April 2009 Vancouver Real Estate Market: BC Home Inspectors, Stable Property Market, FINTRAC, Little Mountain Housing, Vancouver Leaky Condos
B.C. Home Inspectors Must Be Certified
Beginning March 31, 2009, all home inspects in the province of British Columbia must be licensed to inspect homes. The BC government passed this law and is expected to provide greater security to Vancouver home buyers. The B.C. home inspectors will be licensed under the BC Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority. BC Home Inspectors are often called in during a home sale, and the Real Estate Boards across Greater Vancouver Regional District have applauded the licensing requirement. A BC home inspector seeking a license must first pass muster with the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, the Applied Sciences Technologists and Technicians of B.C. or the National Certification Program for Home and Property Inspects. A BC home inspector that practices in contravention of the regulations faces discipline, including penalties of up to $5,000 per infraction.
The Greater Vancouver Housing Market is Returning to Stable Sales
According to the Real Estate Weekly magazine, the entire Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate markets are returning to a more stable marketplace with listings and sales happening much quicker when compared to the previous six months. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the hosuing market in Vancouver real estate property market has calmed to a more stable market with sales rising more than 50 per cent in March 2009 compared to a month earlier in February 2009 (that also saw a huge increase compared to the first month of the year). The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that 2,2665 residential home sales were recorded in Greater Vancouver real estate district in March 2009, a fifty three pre cent increase over February, but a 24.4 per cent decrease over March 2008 when things were still booming at the time. This represents the second straight month of increased sales in the Greater Vancouver real estate market and much higher levels are also expected for April 2009 numbers when they come in in May. Obviously, there is more consumer homebuyer confidence in the Vancouver real estate market that is returning after six months of declining sales volume and property values. The Vancouver property sales activity is rising to more typical levels given the season, and the number of Vancouver homes being listed for sale are also leveling off, which is a great sign of a more balanced property market. The number of new residential listings on MLS actually declined by 22.7 per cent in March 2009 and for the 5th month in a row, the number of new Vancouver home listings has actually decreased. There has been more active transactions from first time Vancouver home buyers who are definitely attracted to the lowest mortgage rates in history, in addition to a great selection of listings being offered and obviously, greater affordability. The Real Estate Vancouver Board’s Housing Price Index for detached Vancouver homes also fell 15.1 per cent, which is also a good sign for the market.
Real Estate Developers Must Also Report to FINTRAC
Real estate developers, like real estate agents, will have to comply with new federal regulations under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act according to the Real Estate Weekly article. Real estate developers in Canada have until February 20, 2009 to meet the filing deadline. Development companies that fail to report transactions properly under Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) guidelines could face fines up to $500,000. Executives could be fined up to $100,000 per person. Realtors began complying with the tighter reporting rules this past June, and all new regulations accompanying the act will kick in by September 2009. Realtors have until January 2009 to comply or face penalties. Every real estate developer in Canada who has sold atl east five homes, one commercial or industrial building, or a condo or apartment complex will be subject to the act’s client-indentification, record-keeping and reporting requirements when they sell a property. The new rules are designed to bring Canada’s anti-money laundering rules up to international standards. The new rules are designed to improve enforcement of the law but they will also place a greater regulatory burden on real estate developers and reporting agencies, including banks and loan companies. Real estate developers in Canada will have to document proof of identity of people and companies involved in every transaction and keep that information on file for five years in case FINTRAC, a federal agency that polices financial transactions, should want to review it. Any real estate developer who receives $10,000 or more in cash for a single deal must keep a large-cash transaction record and report that details to FINTRAC, unless the money is obtained from a financial institution or public body. Real estate developers in Canada must also report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.
Little Mountain Housing – Slogan Cover-Up?
According to 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, B.C. Housing is covering up its dirty little secret with $2 rollers and cheap brown paint, according to advocates for Little Mountain Housing. Supporters who painted murals on plywood that cover the windows at the largely abandoned social housing project last week at Little Mountain Housing Vancouver were shocked to learn slogans such as “Home is wehre theheart is” had been painted over by a graffiti clean-up crew in the past few days. “BC Housing is afraid of the words,” said advocate Kia. “There was another paitning that said, ‘Love still lives here,’ and it was blotted out – very offensive.” BC Housing regional director Dale McMann said his agency allowed the event to take place at Little Mountain Housing without explicit consent but covered up some images felt to be inappropriate for a family neighbourhood. “There was a slogan around Helther Shelter – sort of vague reference to the old Charles Manson Helter Skelter days,” McMann said. “We wanted to ensure those types of paintings were removed.” Community Advocates for Vancouver Little Mountain social housing project have called on the province to restore 224 social housing units rather than pursue commercial development scheduled since early 2007. NDP MLA David Chudnovsky said the paint job is another example of the government sticking its head in sand rather than addressing the province’s most crucial issues. “What do we need in Vancouver?” he posed. “Another 2,000 million dollar condos? Or affordable housing for middle class and working people who need it?” From Dharm M.
Vancouver Leaky Condo Syndrome
A great article by HouseLeague for MetroNews Vancouver by Ryan D. As winter approaches, it seems home buyers are beginning to dredge up that fear of leaky condos that plagued hundreds of Vancouver condo buildings erected in the 90s. Leaky condo syndrome is a catastrophic failure of the building envelope leading to water ingress that potentially leads to rot and mould. This was caused by many factors including a shift in the Vancouver condo building codes allowing for the use of inadequate materials and poor design. Use a realtor as they have an intimate knowledge of the area you are searching in and will likely be able to steer you away from buildings with known leaky condo Vancouver problems. Second, when writing an offer on a Vancouver condo, request a Form B from the property management company. It mentions if there are any upcoming assessments being levied against the homeowners. Third, read through the last two years of strata minutes. Issues that have arisen in that time, including leakage, will be mentioned there. Fourth, check if the builder was built with “rainscreen” technology or if it has been repaired to have it. “Rainscreening” is a small gap between the exterior and interior walls of the structure that allows any water that penetrates from the outside to seep down and escape.
Labels: 2009 Vancouver Real Estate Forecast, B.C. Home Inspectors, BC Home Inspections, FINTRAC, Little Mountain Housing, Rainscreen Technology, StatsCan, Vancouver Leaky Condos, Vancouver Real Estate Stats