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Province extends deadline for filings to 'hidden ownership' real estate registry – Windsor Star

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Lawyers say the law was complex and guidance from the government on interpreting the law was insufficient

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The province is extending the deadline for people to file information to a registry intended to track the “hidden ownership” of real estate in B.C. The deadline, originally the end of this month, is now the end of November 2022.

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The Land Owner Transparency Act came into effect in December, giving both new property buyers and existing property owners a year to disclose interest holders in corporations, trusts and partnerships.

The goal was a publicly searchable database of information about who directly or indirectly owns real estate in hopes of curbing rising home prices fuelled by shell companies, nominees and trusts that allow for obscuring owners’ identities and, potentially, money laundering.

The extension to next year, in part, acknowledges the administrative strain caused by COVID-19. However, it was also sparked by points made by many lawyers and others.

“It’s much easier to say you are doing something than to actually do it,” said Ron Usher, a lawyer who represents B.C.’s notaries public that work on real estate transactions and sat on the panel that led to an overhaul of real estate regulations.

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“It’s a very complex law, and it’s going to take time and staffing to explain it to the public and then to enforce it,” said Usher.

An Oct. 25 letter from the Canadian Bar Association’s B.C. branch to the Ministry of Finance said the original deadline was “unrealistic for a number of reasons.”

Even though there was awareness among lawyers, notices were never sent to property owners “alerting them to the Nov. 30, 2021 deadline,” said the letter.

Since trust arrangements don’t require owners to appear on property titles, there was the challenge of figuring out who to inform of the filing deadline.

The letter, more pointedly, also said “there has been a lack of meaningful guidance to legal professionals through authoritative policy statements by the ministry regarding the interpretation and application of the Act.” It warned that a year after the law being enacted people in the legal profession often have differing views of the correct interpretation of the law.

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As one lawyer pointed out, the Ministry of Finance provides dozens of bulletins and publications interpreting the Property Transfer Tax , but little information on the much more complex topics of interpreting “indirect control” of real estate and transactions by foreign buyers.

“Legislative complexity coupled with inadequate guidance means that legal professionals are spending more time handling each (transparency) matter, which, in turn, leads to backlogs of client requests and the inability to provide adequate legal representation,” said the letter.

The lawyers’ group argued for an extended deadline because the Act is so complex, but has a “scope of penalties” and there is the significant potential for misfilings due to misinterpretations.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

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Why real estate agents are urging Canadians not to wait for spring to sell their house – Montreal Gazette

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Rising mortgage rates could mean a spring slowdown for Canada’s housing market

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The pandemic-triggered housing boom has shredded a number of long-standing assumptions Canadians have about real estate.

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Distance from, not nearness to, downtown cores is now a key buyer desire. Communities that were unpopular with buyers two years ago because of a lack of jobs or amenities are some of today’s most active markets. Even taking out a gargantuan mortgage in the midst of a crushing global recession went from “undeniably risky” to “par for the course” seemingly overnight.

And this Great Real Estate Rethink continues: A new survey by real estate brokerage Royal LePage finds that 79 per cent of real estate professionals think sellers should list their homes this winter rather than waiting until spring 2022.

Winter is traditionally the slowest season for home sales in Canada. But buyers have already tossed aside so many real estate traditions. What’s one more?

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Survey says…

The pro-winter listing sentiment is strong across all regions.

Realtors in British Columbia led the way, with 93 per cent of respondents in the province saying they would advise their clients to sell this winter; 87 per cent of agents in Quebec and 85 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada shared the same view.

The proportion of agents in favour of winter listings were lower in Ontario (72 per cent), Alberta (73 per cent) and the remaining prairie provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan (75 per cent).

While those numbers are all high, many of the real estate agents surveyed — at least half in every area of the country — were advising their clients to list in the winter even before the pandemic. The reason then is the same as it is today: A painfully low number of homes for sale has created a seller’s market so rabid that weather is the last thing desperate buyers are worried about.

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“Typically we see a seasonal adjustment in real estate activity,” says Adil Dinani of Royal LePage West Real Estate Services in Vancouver. “However, last year, we saw one of the busiest winter markets in our history. Even if there are fewer buyers in the winter, it is unlikely there will be enough inventory on the market to satisfy demand.”

That could be especially true in Toronto, where there were only 7,750 homes left on the market at the end of October.

“That’s versus 17,000 last year,” says Cameron Forbes, general manager and broker at RE/MAX Realtron Realty in Toronto.

But Forbes still believes that a spring listing is better for sellers, pointing out that since 1999 there have, on average, been more homes on the market in the winter in the GTA than in the spring. If selling in a low-supply market is the goal, why not wait until the spring, when the market will be even more depleted?

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“All things being equal, that’s a better time to sell your home,” he says. “That’s why agents will generally recommend that you wait to list in the spring market, when your home shows well and, frankly, when buyers are out looking to buy.”

Low supply vs. the harsh Canadian winter

You may have noticed that the areas where the preference for winter listings were lowest are in parts of the country where winter can be especially brutal. (Ontario’s placement in this category may have more to do with fears around what an extra three or four months might do to the province’s already sky-high prices.)

And this one could be particularly messy. Both The Weather Network and the Farmer’s Almanac are preparing Canadians for a potentially long, storm-filled winter.

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Can sellers in hard-hit markets really plan on buyers being hungry enough to brave the elements and view properties when winter’s at its most miserable?

Regina-based Royal LePage agent Shayla Ackerman, no stranger to extreme winter weather, says listing in the winter is not something she would recommend unless a seller has no other choice.

“Our winter market slows right down,” she says.

But in Montreal, which also receives its fair share of colossal snow-dumps, Century 21 Immo-Plus agent Angela Langtry expects buyers to be out in droves.

“We are still in a low-inventory market, especially for houses,” Langtry says. “I always say that the serious buyers come out in the snow storms.”

A spring housing slowdown?

Capitalizing on raging buyer demand is not the only reason to list your home this winter.

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The Bank of Canada announced in late October that it is ending a key pandemic emergency measure: buying billions of dollars in bonds to keep interest rates low, including those attached to mortgages.

If mortgage rates begin rising, and mortgage amounts begin shrinking, buyers may have less buying power in the spring. Listing now may give sellers one last shot at enticing buyers while they have more money to play with.

But Paul Taylor, president and CEO of trade association Mortgage Professionals Canada, isn’t sure a rise in interest rates will impact buyers’ budgets in the next few months.

“Almost everyone is qualifying at a 5.25 per cent stress test rate today,” Taylor says, referring to the benchmark interest rate lenders use to evaluate mortgage applicants’ ability to repay their loans.

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Even if the Bank of Canada were to raise interest rates by 100 basis points, or one per cent, over the next 12 months, Taylor says buyers who qualified at 5.25 per cent would still have at least 200 basis points worth of breathing room, meaning their mortgage budget “will be effectively unchanged.”

Taylor expects a 0.25 per cent increase in the BoC’s overnight rate, which should trigger a rise in variable mortgage rates, in the spring. He says two additional increases could occur before the end of 2022.

“I expect the media coverage of the tiny rate increases will scare many and slow the market, which is likely very good for everyone, but I don’t think we’ll see enough of a slowdown to erode prices,” Taylor says.

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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The Bank of Canada Only Sees 2 Real Estate Bubbles and Vancouver Isn’t One of Them – Better Dwelling

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The Bank of Canada Only Sees 2 Real Estate Bubbles and Vancouver Isn’t One of Them  Better Dwelling



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House prices in Canada will rise higher in 2022, real-estate report says – CTV News

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TORONTO –

Housing prices in Canada are expected to increase steadily in 2022, with inter-provincial migration continuing in many regions and a short supply of homes in those areas pushing up costs, according to Re/Max’s housing market outlook report published Wednesday.

Sale prices are projected to go up by 9.2 per cent on average across the country next year, the real-estate company estimates. It would follow an already “sensational” year in terms of sales and price appreciation, Re/Max’s president says.

“In the history of our nation, I don’t know of, certainly not in my tenure, of more than 95% of markets being in seller’s market territory,” he told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview. “So it can’t be overstated enough how strong the market was in Canada in 2021.”

That momentum will likely carry forward into next year, Alexander says, with 36 of 38 markets across the country poised to maintain their seller’s status.

Another trend he suspects will continue is inter-provincial migration as investors look for more affordable places to set up shop. The ability to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has given some homebuyers the flexibility to shop in different places.

“Remote work has really allowed people to set up in ways that weren’t possible before the pandemic,” Alexander said. “We”e hearing of some people that have moved to a different province but still hold their job in the province they left.”

The report indicates short supply in areas with high demand due to migration is a key factor in driving up the cost of real estate.

Despite prices seemingly set to continue going up, making home ownership more expensive for Canadians, the report says about half of residents across the country still view buying a house as a good investment option for next year.

“I don’t think people are nervous at all,” Alexander said of the real-estate market. “We surveyed a lot of consumers and more than half are confident that the market is going to remain strong for next year.”

Apart from outlining industry trends, the report breaks things down region by region in Canada, offering predictions and projections for different areas in the coming year.

In Western Canada, Calgary and Edmonton became seller’s markets this year, a trend that’s expected to continue into 2022. The report attributes this to heightened demand coming from homebuyers migrating from Ontario and British Columbia while supply remained low.

Cities such as Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna in B.C., along with Regina in Saskatchewan, also apparently saw a boost due to incoming buyers searching for more affordability.

Winnipeg is said to be an outlier and it seems will remain a buyer’s market next year, the report says, apparently due to more remote working options in the area.

Brokers in Ontario anticipate steady market activity and price growth in 2022, at least on average. Several regions experienced wild price appreciations across all property types this year, including Brampton (25 per cent), Durham (29 per cent) and London (30 per cent), while Toronto only saw a seven-per-cent increase.

All regions in Atlantic Canada are currently seller’s markets, according to the report, and could see sale prices rise between five and 20 per cent next year.

The spike in demand seems to be driven by out-of-province buyers from Ontario moving to cities like Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown and St. John’s in search of more affordability.

Although places like Charlottetown may cool off, sales prices in Halifax and Moncton are projected to increase by 16 and 20 per cent, respectively.

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