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Chipley appointed to new provincial real estate board – Estevan Mercury

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Estevan’s Lynn Chipley has been elected to the Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) board of directors.

Chipley, who is the owner-broker at Century 21 Border Real Estate Service, is one of 12 members on the provincial board.

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The Association of Saskatchewan Realtors (ASR), Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR) and Association of Regina Realtors (ARR) will amalgamate on Jan. 1, 2020, to form the SRA – a single provincial Realtors association.

The board of directors of this new association will be comprised of 12 association members – four from each of the designated regions of Saskatoon, Regina and Saskatchewan – those members whose brokerages reside outside of Saskatoon and Regina.

Five members of the initial board, including Chipley, were appointed for one-year terms by the SRA Transition Committee, a group established at the launch of amalgamation discussions in 2018 who have led the process from research to member vote and in the past nine months, the development of the SRA.

Elections were held by region via mail between Oct. 16 to Nov. 28 and results were announced at the member launch of the SRA on Dec. 4.

The SRA board of directors will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and will be installed at the SRA annual general meeting in March 2020.

“It’s an exciting time in Saskatchewan real estate, and I’m thrilled to have such an enthusiastic team of directors to work with,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of the SRA. “It’s a big undertaking for any association board, but with a new organization, we’re undergoing major changes in everything from governance policy to organizational structure and everything in between.

“But it’s also a great opportunity to enhance member services and make a difference in Saskatchewan real estate. I’m confident we have the right directors in place to achieve our goals.”

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Canada’s mortgage rates edging higher in first rise since before COVID crisis

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By Fergal Smith and Noor Zainab Hussain

(Reuters) – Canadian mortgage rates are beginning to inch higher for the first time since before the COVID-19 crisis, reflecting the spike in long-term bond yields, but with home loans still languishing around historically low levels the modest hike is unlikely to slow the red-hot housing market.

The lowest rate for a Canadian five-year fixed rate mortgage, the most common mortgage in Canada, climbed by 25 basis points last week to 1.64%, according to Ratehub.ca. It was the first increase since January 2020. The move could encourage buyers to lock in historically low borrowing costs before they rise further.

Mortgage rates had been trending lower in Canada since the Bank of Canada slashed its benchmark interest rate last March to a record low of 0.25% to support the economy during the pandemic. So the move-up in mortgage rates is a sea change for home buyers, providing a sense that a bottom could be in place.

There was “a stampede to lock in rates last week and get pre-approvals,” said James Laird, co-founder at Ratehub.ca, which compares rates on mortgages, insurance and credit cards. “There could be more increases coming.”

TD Bank and National Bank of Canada told Reuters they have raised rates on at least some mortgage products, but Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s biggest lender, said it has not raised mortgage rates recently.

Canada‘s other top six banks had not yet responded to a request for comment.

The low mortgage rates, pent-up demand and fewer listings amid the pandemic have lit a fire under the Canadian housing market. More than 550,000 homes, a record, traded hands in 2020, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, with its Home Price Index rising at an annual rate of 13.5% in January.

Mortgage rates tend to track moves in the bond market with a lag. Canada‘s five-year yield has more-than doubled since the start of the year, briefly trading above 1% last Friday, as investors bet that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines would boost economic activity.

“I would say the rise in interest rates comes a little bit earlier than anticipated, but it also came alongside some better than anticipated news” on the economy, said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets.

Canada‘s economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6% in the fourth quarter, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday, well above the BoC’s forecast of 4.8%.

The strength of the real estate market has started to cause some discomfort for policymakers. Last week, BoC Governor Tiff Macklem said for the first time that the central bank is starting to see signs of froth.

The increase in rates so far is not seen as a game-changer.

“Mortgage rates remain very low by any measure,” Laird said. “I don’t think this will change consumer behavior.”

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith and Noor Zainab Hussian; Editing by Denny Thomas and Steve Orlofsky)

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Calgary real estate market heats up after best February in years: CREB

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CALGARY —
Calgary recorded its highest number of real estate sales for February since 2014, months before the worldwide crash in oil prices.

The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) said the surge is the result of a number of factors, including pent-up demand, but historic low mortgage rates are getting many back into the market.

Angie Woodhead just listed her home in Shawnessy last Thursday. She says she thought she knew what to expect.

“I think I knew things would move pretty quickly based on what was happening,” Woodhead says. “But I think the time from when the listing went live and the first request for a viewing was seven minutes.”

Her realtor says the market is starting to gain back some of the losses of recent years.

“Specifically under the $600,000 range in the detached and semi-detached market are starting to sell faster, and even sometimes to competing offers and that is creating an upward pressure on the pricing,” says Rachel Clark of KNAG Real Estate and Property Management.

Prices are up about four per cent over this time last year, but the gains haven’t been even. Southeast Calgary homes are up around nine per cent — while homes in the city centre are up less than two per cent.

Condos and townhouses improved, but there is still a lot of choice for would-be buyers.

“For more demand growth we need to see more sustainable recovery, in terms of our employment levels and getting migration again once the borders open,” says CREB economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

Lurie says low interest rates take most of the credit, but so does a sense of confidence that the pandemic may be drawing to a close.

“Most of this demand is driven from pent-up demand, for more demand growth we need to see more sustainable recovery, in terms of our employment levels and getting migration again once the borders open,” Lurie says.

Source:- CTV Toronto

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Real estate lawyers may have helped high rollers buy Vancouver homes like casino chips: inquiry – Global News

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B.C. casino investigators probed real estate lawyers whom they had connected to private mortgages, organized crime and an alleged transnational money-laundering scheme, the province’s inquiry has heard.

In testimony Tuesday at the Cullen Commission, Brad Rudnicki, a BC Lottery Corporation anti-money laundering intelligence specialist, said his investigations suggested foreign high rollers could have been buying Metro Vancouver homes through loan sharks in the same way they were buying casino chips.

Read more:
BC Lottery Corp. didn’t block mysterious casino cash due to ‘hundreds of millions’ in estimated losses: inquiry

This is the so-called “Vancouver Model” of money laundering, in which transnational organized crime suspects Kwok Chung Tam and Paul King Jin are accused of laundering drug cash by lending it to wealthy visitors from China, according to previous testimony.

A day earlier, the inquiry heard from an RCMP investigator who has alleged Jin and a Richmond currency exchange were operating as a drug trafficking organization by laundering cash for drug dealers in China, Latin America and Canada.

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The RCMP alleged Jin’s China-based underground banking organization allegedly laundered funds by lending cash for casino chip purchases to visitors from China, who often secured these loans with private mortgages or promissory notes on their Vancouver properties. Charges against Jin were stayed in 2018, and results of a related RCMP investigation into Jin’s network are unknown, the inquiry heard. Both Tam and Jin deny they are organized-crime loan sharks.

Rudnicki testified that his team started to look at real estate lending and property ownership connected to Tam and Jin’s casino lending network in 2015. Both men were banned from B.C. casinos for five years, the inquiry heard, for various reasons. Rudnicki’s investigators noticed that high rollers in the Chinese network often took private mortgage loans from Jin, Tam and others.


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Whistleblower defends testimony at gambling inquiry – Nov 18, 2020

He said he found gamblers could buy and renovate Metro Vancouver homes with loans from casino loan sharks, and then sell them soon after for millions in profit. And this could launder money in Canada for both the lenders and buyers, he said.

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“You could almost replace ‘casino’ with ‘house,’” Rudnicki said. “How these loans are paid back — it is very similar to the model of the players borrowing funds in the casino. (The loan) could be paid back overseas or in town.” 

He said his team also looked at suspicious gamblers who listed their occupations as “student” or “housewife” but bet large amounts of money because it suggested they were connected to high rollers with hidden sources of wealth. This same relationship seemed to hold up in the real estate purchases by students and housewives, he added.

“When we researched these players, we would find them attached to multi-million-dollar houses, and we could link them to another player in the database (who) wouldn’t be listed on land titles.”

These hidden high rollers were often connected to foreign companies and were believed to be relatives of the spouses or children fronting real estate and casino chip purchases, he said.

Read more:
‘Vancouver Model’ money laundering connects B.C., Las Vegas and Macau casinos, inquiry hears

Another pattern Rudnicki found related to Tam, Jin and others was lawyers who would register private mortgage lending contracts in B.C.

Rudnicki pointed to one unidentified lawyer who was known to be facing a Law Society of B.C. investigation after 2015.

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“It could be unusual that private mortgages are being loaned from people linked to organized crime, and a lawyer was registering the mortgage,” he testified.

“And the lawyer in this case had an investigation ongoing. So there was adverse media, (so casino investigators thought) perhaps this lawyer is being utilized for their ability to register private mortgages.”


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Cullen Commission told warnings about casinos ignored


Cullen Commission told warnings about casinos ignored – Nov 9, 2020

In another case, an unidentified lawyer was linked to a property with eight residents, many of whom listed occupations in Chinese hospitals, which seemed unusual, Rudnicki said. The property owner was connected to a number of real estate lending cases and three banned Lottery Corp. patrons, including Tam and Jin, the inquiry heard.

Rudnicki said his data didn’t prove wrongdoing on the part of lawyers connected to mortgages originated by gang suspects, but that it suggested further investigation was warranted.

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The commission’s mandate is to determine whether corruption or other issues allowed drug money laundering to take root in B.C. casinos and real estate.

The inquiry continues.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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