January 2018 Update
Sales in the Powell River real estate market continued to be only moderate at 25 in January. Activity is slower because new listings continued to be sluggish. Buyers are ready and waiting! It continues to be a sellers’ market and pricing continues upward – the average sale price of all types of residences is up $40,000 over last year at this time. March is generally the beginning of the spring market when the most sales activity takes place and early activity so far this month points to another busy year. Sellers may consider getting in early while there are fewer listings available as the demand continues to be high right through these drearier months. Conditions suggest that we’ll see another year of increasing prices, new builds and high demand for homes that come on. In such a rising market, it’s easy for buyers anxious to get a home to pay more than necessary. I suggest that you work with a realtor if you’re buying or selling. I’m always happy to answer your questions and help in whatever way I can!
New Rules in Real Estate
New rules originally slated for March 15, but delayed due to difficulties in implementation and now coming June 15 in the BC real estate industry, while well-intended, may end up causing more difficulty
for the public than good. Under current rules a Realtor may represent both a buyer and a seller in the purchase of a home. During the very hot market in Vancouver, a very few Realtors took advantage of the situation and their clients. The new rules will disallow “dual agency”
– working for two clients on the same transaction.
After June 15, I will have to refer clients who want to see a home I’m listing to another realtor. Such clients have always been given the choice continue working with me in “dual agency” or be referred to another realtor. That choice will be taken away. The only way a client – who may have been working with a particular realtor for years – can work with their chosen realtor is to sign on as an “unrespresented party”. This is not a position I would want to put a client into. The realtor can give no advice or opinions, but can only present ‘data’. The only option for the long-term client is to be referred to a different realtor. It’s better than no representation, but it does take away choice from people looking for homes. In smaller areas like Powell River, it’s more likely to happen than in the larger centres.
As I said, the ideas are well-intentioned, but not necessarily well-thought out. There will be more coming on these changes in the months ahead. For more information, check:
Residential Tenancy Changes
In December, the rules regarding fixed-term leases changed in the Residential Tenancy Act. Previously, it was possible for landlords and tenants to enter into a fixed term lease that required the tenant to vacate the premises at the expiry of the term
. In the current market with both rising prices and a shortage of rental properties, some landlords were using the fixed-term tenancy to avoid the rent controls by removing the tenant at the end of the fixed-term and re-renting the unit at a rate higher than what’s normally allowed (4% in 2018 every 12 months) to either the same tenant or a new one under a new fixed-term lease. Now landlords cannot include the vacate clause in the fixed-term lease
and must abide by the allowable rent increases for the same tenant. For more information, see https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/news
Still Tough on Renters
Finding rental accommodation is as challenging as ever right now. Homes with rental units are being sold and either renovated or occupied by the buyer displacing the current tenant. On the other hand, new investors are buying previously owner-occupied homes and renting them out. We see this with people from other areas who plan to move to PR in the future, but are unable to make the move immediately. The displaced renters add to the demand for rental accommodation.
With that in mind, it’s a good time for investors to buy. Demand for rental accommodation is high and there are lots of well-credentialed people looking for a place to rent. Call me to see all the new listings that fit your needs on your email as soon as they come out.