1. BCREA launches new podcast 'Open House by BCREA'
Open House by BCREA is where REALTORS® in BC will find the latest industry headlines, and feature conversations with experts on issues related to real estate practice every month. The first episode, “Managing REALTOR® Risk in 2020,” will feature a conversation with Leslie Howatt, Executive Officer of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation.
Listen & Read more on BCREA
Listen to the latest podcast here
2. BCREA 2020 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update: BC Homes Sales Carry Momentum into 2020
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to increase 10.3 per cent to 85,290 units this year, after recording 77,349 residential sales in 2019. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 6.3 per cent to 90,700 units in 2021.
Read more on BCREA
3. Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - January 22, 2020
The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision the Bank noted that while economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, the global economy appears to be stabilizing and export demand and business investment should pick-up over the next year. In addition, strong population and income growth will provide a boost to consumer spending and the housing market continues to recover. The Bank projects that inflation will stay around its 2 per cent target over the next two years.
Although the Canadian economy appears to have limped to the finish line in 2019, pressure on the Bank of Canada to lower rates may actually be easing as risks to the Global economy fade. Fear surrounding the outlook for the United States has subsided due to rate-cutting by the US Federal Reserve and guarded optimism around US-China trade relations. With external risks to the outlook diminished, the Bank will likely remain focused on restraining the growth of household debt. Therefore, it is unlikely the Bank will opt to lower its policy rate this year, absent a significant deterioration in the outlook for Canadian growth and inflation.
For more info. please contact BCREA.
BCREA Advocacy Update:
1. Regulatory reform –
On January 23, BCREA CEO Darlene Hyde and VP of Government Relations Trevor Hargreaves met with BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) CEO Blair Morrison, Superintendent of Real Estate Micheal Noseworthy and Real Estate Council of BC CEO Erin Seeley to continue advocating for a REALTOR® voice through the role of a governing council within the new regulatory framework. Trevor also met with Assistant Minister of Finance Tara Richards on January 23 to further advocate for the benefits of a governing council. BCREA will continue dialogues with the BCFSA and Ministry of Finance throughout 2020 to represent the interests of REALTORS®. Amendments to the Real Estate Services Act will be tabled in fall 2020.
2. Anti-money laundering –
On January 17, the Ministry of Finance announced two public consultations to prevent money laundering from coming into BC. One proposes creating a registry of beneficial ownership of private companies; the other is about modernizing mortgage broker regulation. These consultations reflect recommendations from the Expert Panel on Money Laundering that was released in May 2019. Feedback for the consultations ends on March 13, 2020.
Consultation on establishing a corporate beneficial ownership registry: https://bit.ly/2U66rVY
Consultation on the Mortgage Broker Act: https://bit.ly/2RBmQ33
2. Managing broker consultation –
BCREA submitted a response to the managing broker consultation to the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) on January 20 based on focus groups with eight boards, a survey of nearly 1,100 REALTORS® as well as feedback from member boards. Thank you to all the boards for providing signatures to our submission. Superintendent Micheal Noseworthy was impressed by the collaboration. Several boards made submissions to OSRE in addition to signing BCREA’s submission.
BCREA recommendations: https://bit.ly/2stQKN1
3. Housing supply and affordability consultation –
The joint BC and federal Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability is seeking insight and solutions to address the issue of housing affordability challenges in BC. Consultations are open until April 3, 2020. The panel will publish an interim report in summer 2020.
Information on the consultation: https://bit.ly/2U8YoaU
4. Market housing affordability –
In spring 2020, the BC Government will table legislation to give municipalities the ability to provide property tax relief to small businesses and organizations that are identified as paying high property taxes. This is intended to be interim legislation, in effect for a maximum of five years, as the province works to improve affordability province-wide.
Government news release: https://bit.ly/2OcnlP8
5. BC Throne Speech and Budget 2020 –
The Speech from the Throne will be delivered on February 11 and will give a taste of what to expect in the budget a week later. Trevor and BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson will attend the provincial budget lockup discussion on February 18. At the lockup, reporters and stakeholders have the opportunity to preview the budget before its public release and ask questions of Minister of Finance Carole James and government staff.
6. Speculation and Vacancy Tax –
Homeowners in communities where the Speculation and Vacancy Tax applies should receive their declaration packages by February 21 and are required to complete the declaration by March 31, 2020. Each owner on the title must complete a declaration to claim an exemption. Owners who are not exempt must pay their assessed amount by July 2, 2020.
For more information and the Speculation and Vacancy Tax: https://bit.ly/2u3rhe2
7. Agricultural Land Reserve –
On January 27, the Ministry of Agriculture released a new policy intentions paper. The paper asked for feedback on a proposed change to enable Agricultural Land Reserve landowners to have both a principal residence and a small secondary residence on their property without having to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission. Landowners would still require approval from their local government. Under the proposed change, the province would not impose restrictions to require a secondary residence to be a manufactured home, be for an immediate family member or be part of a farming plan.
The deadline for submitting feedback is April 17, 2020.
Policy intentions paper: https://bit.ly/36IxKbs
8. Government Liaison Days –
BCREA’s Government Liaison Days is scheduled for Sunday, April 26 to Tuesday, April 28. This year’s format will differ from previous GL Days, with an MLA lunch to be held on Tuesday, April 28 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at the Victoria Conference Centre. Government MLA meetings will likely take place exclusively on Tuesday as well, reserving Monday, April 27 for programming events. This change will ensure that we don’t compete with other organizations.
Hotel information, an expense policy and other information will be available on REALTOR Link®: https://bit.ly/37CPiHk
9. Cabinet shuffle –
Premier John Horgan has made three changes to his cabinet:
Hon. Bruce Ralston has replaced Hon. Michelle Mungall as Minister of Energy,
Hon. Michelle Mungall has replaced Hon. Bruce Ralston as Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness (formerly the cabinet post of Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology), and
Hon. Anne Kang has replaced Hon. Selina Robinson as Acting Minister of Citizen’s Services. Ms. Robinson remains Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
See the updated list of MLAs and member boards on REALTOR Link®: https://bit.ly/2Odk5ml