted for or obtained by fraud. As a condition of licensing, it is mandatory for all Realtors to participate in the fund.
Transaction deposits held by real estate brokerages are protected by the Special Compensation Corporation and are held by the Realtor’s brokerage as the stakeholder until the transaction completes or the parties give instructions as to the disposition of the deposit. Deposit monies can only be removed from a brokerage trust account under specific circumstances – check with your Realtor for more information.
ERRORS AND OMISSION INSURANCE
Anyone licensed to engage in real estate in BC is required to have Errors and Omission Insurance. This provides cover-age for professional errors made in the contract phase.
RECOURSE FOR THE PUBLIC
Real estate boards deal with breaches of the REALTOR® Code. The Real Estate Council of BC deals with breaches of the Real Estate Services Act.
The Professional Standards Department at the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) educates members about professional conduct, and resolves and mediates complaints and concerns of both members and consumers. Where a resolution isn’t possible, files can be forwarded to the Board’s Professional Conduct Committee for further review. The REBGV website is www.rebgv.org.
The Real Estate Council enforces entry qualifications, investigates complaints and imposes discipline under the Real Estate Services Act. The Real Estate Council of BC website is www.recbc.ca.
Realtors complete educational and licensing requirements and must be of good reputation in order to become licensed.
Realtors are committed to continuing education and consistently refine and improve their skills and professional knowledge through participation in the profession’s required Professional Development Program.
Every two years, Realtors must complete a required number of course credits as a condition of continued member-ship in their Board. These courses are designed to keep Realtors up-to-date with new and changing information relating to real estate.
As licensees, Realtors are also required by the Real Estate Council of BC to complete a re-licensing education program every two years.
(* REALTOR® is a trademark owned by the Canadian Real Estate Association.)
This article appeared in the Economic Times on February 24th, 2012.
OTTAWA: Canadian homeowners are loading themselves with too much debt and face serious problems if house values start to drop, the Bank of Canada warned Thursday.
For months, some economists have warned that Canada is in the middle of a housing bubble, with prices in many cities doubling in the past five years. House prices are now out of reach of most working and professional families in the country’s four largest major cities.
“There has been a steady rise in Canadian household indebtedness,” the Bank of Canada said in the winter issue of the Bank of Canada Review, a quarterly publication of academic articles.
“Households could therefore experience a significant shock if house prices were to reverse.”
A large correction in the housing market would hurt the Canadian economy by having “a relatively large impact on consumption”, Xinhua quoted the report as saying.
Still, the bank said other countries have seen worse housing issues.
“The Canadian housing market has not exhibited the excesses seen in other countries,” the bank said in the Review.
The bank says consumer spending pulled Canada out of recession in 2009. Unlike the US, Canada did not see a major drop in housing prices in the last recession, and house prices have continued to grow since then.
Canadian home buyers have been spurred on by easy credit and low interest rates, with banks offering mortgages at historically low rates below 3 percent. The ratio of mortgage debt to disposable income has increased to almost 100 percent from about 50 percent over the last 30 years, the report said.
Nicely updated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom modular home has new laminate floors, paint & trim. Sitting on one of the biggest lots in the complex fully fenced perfect for kids & pets. Spacious open floor plan with big bedrooms. Large detached wired shed & sundeck great for BBQ’s. It is located 2nd to the end of the complex so it is very quiet & private. Washer/dryer not included. Low $76/month strata fee.
This article appeared in the Vancouver Sun on February 21st, 2012 and was written by Brian Morton. This tax credit will also benefit Kamloops as there is always a lot of new construction in our city. This will at the least help mitigate the HST expense on new homes for Kamloops buyers. Read article below.
A new tax break for first-time buyers of new homes will help stimulate the construction industry and create plenty of new jobs, an industry executive said of Tuesday’s 2012 provincial budget.
“This is welcome,” Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president and chief executive officer Peter Simpson said of a temporary bonus for first-time homebuyers that will be effective until March 31, 2013, and is worth up to $10,000.
“They have a difficult time getting into the market and typically get assistance from the bank of Mom and Dad. So this helps property virgins get on the first rung of home ownership and helps stimulate construction.
“For every home start, there are approximately three full-time jobs each year.”
The bonus, a one-time refundable personal tax credit, is equal to five per cent of the purchase price of the home to a maximum of $10,000.
The bonus will be reduced based on a buyer’s or couple’s net income. For single people, the bonus is reduced by 20 cents for every dollar in net income over $150,000 (it’s reduced to zero at $200,000 net income). For couples, the bonus is reduced by 10 cents for every dollar in family net income over $150,000 (it’s zero at $250,000 family net income).
The bonus, which includes detached houses, duplexes, townhouses, condos, mobile homes, floating homes and cooperative housing units, is based on homes where the HST is now payable.
In a budget briefing, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the incentive will help people get into the market.
“We hear from people that talk about the challenge their children or their grandchildren are having getting into their first home,” Falcon said.
“And the biggest hurdle is usually the down payment you’re required to come up with. We believe a $10,000 contribution towards those first-time purchasers of new homes is a great contribution, a great way we can help your children or your grandchildren get into their first home and at the same time receive the dual benefit of supporting the new home construction industry over the next 12 months when it’s forecast across the country to be slowing.”
Urban Development Institute executive-director Maureen Enser agreed, saying the homebuyer bonus was an added bit of good news for the home construction industry on top of the government’s announcement last week raising the HST-rebate threshold to $850,000.
“In the Lower Mainland in particular, where housing is very expensive, both measures together make it easier for people to consider a new home [purchase] for a family,” Enser said.
She added that the maximum $10,000 bonus for first-time buyers with net income under $150,000 should stimulate some potential buyers to move off the sidelines and look for homes, particularly in the Lower Mainland.
“[About] 13 per cent of new housing is priced below $525,000, and 50 per cent is between the $525,000 and $850,000 range,” Enser said, so the measures combined help bring down the cost of new housing at both ends.
However, Simpson was less happy about the budget’s lack of any significant tax relief for the home renovation industry, noting that B.C. homeowners will spend more than $7.6 billion in home renovation, improvement and repair this year.
“We’re still left with the issue of the underground economy, with people delaying their decision to renovate their home by waiting for the HST to disappear [on April 1, 2013],” said Simpson, who added that the home renovation tax credit of up to $1,000 a year for seniors to help them remain in their homes longer will not have a big impact on renovators.
Vancouver-based home renovator Todd Senft agreed with Simpson, saying he’d hoped for new relief but now believes the lack of tax breaks in Tuesday’s budget will force many people to put off renovations and go to the underground economy — where renovators with less credentials undercut legitimate contractors.
“That’s disappointing,” Senft, owner of reVISION Custom Home Renovations Inc., said.
“I’m glad they paid attention to new-home builders, but that doesn’t help us. People will wait a few months and save a few thousand dollars.
“It [the home renovation industry] is steady right now and the year has started moderately. But it will be a tough grind this year. I’m hoping more [homeowners] don’t head to the underground economy to save money. The savings by doing it under the table are massive.”
Meanwhile, Business Council of B.C. president Jock Finlayson said the 2012 budget is generally very positive for B.C.’s economy.
“We would give it high marks overall. It’s not perfect, but we think it will be well received in the business community and financial markets. [And] it reinforces the province’s strong fiscal position and aims to [return B.C.] to a balanced operating budget. It maintains most of the tax advantages of B.C.
“And the forecasts are credible, as we see it.”
However, B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair called the budget a continuation of policies that have put more money in the pockets of the richest British Columbians and B.C. Liberal insiders at the expense of working and middle-class families.
“British Columbians have a right to ask why in tough times we’re giving grants to CEOs to buy vacation homes in Whistler, while they’re telling health care workers and teachers that they have to take a pay cut. I think this is a poor excuse by a desperate government to try to capture the right wing.”
Sinclair said the budget speech acknowledged that front-line workers in B.C.’s public sector had already foregone billions in income due to real wage cuts over the past two years, while cabinet ministers and senior managers got double-digit pay hikes. “It’s simply not fair.”
Iain Black, president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade, said his overall grade for the budget is a B. “We’re dealing with a government with very difficult global economic conditions to deal with and yet it managed to carve out some careful, strategic moves for B.C.”
Kevin Evans, CEO of the Industry Training Authority, also praised the budget for providing tax credits for the shipbuilding and ship repair industry to help employers hire apprentices.
Shachi Kurl, director of provincial affairs, B.C. and Yukon, for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the budget appears to be on track to balance the budget by next year, but raises the unwelcome spectre of corporate tax increases and fails to honour the commitment to eliminate the small business tax rate.
Deloitte tax policy expert Lisa Zajko said the retention of the 2.5-per-cent small business rate and the provisional one-precentage point increase to the corporate tax rate — from 10 per cent to 11 per cent effective April 1, 2014, if the economy falters — are not surprising. “The wait-and-see approach to the corporate tax rate increase is a safe move but may affect B.C.’s competitive position in the future if Alberta and Ontario keep their rate at 10 per cent, without entirely foregoing the prior work toward cutting corporate tax rates.”