CREA Discourages Unrealistic Listing Prices in Home Selling

Demand for housing in most Canadian markets continues to outpace supply and increasingly, disappointed buyers and REALTOR® members are voicing their frustration to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and provincial regulators about the use of advertised listing prices that bear no reasonable relationship to a selling price a seller may be prepared to accept in an attempt to generate additional offers.

Ultimately, a home’s listing price is part of a marketing strategy and is set at the direction of the home seller. That said, “We’re concerned that a small minority of sellers and their advisers may be seeking to engineer bidding wars based on advertised listing prices, in some cases as low as $1, that bear no relationship whatsoever to what a seller may be willing to accept for a property,” CREA CEO Michael Bourque announced in a statement. “These types of listings can distort the market in significant ways: by failing to give any indication of the seller’s expectations; by dissuading prospective buyers from making an offer and in discouraging good faith offers based on unrealistic advertised listing prices. These distortions can create real costs for consumers and REALTORS® involved in transactions.”

REALTORS® are a trusted source for Canadians buying and selling real estate. Choosing not to give any indication of a price that a seller may be willing to consider does not reflect creditably on the real estate profession and impacts the accuracy of our data.

“While the listing price is ultimately a decision for the seller, we encourage REALTORS® to advise their clients to advertise properties based on market conditions and realistic seller expectations,” says Bourque.

Real estate is regulated provincially, so check with your provincial government and/or regulator for further guidance.

Ontario is finally starting to reopen

After a long COVID-19 lockdown – Ontario is finally starting to reopen. This is great news for people, communities, and our Province.

Today, (June 2nd) the Government is lifting its Stay-at-Home Order and on June 14th Ontario is set to enter Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen.
 



What does that mean for real estate? Three things:
​​​​​​
General Restrictions Are Still in Place – For Now

Today, Ontario is allowing the Stay-at-Home Order to expire. As a result, most of the restrictions related to non-essential business, activities and gatherings remain in place.

REALTORS® should continue to follow all existing public health guidelines, limit in-person business as much as possible, use virtual tools and conduct scheduled showings only.

OREA’s Guidance for Safe In-Person Showings is available on OREA’s COVID-19 Information Hub.
​​​​



Residential Evictions Are Resuming

Second, when Ontario enacted the Stay-at-Home Order it paused enforcement of residential evictions. The pause applied to evictions orders for all tenancies subject to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), including those already issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)but not yet carried out.

With the end of the Stay-At-Home order, OREA has learned that the government is also ending the pause on the enforcement of resident evictions. That means that eviction orders for all tenancies subject to the RTA will resume effective today.

The LTB is carrying on most of its business using virtual video conferencing tools. Members who own investment properties or who are supporting clients, can visit the LTB website to learn more.

According to the Government, if the stay-at-home order is extended or reintroduced, be it province-wide or focused on specific regions, the suspension of residential eviction enforcement could be extended as well.
 



Inter-Provincial Travel Still Restricted

The Ontario government has announced that it has extended its ban on interprovincial travel until June 16 as part of its emergency measures. The ban, which applies to non-essential travel, affects Ontario’s land boundaries with Manitoba and Quebec.

OREA Members can cross interprovincial borders for essential business purposes. OREA has drafted template letters to support Members in navigating border checkpoints.
 



Looking Ahead

OREA has reached out to its key contacts in government and assembled the below information about what else Members can expect from the Province’s Reopening Roadmap when it comes to real estate.

The Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures.
 



The plan is based on:
 

  • The province-wide vaccination rate
  • Improvements in key public health and health care indicators


Members looking for more general information should go to the Ontario Government’s website.
 


Note: This timeline and the below information is subject to change. OREA will communicate updates to Members when new information comes to light.
​​​​​​

Tell Us What You Think About Open Houses

OREA is currently advising the government on open houses and Step Three of the Reopening Plan. We will be surveying Members to collect their feedback and will be communicating it to government.

If you are already a Member of OREA’s Research Community, you will receive a link to the survey today. If you are not yet a Member of the Research Community, click the link below to complete a 3-minute introduction survey to register. Once completed, you’ll receive an email to confirm your registration.

www.joinorearesearch.com

Thank you,

David Oikle
OREA President

Changes to REALTOR.ca DDF® Data Feeds |

This is an important reminder changes have been made to REALTOR.ca DDF® data feeds.

For years, REALTOR.ca DDF® has made it easier for REALTORS® to showcase listings on their personal website through data feeds. 

In 2020, a whopping 650,000 leads were sent to REALTORS® through our growing network of high-profile REALTOR.ca DDF® partner sites such as Microsoft Bing, TD Bank, Scotiabank and Kijiji.

Due to the technical nature of setting up these data feeds, most REALTORS® enlist a technology provider’s help to set up and maintain the data feeds on their website. More than 650 technology providers currently work with REALTORS® across Canada and have access to data feeds, and supporting services, with no associated fees. 

To ensure we continue to offer the best—and only—national data feeds to our members, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) introduced a tiered pricing model for technology providers to access feeds and supporting services. The pricing model is structured to allow technology providers of all sizes to continue to provide their services to REALTORS® without interruption. This pricing model also better aligns with current market standards for data services and will allow CREA to provide REALTOR.ca DDF® data feeds for the long term.

On April 1, 2021, CREA introduced Phase 1 of its new fee structure for technology providers operating 51 or more data feeds. We are now moving into Phase 2 which will commence on October 1, 2021, focusing on technology providers operating 6 to 50 data feeds. 

Please note: data feeds are still and will always be free to members. Charges will only be applied to technology providers, as per the new pricing model.

By introducing new charges to technology providers, we understand your members may be impacted through increased service prices or technology providers choosing not to provide service anymore. 

In the rare case of disruptions or rate increases, we have a complete list of technology providers who can ensure your members’ website can continue receiving listings from REALTOR.ca DDF®.

View the List of Technology Providers


CREA will continue to invest in REALTOR.ca DDF® improvements such as providing geocodes for all data feeds.

We’re here to help. Contact our Member Experience Centre at support@crea.ca with any questions

When should Ontario permit Open Houses?

I wanted to share with you a survey we just put into field with our OREA REALTOR® Research Community on Housing Affordability and Ontario’s COVID Reopening Plan.

In the survey we ask Members to give us their advice on WHEN the government should permit Open Houses to resume under Ontario’s Reopening Plan.

Specifically, the Ontario Government is considering permitting real estate Registrants to host open houses (once again) as part of Step Three of its Roadmap to Reopen the Economy.

Ontario will arrive at Step Three towards the end of July or early August provided that it meets its pandemic targets including 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses. In Step Three all essential and non-essential retail will be open with capacity limited to permit 2m physical distancing. 

As part of the survey, OREA is asking Members if:

  • Open houses be permitted before Step Three (before late July)
  • Open houses be permitted as part of Step Three; or (in late July/August)
  • Open Houses be permitted at some point in the future but not during Step 3 (after late July/early August)

The survey is also looking for Member advice on OREA’s advocacy priorities heading into the Fall. This is information we are going to take directly to government so your feedback is really important.

If you’re a Member of the Community I encourage you to take the survey (emailed to you yesterday) and if you’re not you can join in 3 mins at www.JoinOREAResearch.com – fill out a bit of information and the survey will get sent to you.

Please feel free to send to local Members and colleagues and encourage them to join the Community and take the survey.

Thanks so much for your help – this is critical data that will help OREA give the best advice to government.

Matthew

Matthew Thornton, MA, CAE | Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications

Ontario Real Estate Association

T: (416) 385-6624 | 1-800-265-OREA(6732) ext. 10-624 | F: 416-445-2113 | E:mthornton@orea.com

99 Duncan Mill Road | Don Mills, ON M3B 1Z2

2020 OREA Year in Review

Let’s connect!  | OREA Blog | @OREAinfo

Final 2021 FINTRAC Regime Materials Now Available

Significant changes to Canada’s FINTRAC Regime are scheduled to come into force on June 1, 2021. 

Key changes include:

  1. A new obligation to determine whether a client is a politically exposed person or head of an international organization.
  2. A new obligation to obtain beneficial ownership information from corporate and other entity clients.
  3. A new obligation to report large virtual currency transactions.

For more information on key changes see FINTRAC’s New Regulatory Requirements for the Real Estate Sector.

Updated materials to assist members in complying with the new obligations have been posted to REALTOR Link® and WEBForms®. The updated materials replace the draft versions that were previously made available on REALTOR Link®.

As a result of lobbying by the Canadian Real Estate Association, FINTRAC has issued a notice that until March 31, 2022, FINTRAC will focus on assessing compliance with regulatory requirements that were in effect prior to June 1, 2021. This means that although REALTORS® are still required to comply with the new obligations, and should make good faith efforts to do so, the likelihood of an administrative monetary penalty being levied if a deficiency is found with respect to the new obligations is significantly lower. 

For more information on how FINTRAC will enforce the changes see FINTRAC’s Notice on the assessment of new regulatory obligations.

Note that FINTRAC’s large virtual currency report has not yet been published on FINTRAC’s website. CREA will update its template office manual to include a link to the report once it becomes available. REALTORS® wishing to report large virtual currency transactions in the interim should consult FINTRAC’s Notice on the assessment of new regulatory obligations when deciding how to proceed.

If you have any questions please contact Dil Puar, Director, Government Relations (dpuar@crea.ca), or Simon Parham, Legal Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer (sparham@crea.ca). 

Launching Today: OREA’s 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Report




We are pleased to share with you OREA’s 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Report. Launching today, our annual Report has 300+ data points on real estate consumers you will not find anywhere else and it is available exclusively to OREA Members and Board Leaders on our website.

What you will find in the Report:
  

  • insights into buyer and seller intentions
  • what they are looking for in a home
  • where they want to live
  • what they want from their REALTOR®
  • how the COVID-19 pandemic has – or has not – affected their buying and selling plans  

For next few weeks, we will be promoting the Report on our social media channels. We hope you will join us in spreading the word about the valuable information Members can find in the Report.

To see OREA’s news release announcing the launch of the Report, click here

Government Announces Changes to the Qualifying Rates for Mortgages

Today the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it will move forward with a proposed new qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages, reinforcing the mortgage underwriting principles outlined in Guideline B-20. As of June 1, 2021, the qualifying rate for all uninsured mortgages should be the greater of the mortgage contractual rate plus 2%, or 5.25%. The change raises the minimum qualifying rate by 46 basis points from the current 4.79%.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, then announced the federal government will align with OSFI by establishing a new minimum qualifying rate at the same level for insured mortgages.

As the Canadian economy continues its shift into recovery following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional economic and fiscal prudence on the part of government agencies is not unexpected.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) participated in the consultation and argued for a regionalized approach prior to implementation of this new qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages. The government’s response can be found in the annex from OSFI.

Both OFSI and Minister Freeland have indicated they will review the impact of the changes before the end of the year and adjust as necessary. CREA will independently monitor impacts in the resale housing market and continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS® and their clients.

CREA is, however, glad to see an acknowledgement by the federal government that they need and are willing to work with provinces, territories, and municipalities to address the growing imbalance between supply and demand. REALTORS® have advocated for a supply-first approach in recent years, and the federal government has taken note.


When delivering their opening statement discussing the latest issue of the Bank of Canada’s Financial System Review, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, reminded Canadians that “interest rates are unusually low” and that “borrowers and lenders both have roles in ensuring that households can still afford to service their debt at higher rates.”

REALTOR.ca DDF® Partners with Microsoft Bing

The Canadian Real Estate Association is excited to announce Microsoft has selected REALTOR.ca DDF® to be the trusted source of Canadian real estate listing data for their launch of a new Microsoft Bing search experience– a first for Canada.

Microsoft Bing’s new search experience will display REALTOR® listings in search results for relevant real estate searches on an easy-to-use map interface. All listing summaries displayed on the map link directly back to REALTOR.ca.  

REALTOR.ca DDF® makes it quick and easy for REALTORS®, who opt into the service, to distribute their listings to major brands, saving them more time to connect with clients. With this new partnership, Microsoft Bing joins a growing list of high-profile partners including TD Bank, Scotiabank, The Globe and Mail, and Kijiji to ensure REALTOR® listings get the highest market exposure. 

Why Bing?

  • One billion searches start on Bing every month.
  • Available in 105 languages and 238 countries.
  • Ensures the REALTOR® and REALTOR.ca are central to any search for real estate online.

Broker owners can review and update their preferences anytime by visiting REALTOR.ca DDF®.

Contact our Member Experience Centre at support@crea.ca with any questions. 

FINTRAC Regime Grace Period Announced

As communicated on April 23, significant changes to Canada’s FINTRAC Regime are scheduled to come into force on June 1, 2021.

However, as a result of lobbying by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), FINTRAC has issued a notice stating, from June 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, FINTRAC will focus on assessing compliance with regulatory requirements that were in effect prior to June 1, 2021. This means although REALTORS® are still required to comply with the new obligations, and should make good faith efforts to do so, the likelihood of an administrative monetary penalty being levied if a deficiency is found with respect to the new obligations is significantly lower. 

The notice provides additional flexibility with respect to reporting large virtual currency transactions, which is one of the new obligations commencing on June 1, 2021. REALTORS® who are unable to meet this reporting obligation on June 1, 2021 should:

  • Keep records of the reportable transactions as of June 1, 2021.
  • Complete the implementation of their brokerage large virtual currency transactions reporting systems as soon as possible and no later than December 1, 2021.
  • Submit all the unreported large virtual currency transactions for the period of June 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021, as soon as possible and no later than March 31, 2022.

CREA continues to wait on final FINTRAC feedback to allow us to finalize the materials. As previously communicated, CREA has posted draft versions of its updated materials on REALTOR Link®. The materials are based on the best available information. CREA will post a final sector-specific version of all resources on REALTOR Link® and host a webinar (open to all REALTORS®) explaining the changes, after FINTRAC publishes all relevant guidance and CREA receives FINTRAC’s feedback. 

If you have any questions please contact Dil Puar, Director, Government Relations (dpuar@crea.ca), or Simon Parham, Legal Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer (sparham@crea.ca).