How can governments improve affordability in Metro Vancouver?
Michael Geller, a Vancouver architect, planner, real estate consultant, and property developer, has spent the better part of his 40-year career analyzing this topic and providing advice to all levels of government.
Geller recently shared ten ways to cool housing prices. These include practical, easy to implement ideas to increase density without building high-rises. He believes with more density, prices aren’t as likely to rise as quickly.
This theory will be tested in the next few years in Northeast False Creek, as 1,000 new housing units come onto the market to accommodate an estimated 12,000 newcomers.
There’ll also be new density in the Cambie corridor with 11,500 new homes coming, according to Phase 3 of the area plan.
Vancouver hopes to make housing more affordable through its controversial Empty Homes Tax, which will cost the city $7.4 million to implement. There are new exemptions.
We've compiled everything Realtors need to know about the tax here.
On a provincial level, it’s too early to tell how the newly formed NDP-Green government will tackle affordability. However, we can get some insight on what they may do through their campaign platforms and statements.
Lastly, changes to Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into force on July 1.
The legislation prohibits businesses from sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) including emails, texts, and social media messages to clients and customers without their consent.
REALTORS® had until June 30, 2017 to get consent.
Even if you missed the deadline, if you don't have an existing business relationship, now is the time to request consent.
Demand for condominiums continues to outstrip supply
The imbalance between supply and demand in the condominium market is creating home buyer competition across Metro Vancouver.
Residential property sales in the region totalled 3,893 in June 2017, an 11.5 per cent decrease from the 4,400 sales recorded in June 2016, an all-time record, and a decrease of 10.8 per cent compared to May 2017 when 4,364 homes sold.
Last month’s sales were 14.5 per cent above the 10-year June sales average.
“Two distinct markets have emerged this summer. The detached home market has seen demand ease back to more typical levels while competition for condominiums is creating multiple offer scenarios and putting upward pressure on prices for that property type,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said.
There were 5,721 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2017. This represents a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to the 5,875 homes listed in June 2016 and a 5.3 per cent decrease compared to May 2017 when 6,044 homes were listed.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,515, a nine per cent increase compared to June 2016 (7,812) and a 4.2 per cent increase compared to May 2017 (8,168).
“Home buyers have more selection to choose from in the detached market today while condominium listings are near an all-time low on the MLS®,” Oudil said. “Detached home listings have increased every month this year, while the number of condominiums for sale has decreased each month since February.”
Supply and demand
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2017 is 45.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 24.5 per cent for detached homes, 62 per cent for townhomes, and 93.2 per cent for condominiums.
Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
“Market conditions will vary today depending on area and property type,” Oudil said. “It’s important to work with your local REALTOR® to help you understand the trends that are occurring in your community.”
Home Price Index
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $998,700. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase over June 2016 and a 1.8 per cent increase compared to May 2017.
Sales of detached properties in June 2017 reached 1,320, a decrease of 15.5 per cent from the 1,562 detached sales recorded in June 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,587,900. This represents a 1.4 per cent increase from June 2016 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to May 2017.
Read our full June 2017 stats package here.
The Ethics Guy®: I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial
Who among us hasn’t secretly thought ill of someone, and perhaps, wished for the lightning bolt of justice to mete out a little karma? Irwin S. Cobb, author of the title quote, must have had a very special person in mind when he spoke.
Who annoys us the most? For us, it’s mostly other REALTORS®. In my last column, I wrote about two members who were so good at what they do, one happy home buyer and one happy home seller had contacted us. I know there are many, many more members who have received compliments from clients and customers. The “Bouquets” members send one another are similar. They compliment a member for exemplary service, professionalism, and going above and beyond the expected standard.
It’s a sad part of our nature that we seem to remember more about the bad than the good. Maybe, in my case, it’s just the result of Old Man Time having his way with me. But one thing is certain – members who do things that annoy other members or damage the profession’s reputation are not easily forgotten, even if they haven’t seen the inside of the Professional Conduct Committee’s hearing room. We have very long memories indeed. And, I think, we would all agree that in a perfect world we would want our colleagues to remember us with fondness rather than venom.
Which leads me to writing about a practice recently cropping up. It involves the use of what I’ve come to call a “virus clause.” This is a clause someone creates that other members see, like, and start using. On today’s menu is a clause saying, “Sellers reserve the right to change their minds,” or something similar. Another iteration is “Sellers reserve the right to consider an offer earlier than the posted presentation date.” The clause is often appended to the now well-used REALTOR® Remarks, “First showing on Sunday July 16. Offers, if any, to be presented at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, July 17.”
Translated, the sellers’ Realtor is saying, per the Rules of Cooperation 3.21, that he or she has signed Schedule A instructions to delay showings and offers, and is notifying other Realtors about the instruction in REALTOR® Remarks. When the “unless the sellers change their mind” clause is added, what’s the effect? I’d say the two clauses cancel each other out. They’re saying, “I want this to happen unless I change my mind.” It isn’t good for any of us when these kinds of instructions are unclear. “Sellers reserve the right to consider an earlier offer,” hollows out the words, “Offers, if any, to be presented on Monday.”
The words themselves are not a breach of standards. But using the two clauses together practically guarantee there’ll be a problem or miscommunication between members. And that isn’t where it ends either, because there are buyers who’ll think, and they’d be right, that they weren’t given a fair opportunity to see and make an offer on a listed property if their Realtor wasn’t notified of an earlier showing or presentation time. This results in another hit to our collective reputation.
If it were me acting for buyers, I’d push for and document that I’d asked for an appointment in advance of July 15 to remind the sellers’ Realtor of Rule 3.21’s requirement, which states:
In the event the Listing Brokerage receives a written offer during a “no show” period, the Listing Brokerage shall, prior to presenting the offer, inform all Cooperating Brokerages that have requested a viewing appointment that an offer is scheduled for presentation.
Rule 3.21: Member Access to Listed Properties
To refresh your memories, here’s Rule 3.21 in its entirety:
Access to listings accepted and processed by the MLS® shall be made available to all Members subject to these Rules of Cooperation.
- (a) A new listing that cannot be shown for a defined period of up to seven (7) calendar days from the effective date of the listing will be accepted as a contingent listing, and such contingency, including the specific date on which showings and/or offers will be accommodated, must be stated on Schedule “A” and noted in the REALTOR® Remarks. A new listing that cannot be shown for an undefined period or a period that exceeds seven (7) calendar days from the effective date of the listing will not be accepted by the MLS®, and the Listing Brokerage will be advised accordingly.
- (b) If an existing listing cannot be shown for a defined period of up to seven (7) calendar days, the listing will be considered a contingent listing and the details of the contingency will be added to the REALTOR® Remarks by the MLS®. An existing listing that cannot be shown for an undefined period or a period that exceeds seven (7) calendar days cannot be active on the MLS® system, and a Hold Action not exceeding fourteen (14) calendar days or cancellation instruction must be submitted in the appropriate form. Failure by the Listing Brokerage to submit the appropriate documentation will result in the listing being removed from “Active” status and placed in “Cancelled” status, and cancel protected until the expiry date of the listing.
- (c) In the event the Listing Brokerage receives a written offer during a “no show” period, the Listing Brokerage shall, prior to presenting the offer, inform all Revised November 2013 Page 8 RULES of COOPERATION of the CADREB, FVREB and REBGV Cooperating Brokerages that have requested a viewing appointment that an offer is scheduled for presentation.
I wrote about Rule 3:21 in my “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” article last year. I‘d hoped it would help members stay out of harm’s way. But for some, it didn’t. Since April 2016, the Professional Conduct Committee has fined nine members for amounts ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, depending on the circumstances, in relation to complaints made about potential breaches of Rule 3.21 and concerns about properties being shown or sold prior to the published showing/offer presentation date.
While we’re in the neighbourhood, I can’t overstate the importance of sellers’ brokerages having their sellers’ instructions to delay offers or showings, in writing, on the listing’s Schedule A. A comment in REALTOR® Remarks alone is not sufficient. The Rules of Cooperation should be called the “Rules of Engagement between Members.” They’re a comprehensive set of requirements that, when followed, promote good relationships and transactions. Please note that a few of the rules allow sellers to opt out of some rules’ requirements by giving instructions in writing. These instructions can cover situations such as delays in offers and showings, or buyers’ Realtors not being there for offer presentations.
Members, if you encounter an irregularity with these or any other rules, please let us know. If the two managing brokers have not been able to resolve the problem directly, all we need from you and your broker are signed letters and statements along with documentary evidence. We’ll take things from there by opening a file and asking the other member to respond to the concerns.
I think members would recoil if their Board created rules governing every single thing they do. But it’s reasonable to expect that members will meet or exceed their obligations under the Rules and the Code. I hope they’ll act within the spirit of the rules as well. Just because the rules don’t forbid something doesn’t mean it’s okay to do. Thinking about why there’s a rule in the first place can often guide us to a better understanding of what the rule is trying to accomplish. Being familiar with and following the letter and spirit of our professional standards is the right thing to do. It’s what professionals do. And, when others think about us and the mark we’ve left on the profession, let’s make sure they think of us fondly rather than with venom. Following the rules is a good start.
Top tip: Advertising standards enforcement
Our advertising standards are mostly embodied in the Code’s Articles 13-15 and Section 8 of the Rules of Cooperation. The Code defines advertising as being, “any marketing activity to promote the brokerage, the Realtor or a transactions and includes any verbal, written or graphic representation in any form, including electronic media.” Recently, members have expressed concerns that advertising in a foreign language or website is beyond the reach of the Board (and Council.) That’s most definitely not correct. All members’ advertising is subject to the Board’s professional standards.
With 14,000 members it isn’t possible for us to proactively monitor all advertising in all places. However, we’re able to deal with non-compliant advertising when it’s brought to our attention, including ads that are not written in English. We have a number of multi-lingual staff at the Board, and we can use a translator, if necessary. If you have a concern about a colleague’s advertising practices, please first review the concern with your broker. Then, if your concern remains, send us a copy of the advertising for us to audit.
Check your listings for location accuracy
REALTOR.ca is switching from its current map provider to Google Maps. It hasn’t announced a date yet, but we anticipate that the switch will occur in July.
It’s important to always confirm that your listings are mapped accurately in Paragon so they’ll appear in the correct location on REALTOR.ca. When your listing goes live, check the mapping location and adjust it if necessary. Click here for a walk-through on how to do this.
The move to Google Maps will provide consumers with:
- A best-in-class map experience.
- Google Street View for all REALTOR.ca listings.
- More accurate and up-to-date maps.
If you have questions, contact the Help Desk at 604-730-3020.
REBGV donates $10,000 to wildfire victims and arranges fundraising events
Through the REALTORS Care® program, your Board is donating $10,000 to the Red Cross BC Fires Appeal to support the communities across BC affected by the ongoing wildfires.
Other boards across the province have also collectively donated $13,000 so far.
Over 14,000 people have already been evacuated from their homes, with a further 10,000 on notice. Shelters are filling up fast and donations help provide immediate relief such as cots, blankets, family reunification, and financial assistance for food, clothing and personal needs.
Our Areas are organizing fundraising events to help out. We'll share the details with you when they're finalized.
If you want to make a personal donation, click here.
Top six real estate websites
Here’s a list of real estate websites to help you excel in your business. Many of these sites are services your Board provides.
- Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV.ca) (members only)
A one-stop shop for all things real estate. Here you can view your PDP and Medallion status, register for a course, view our market reports, and more.
- INTERFACExpress (members only)
INTERFACExpress offers MLS® information from around the province.
- Commercial Edge (subscription only)
Commercial Edge is a subscription-based sales database for commercial REALTORS®.
- WEBForms (members only)
Did you know you can access WebForms directly, rather than going through Paragon MLS®?
- Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC)
The Council is the licensing body of real estate professionals in BC. Its site contains a directory of licensees, a list of recent RECBC disciplinary decisions, and information to help you meet your legal responsibilities.
- Canada Post postal code lookup
Are you looking for that last piece of information for your listing? Find the correct postal code by going to Canada Post’s postal code lookup system.
Embed Stats Centre reports on your website
Our Stats Centre reports have become the most popular housing market report we provide.
You can provide your clients easy access to the Stats Centre reports by including them on your website. Embed the code generated on this page, and you’ll have the latest housing information available. The reports are updated automatically — you don’t need to maintain them.
Be vigilant at open houses
Summer is here and the market is active, which means lots of busy, well-attended open houses.
Open houses help you market a home and find prospective clients, but there are risks. In an active market, opportunistic thieves target open houses.
Here are 10 tips to help you protect yourself and the homes you show:
- Check all rooms and determine escape routes when you enter a house for the first time. Ensure you can escape from a backyard if you flee through a back door.
- Unlock all deadbolts so you can escape faster.
- Jot down car descriptions, license plate numbers and physical descriptions when attendees arrive.
- Always walk behind the attendee and show the house by directing, not leading, them.
- Watch what attendees are doing at all times. Don't become preoccupied with viewing the home.
- Never advertise a property as vacant.
- Notify someone in your office or a friend that you’ll call every hour on the hour. If you don't call, they should notify police immediately.
- Inform a neighbour that you’re showing the house and ask them to be aware of anything out of the ordinary.
- Ask your clients to consider locking their valuables in a safe or storing them at a relative’s house.
- Have another REALTOR® join you at your open house to help monitor attendees.
Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you sense someone is up to no good, keep a close eye on them, and always do what you need to do to remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation.
Find and share more tips on Real Talk
Have you considered making people remove their shoes or sign a log book before entering a property? These are a few of the many safety tips offered by your fellow Realtors on Real Talk.
Click here to see more and share your advice.
Fun and fundraising at Vancouver softball tournament
Congratulations to the champion Oakwyn Raiders, Oakwyn Realty Ltd. (pictured), runners-up Latent Defectors, Macdonald Realty Ltd., and all the participants at the June 28 softball tournament in Vancouver. You raised nearly $300 for the Vancouver YWCA! Special thanks to event sponsor Allan Pun Investor’s Group.
Board Director conquers Canada’s highest arctic peak
Not everyone celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday with fireworks in the sizzling summer sun.
REBGV Director Advisor Brian Friedrich, along with four other brave Canadians, climbed to the summit of Barbeau Peak.
Brian has been on the REBGV Board of Directors since April 2015 as a non-REALTOR® advisor.
Here’s a summary of his journey:
Sharpen your conflict resolution skills
As a REALTOR®, you likely encounter conflict in your day-to-day work. Some conflicts are unavoidable, but they don’t need to result in hostility, frustration, or even litigation in the worst situation.
A person’s skill in dealing with conflict will influence the outcome. Those skilled in conflict resolution can diffuse even the most hostile situations.
In our Win/win: conflict resolution skills for REALTORS® course, you’ll learn:
- how conflicts arise;
- how to prevent conflict from escalating;
- guidelines for creating open dialogue;
- how to use a four-step problem-solving model; and
- step-by-step techniques to resolve conflicts.
The next course is scheduled for Monday, July 24, at the Delta Burnaby Hotel. To check course availability and to register, visit the Course Catalogue.