A Better Way Home?

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) announced their “whitepaper“, outlining proposed solutions to address the housing crisis both in the province and across the country. BCREA is recommending a “pre-offer period” where offers cannot be presented to a seller on new listings until the listings have been posted for five business days (for a fee). During which you have the option to back out. Similar to the 7-day rescission period for new developments.

Other recommendations in the white paper fall into four core categories:

  • improving housing affordability;
  • enhancing consumer protection in transactions;
  • evolving the real estate sector; and
  • creating a world-leading regulatory structure.

The Government of British Columbia is considering removing some housing approval powers from local governments. This is an effort to get more homes built by removing the Municipal bottlenecks as they are not approving enough housing for our population growth. It might have some weight, knowing personally how lengthy the process can be when applying for City permits. They have not done anything to make it cheaper or faster over the last 5-10 years.

It’s important to note that while the public may point fingers at foreign buyers and investors, make no mistake the issue is domestic demand. Investors are in fact increasing the supply of rental housing. There is no loss in supply. If the buyer chooses to leave it empty, they are subject to the Empty Homes Tax (3% of the assessed value) and Speculation and Vacancy Tax (0.5% of the assessed value).

Canada is expected to receive 400,000 immigrants, 80,000 to BC, including refugees from Ukraine this year. Canada had the lowest number of housing units in relation to population out of the G7. There was a deficit of 25,000 listings. There have been talks of creating a permanent housing round-table, bringing together all housing market stakeholders; Federal, Provincial, and Municipal to formally tackle these issues.

Buyers are most often sellers first. The current sentiment is one of hesitation: “if I sell now, where am I going to go?” A dilemma we see in high volume, though not every buyer is making a lifestyle change, or has the constraint of time or financing. The proposal is meant to take frenzy and panic out of the offer situation. The impetus to make hasty decisions. Though, the aforementioned responsibility often lies with those who work directly with buyers and sellers—the agents that look after their best interests.

Adam Naamani
Adam Naamani

Real estate specialist, proptech builder, ruby on rails enthusiast.

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