Spring is here! We’re still in a seller’s market, so now is the perfect time to list your property!

If you’re looking to buy, more inventory has been coming to market recently. Get ahead of the curve and start viewing properties with us! Our goal is to ensure our clients have all of the pertinent information to do our due diligence once we have found the right property and communicate the process every step of the way.

B.C. Minister of Finance Selina Robinson says details of the government’s plan to introduce a cooling-off period for homebuyers will not be revealed until late spring.

“Regulations will be introduced this year to define the specific time homebuyers will have to exercise this right as well as the financial costs of retracting an offer,” Robinson said in a statement, later clarifying that it would be late spring.

The plan to amend B.C.’s Property Law Act was announced in last month’s provincial budget and was introduced to the legislature on Monday — creating a Homebuyer Protection Period to protect people buying a home in a “challenging real estate market.”

The amendments will allow a buyer who has an accepted offer to rescind that offer within a period of time yet to be revealed.

Robinson said that 70 per cent of offers in B.C.’s most competitive markets over the past year were made without conditions, which can lead to major repair and renovation costs or the loss of a deposit if the buyer’s financing falls through.

“People need to have protection as they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives,” Robinson said. “In our overheated housing market, we have seen buyers feeling pressure to waive conditions just to be considered, and new homeowners discovering costly problems only after a deal has closed.

“We want to make sure people buying a home have time to get the information they need to make a sound decision within limits that still give sellers the certainty they need to close sales.”

The amendments would enable the creation of a period to give people buying a home more time to consider their offers, ensure financing and obtain a home inspection, instead of feeling like they need to waive these conditions, she said.

The Home Inspectors Association of B.C. and Mortgage Professionals Canada support the move.

B.C. is the first Canadian province to implement a homebuyer protection period for resale properties and newly constructed homes.

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The Bank of Canada has raised its key interest by another 50 basis points, bringing it up to one per cent. This is the second in an expected series of rate hikes slated for 2022, and the biggest single increase since 2000.

The move follows a 0.25-per-cent increase at the Bank’s last interest rate announcement on March 2, which was the first upward move since October 2018, following a trio of decreases in March 2020, to help ease the economic fallout of COVID-19. This new upward trend is intended to rein in the rapid rise of inflation, which hit a 30-year high of 5.1 per cent in January, well above the Bank’s projection of two per cent.

The Bank cited the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia as a continuing source of major uncertainty, with spikes in the price of oil, natural gas and other commodities adding to inflation, and exacerbating ongoing supply chain disruptions.

In Canada, the Bank says the economy is chugging on all cylinders, with tight labour markets and wage growth back to pre-pandemic levels. Consumer spending is up as pandemic restrictions continue to ease, and businesses report difficulties meeting demand due to supply chain issues. The housing market is “exceptionally high” but the Bank expects it to moderate.

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In a first for Canada, a new pilot program from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) will allow homebuyers to see all registered offers placed on a property as they’re submitted.

The real-time tracking will be shown on a property’s REALTOR.ca listing, using Australian property technology company Openn Negotiation. Details on when and where the pilot will launch are not yet clear, with the CREA saying that it will kick off some time this summer in select markets across the country.

“Multiple offer scenarios have become increasingly commonplace in today’s real estate environment,” said CREA’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Bourque. “Canadian property buyers and sellers seek greater confidence in the process, while Canadian realtors seek tools to enable and more easily manage these situations. We’re very excited about the potential of this pilot to address both.”

The announcement came just one day before the federal government announced its intention to ban blind bidding Canada-wide in the 2022 Federal Budget. This followed a 2021 campaign promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to create a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, which would include the banning of blind bidding.

As rising home prices and fierce bidding wars rage on, Canada is looking to follow the lead of other countries like Australia which use an open bidding system as a means to cool Canada’s housing market. Duncan Anderson, executive director of Openn and president of Openn North America, says that since launching, their software has offered Australian homebuyers much needed transparency.

“Through six-plus years of development, execution, and innovation in the Australian market, we have proven that both the real estate professional and consumer benefit greatly from enhanced transparency,” Anderson said. “We are thrilled by the opportunity to partner with CREA to introduce Openn Offers to the Canadian marketplace.”

Some have questioned federal government’s decision to implement open bidding, with one report from policy think tank Smart Prosperity Institute stating that not only is there no evidence to support the government’s claim that blind bidding causes prices to soar, but that actual evidence from countries like Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia suggests open bidding will lead to higher prices. It’s important to note, however, that all of Australia’s home sales, as well as a large portion of New Zealand’s, are carried out via a live auction. And in Sweden, bids placed on a home are not legally binding. Both are significant departures from Canada’s typical home buying process.

The federal government has not yet provided any details on what exactly the blind bidding ban would entail or how it would be implemented. Currently, each province or territory have their own varied rules and regulations when it comes to open bidding. In Ontario, for example, the Real Estate Brokers Act prohibits realtors from revealing the dollar amount of competing bids, but requires they reveal how many other offers there are. In British Columbia, on the other hand, buyers must rely on a selling agent’s willingness to reveal how many other offers they’ve received.

Despite the current rules, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is on board with the CREA pilot.

“This opportunity is well-timed and well-suited for our market,” said Jeff King, CEO of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “We are excited to participate in a by realtors for realtors solution that provides equality of access to information and facilitates increased transparency for the consumer.”

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