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Real estate secrets; Family blindsided after others profit off obituary; CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet – CBC.ca

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Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Real estate agents caught on hidden camera breaking the law, steering buyers from low-commission homes

Marketplace’s latest investigation is uncovering some shady real estate practices.

Posing as homebuyers and sellers, Marketplace tested if real estate agents are engaging in steering, an anti-competitive practice that steers potential homebuyers away from properties that offer agents lower commission. The team’s hidden cameras found some agents deceiving the buyers they are supposed to represent in an effort to pad their own bottom line.

Experts and industry insiders say what Marketplace has uncovered is indicative of an industry working for the benefit of real estate agents at a cost to home sellers and buyers.

“There’s a huge inertia, and maintaining the status quo, it absolutely benefits existing realtors 100 per cent,” said broker and real estate agent Michael Walsh, one of the few speaking out on this issue.

After learning about our findings, the Real Estate Council of Ontario issued a notice about steering to more than 93,000 real estate agents, brokers and brokerages under its purview, noting that such behaviour breaches their code of ethics. Read more

Real Estate Secrets

2 days ago

Investigation catches real estate agents breaking the law to keep commissions high, hamper competition and block private sellers. 22:30

Family blindsided after marketing company, funeral home cash in on father’s obituary

Before pancreatic cancer took his life in April, John Rothwell made his dying wishes clear: if mourners wanted to donate to a cause in his name, the money should go to an educational fund he and his family set up.

Instead, family and friends unwittingly paid for a product that puts money into the pockets of companies profiting from grief, says son Nathan Rothwell

Rothwell told Go Public that while he knew the obituary would be on the website of the Mackey Funeral Home in Lindsay, Ont., he made sure it included a request for mourners to consider donating to the educational fund, in lieu of flowers. 

What no one told his family is that Frontrunner — a Kingston, Ont.-based marketing company that runs the funeral home’s website and many others across the country — uses obituaries to sell what it calls “memorial” trees and other products.

The obituary included links that said, “Plant a tree in the memory of John Rothwell” and led to a different website where mourners paid for products the family knew nothing about, said Rothwell. 

“Family and friends spent money out of their own pockets for what they thought were my dad’s wishes,” Rothwell said.

After Rothwell complained and got a lawyer involved, Frontrunner doubled what mourners paid for the trees, and donated that money — more than $2,000 — to the educational fund. The company maintains that it did nothing wrong. Read more

Nathan Rothwell says his dad wanted memorial donations to go to an educational fund. Instead, some money went to private companies using obituaries to sell memorial-themed tree plantings. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

The U.S. land border is reopening, but Canadians with mixed vaccines are still in limbo

While it’s welcome news that the U.S. will reopen its shared land border with Canada to non-essential travel on Nov. 8, some Canadians with mixed vaccine doses aren’t celebrating just yet.

That’s because at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in. 

“CDC will release additional guidance and information as the travel requirements are finalized later this month,” spokesperson Jade Fulce said in an email on Wednesday. Read more

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent directs vehicles re-entering the United States from Canada at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit on Aug. 9. Starting in early November, Canadians entering the U.S. by land and air will have to be fully vaccinated, but there’s uncertainty over whether two doses of different vaccines will count. (Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

What else is going on?

What we know about kids and COVID-19 vaccines
If parents feel heard and understood, they’re in a much better position to make decisions, say pediatricians

Zellers returns — kind of — but the lowest price isn’t quite the law 
Discount store brand reappears months after HBC appears to lose trademark registration.

Sweatpants forever? Why the ‘athleisure’ fashion trend may outlast the pandemic
The pandemic has changed fashion trends — and experts say our desire for comfort is here to stay.

Canada seeks to claw back $25M in COVID relief from thousands of fishers 
More than half of the harvesters affected by the repayment request are in Nova Scotia.

Specialized Tarmac SL7 Bicycles recalled due to fall hazard
Consumers should immediately stop using the bicycles and contact an authorized Specialized retailer.

Marketplace needs your help

Have you ever signed up for a session with a life coach? We want to hear all about your experience! Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.  

Watch this week’s episode of Marketplace and catch up on past episodes any time on CBC Gem.

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

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

Article content

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

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Article content

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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Article content

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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Article content

“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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Article content

“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.

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Article content

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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Article content

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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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

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November home sales up nearly 12% from last year: Vancouver real estate board – Energeticcity.ca

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The number of homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver reached 7,144 last month, a 35.7 per cent decrease from 11,118 in November 2020 and a 11.1 per cent  decrease from 8,034 in October 2021.

The benchmark price for a home in the region hit $1,211,200, up 16 per cent from last November and one per cent from October 2021.

The board’s economist says the figures indicate that home sales will end the year at or near an all-time record for the region.

“We’ve had elevated home sale activity throughout 2021, despite persistently low levels of homes available for sale,” Keith Stewart, said in a statement. 

“With a new year around the corner, it’s critical that this supply crunch remains the focus for addressing the housing affordability challenges in our region.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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

Published

 on


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

Article content

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

Advertisement

Article content

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?

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Article content

“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?

Advertisement

Article content

“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.

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

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