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Biden Eyes Tighter Rules for Shell-Company Real Estate Purchases – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Treasury Department will begin developing regulations that could expand reporting requirements for all-cash real estate purchases as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to cut down on global corruption, according to two senior administration officials.

The new rule could force title insurance companies to turn over information about cash purchases funneled through shell companies in additional metropolitan areas, or implement new disclosures for commercial purchases in addition to residential sales, according to the officials, who requested anonymity to detail the effort before it’s formally announced.

The rule-making process is an outgrowth of a new strategy to counter corruption that the administration is expected to unveil on Monday ahead of President Joe Biden’s democracy summit this week. Federal departments and agencies are expected to unveil additional steps as part of the strategy, including the creation of senior anti-corruption jobs across federal departments. 

The Pentagon has committed to including risk analysis about possible corruption as it determines the distribution of security assistance to other nations, while other departments are expected to more heavily weigh the issue as they consider foreign humanitarian aide.

But the proposed real-estate rule may have the biggest domestic impact. Currently, title insurance companies are required to identify to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network the persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate — but only on homes costing over $300,000, and only in a dozen metropolitan areas.

“Increasing transparency in the real estate sector will curb the ability of corrupt officials and criminals to launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains through the U.S. real estate market,” Himamauli Das, Acting Director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said in a statement. 

“Addressing this risk will strengthen U.S. national security and help protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system,” Das said.

Officials said the new rule could expand that reporting requirement beyond existing geographic areas — which include cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — to cover the entire U.S. The regulation could also be written to demand information about those using shell companies to buy commercial real estate. 

The goal, administration officials said, was to prevent those who obtained their money through corrupt or illicit acts from parking their gains in U.S. real estate, driving up prices for ordinary consumers. Still, the officials said, they want to develop the new regulations while minimizing the impact on the real estate sector as a whole.

Congress passed legislation this year requiring shell companies with 20 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual sales to report ownership information to the Treasury Department. The law has come under fire from small business advocates, who have said the expanded reporting requirements create additional legal costs. The law also includes carve-outs for larger corporations and certain charitable trusts.

The Biden administration is expected to formally unveil the beneficial ownership reporting requirements mandated under that legislation as part of a series of additional regulatory efforts and financial sanctions slated to be announced this week ahead of the democracy summit that begins on Thursday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Canada’s Real Estate Bubble Is So Big Even The Mother of All Crashes Can’t Fix It – Better Dwelling

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Canada’s Real Estate Bubble Is So Big Even The Mother of All Crashes Can’t Fix It  Better Dwelling



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Lack of listings pushes Alberta real estate into a sellers' market – Calgary Herald

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High demand in Calgary and Edmonton, paired with continuing low supply, will likely drive prices higher in the year ahead, says Zoocasa

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Amid the success of the real estate market is a sore spot that could drive up prices more than expected, and that’s low inventory in the coming year, according to one national realty firm.

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While the pinch of low supply is most acute in larger centres like Toronto and Vancouver, Alberta is also “feeling the inventory pinch,” says Rachel Rehkopf, spokesperson for Zoocasa Realty Inc. in Toronto.

She points to December total sales rising by 27 per cent in Alberta while new listings remained stagnant.

That “pushed the entire province into sellers’ market conditions.”

The province sits at 2.5 months of residential inventory. That essentially means if no new homes came to market over the next two and a half months, and current demand for housing continues, Alberta would have no more homes for sale.

It’s a scenario that’s unlikely to happen, of course, and the overall supply-demand picture is better in Alberta than other parts of the country, she adds.

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In Ontario, for example, supply is 0.6 months while the metric is 1.7 months in British Columbia.

Yet Alberta’s supply is significantly lower than last year when it had four months of supply, she says.

Calgary is the tighter of the two large markets in the province with only 1.5 months of supply, while Edmonton actually added new listings in December, growing by about 10 per cent, year over year. Still, sales in Edmonton outpaced new listings, resulting in a 14 per cent decrease in inventory.

Overall, high demand in both cities paired with continuing low supply will likely drive prices higher in the year ahead, she notes.

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Welcome to Real Estate Friday! – theberkshireedge.com

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Here’s what we have for you this week in The Edge Real Estate section:

  • Property of the Week – Janet Kain of TKG Real Estate offers the opportunity to live in a stunning home, lovingly cared for and perfectly located for year-round enjoyment of the Berkshires.
  • Transformations – Designer Jennifer Owen and her clients imagined a calming space to relax while listening to the Boston Symphony Orchestra Live from Tanglewood on the radio!
  • Weekly real estate transactions for Berkshire County, Northern Litchfield County and, now, Columbia County
  • Market Perspective – Updated this week: The 2021 year-end real estate report from the Berkshire Board of REALTORS. What does it tell us?
  • The Self-Taught Gardener – How does Joan Didion’s approach to life and to her art inform our Self-Taught Gardener on how to garden?
  • Gardener’s Checklist – The holidays are over and the winter doldrums have set in. What’s a gardener to do to lift his spirits in these dark days?

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