In March 2020, REALTORS® across Canada were forced to pivot their businesses and adapt to a virtual-first environment, prioritizing clients’ needs through evolving health and safety guidelines and tight market conditions.
While we can expect 2021 to be another challenging year, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) continues to support your success with leading industry tools and resources to help you provide the best service to your clients.
Broadly speaking the State of Emergency does not have a significant impact on real estate. Real estate continues to be an essential service, members are permitted to continue to transact business and open houses remain prohibited.
With that in mind, the State of Emergency does impact real estate in two ways:
Short-term rentals for recreational purposes are effectively closed as of January 12th, 2021. If a booking was made prior to January 12th it is permitted to go forward.
Renovations started before January 12th will be permitted to continue but those that have not started are not permitted to start. The government has not indicated when the new measures will be lifted.
More importantly, the new restrictions are indicative of the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, government projections are predicting things to get much worse.
So far, I’ve been incredibly proud of the commitment our profession has shown to following guidance from OREA and public health officials. That commitment is THE reason why you can continue to serve your clients in the midst of the pandemic.
But I am concerned.
As President, I have heard reports of some Members not following the advice of public health on things like showings and in-person business. This kind of selfish and unprofessional conduct has to stop. Real estate is an essential service to the people of Ontario, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that business is done safely. So, I want to take this opportunity to restate government rules and OREA’s key guidance for Members aimed at keeping you and your clients safe:
Masks must be worn at all times. The additional requirement announced today mandates that masks must be worn outside in public spaces when social distancing is not possible.
Open houses are banned. Full stop. No exceptions anywhere in the Province until the lockdown is lifted.
Members should use virtual tools first and to the greatest extent possible to conduct all business. ·
Urgently needed in-person showings are permitted but MUST be scheduled in advance. Members should limit the number people in the home to one group of two people (plus the buyer’s sales representative) to allow for physical distancing. Also, PPE should be worn at all times, surfaces & hands should be cleaned and sanitized before and after the showing, and Members should take steps to space out appointments and manage the flow of people inside and outside the home. Read more about OREA’s safe showing practices here.
As an essential service, real estate offices and Brokerages may remain open however the Government has stated that all employees who can work from home should do so immediately. OREA strongly encourages Board and Brokerage offices to close unless it is absolutely necessary to be open. COVID-19 screening guidance for workplaces including Brokerages and Real Estate Board offices can be found here; and
OREA is working to confirm the impact of the new measures on ancillary services (i.e., staging, photography etc.) and will communicate that to Members as soon as possible.
I know these measures are difficult and we all have had to make sacrifices. But this pandemic will end, and life will return to normal.
Until then, let’s continue to put the health and safety of our clients and communities first.
Thank you for rising to this important challenge.
Join us for PART 2 of the 2021 Forms & Clause Annual Update, Answering Member Questions Webinar. This Webinar is a comprehensive overview of the changes that have taken place to OREA Standard Forms and Clauses for 2021 AND provides answers to a host of Member Forms Questions. Don’t get caught off guard filling out a Form on your next listing or sale!
The Webinar topics will cover:
New OREA Forms & Clauses for 2021
Revised OREA Forms & Clauses for 2021
Navigation of OREA Forms Resources to enhancement Member Forms knowledge
Helping Members to prepare to use OREA Forms and not being caught off guard
Answering frequent Member Form & Clause questions
All 2021 Forms and Clauses and Annual Summary of Revisions file have been available since December 1, 2020, via orea.com. We encourage Members to review the Summary of Revisions file and their frequently used OREA Forms.
Cassandra Agnew Walker, OREA’s Head of Standard Forms, will facilitate this Webinar. Lou Radomsky, OREA Forms Legal Counsel, and Hugh Foy, Past President of the Brantford Real Estate Board, and Past President of OREA will join her.
This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario would be placed into a COVID-19 Province-wide Shutdown.
The Shutdown will start Boxing Day at 12:01 a.m. and be in place for all of Ontario from December 26th, 2020 to January 9th, 2021. The restrictions will remain in place for all 27 Southern Ontario public health regions from January 9th, 2021 to January 23rd, 2021.
The Shutdown has been put in place to help save lives and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
This is a serious measure being taken to protect our fellow citizens and REALTORS® have to do our part to help stop the spread of the virus.
What Does It Mean for Real Estate?
Real estate continues to be listed as an “essential service” by the Province. That means that real estate businesses and board offices can continue to operate while the Province is in Shutdown and real estate transactions can continue to close.
But let’s be clear.
It is NOT business as usual. If we are going to avoid the worst-case scenario with the spread of the pandemic everyone has to do their part.
During this Shutdown, Members should only conduct essential business and avoid face-to-face interactions with customers and clients unless it is absolutely necessary.
Instead, Members should work remotely and use technology like virtual showings, electronic signatures and virtual meetings to the greatest extent possible.
While real estate is deemed essential, there are restrictions that all Members, brokerage offices and real estate boards have to follow, including:
Open houses are banned (including pre-construction) – in the whole province for two weeks and in Southern Ontario for four weeks. Scheduled in-person showings are permitted but should be used very sparingly and only in urgent situations. Please review OREA’s guidance on safe in-person showings for more information.
Workplaces must screen any workers or essential visitors entering the work environment. See the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces for more information.
While indoors at a real estate brokerage or board office, all people MUST wear personal protective equipment that provides protection of the eyes, nose and mouth. PPE is required if a worker is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering and is not separated by a plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. See OREA’s guidance for brokerage and board offices here.
All brokerage and board offices must limit capacity so that every member of the public is able to maintain two metres of physical distance from every other person and limit the people occupying any room that is open to the public to 50% capacity of that room; and,
Short-term rentals (e.g., cottages, cabins) can only to be provided to individuals who are in need of housing.
With regards to travel during the holidays, the Province has indicated that no indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with) are permitted. Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
Outside organized events and social gatherings must comply with public health advice on physical distancing and are limited to 10 people.
The Government is urging Ontarians to stay home and avoid travelling outside of their region unless it’s for essential reasons.
Visit Ontario’s COVID-19website to learn more about how the restrictions apply to schools, business and other organizations.
New Small Business Support Grant
Ontario will offer one-time grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate the shutdown through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
Businesses are eligible if they are:
Required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the shutdown.
Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
Can be expected to experience a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline as a result of the shutdown. This will be measured by comparing April 2020 with April 2019 revenues.
Applications for funding will be launched in January. More information about the grant can be found here.
I have been so proud of the leadership you all have shown over the last nine months. Together, we have worked to keep our communities safe while offering an essential service to the people of our Province.
I know this is difficult and these measures are going to be tough for you, your family and Ontarians at large. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. A vaccine is on its way, we will beat this pandemic and life will return to normal.
Until then, thank you for your support. Stay safe and all the best to you and your family this Holiday Season.
Canadian home sales remain historically strong in November Ottawa, ON, December 15, 2020 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales continued running at historically strong levels in November 2020.
Summary: • National home sales edged back 1.6% on a month-over-month (m-o-m) basis in November. • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 32.1% year-over-year (y-o-y). • The number of newly listed properties also fell back by 1.6% from October to November. • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 1.2% m-o-m and was up 11.6% y-o-y. • The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price posted a 13.8% y-o-y gain in November. Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged back by 1.6% between October and November. Small declines in October and November notwithstanding, monthly activity is still running well above most of history.
Access the November 2020 stats PDF.
CREA Updates Resale Housing Market Forecast Ottawa, ON, December 15, 2020 – The national average price is forecast to rise by 9.1% in 2021 to $620,400. Average price trends across Canada in 2021 are generally expected to resemble those in 2020. Shortages of supply, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, are expected to result in strong price growth, while Alberta and Saskatchewan are anticipated to see average prices pick up following several years of depreciation.
Access the December 2020 forecast PDF.
For more information, please contact: Pierre Leduc Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org The Canadian Real Estate Association 200 Catherine Street, 6th Floor, Ottawa, ON K2P 2K9 Tel: +1 (613) 237-7111
I invite you to join City Councillor Jeff Bowman, City of Brampton staff and I for a wards 3 & 4 virtual town hall meeting this Thursday December 10th at 7pm. We will be discussing Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras with Traffic Services, 2021 Budget Highlights, and will be followed with a Q&A.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) will discontinue the Legacy version of WEBForms® as of December 17, 2020. Are your members ready?
There are still some individuals who use CREA WEBForms® Legacy to download or view older transactions. They will not be able to do so after the Legacy version is discontinued.
To ensure nothing is lost, we’ve been communicating with members through email, social media and online, encouraging them to migrate their transaction kits from Legacy to the new CREA WEBForms® as soon as possible.
CREA WEBForms® resources to share with your members:
We encourage you to share this message with your members. We will send a reminder notice in the coming days to ensure members download or transfer all the information they need from the Legacy version before it’s discontinued.
If you or your members have any questions, contact Member Support by phone at 1-888-237-7945 or by email at email@example.com.
Extended Member Support hours for CREA WEBForms®:
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to midnight (EST) Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST)
The Government of Ontario has implemented regulatory changes that will formally exempt REALTORS® in Ontario from having to register as travel agents under the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) to transact short-term rentals.
This regulatory burden was first brought to our attention by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® and The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® whose members were receiving compliance letters from TICO asking them to register as travel agents.
Under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (TIA), the sale of travel services, including “accommodations for travelers, tourist, or sightseers”, required the transaction of a short-term rental to be conducted through a TICO registered travel retailer.
In 2018, TICO began a registration campaign targeting REALTORS® transacting short-term rentals, forcing many OREA Members to be hit with double-registration fees and a significant piece of administrative red tape.
OREA quickly fought against TICO’s campaign and advocated that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) make the necessary regulatory changes under TIA to formally exempt REALTORS® from registering with TICO.
In 2019, TICO and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) created a short-term solution while official regulatory changes were being made. The agreement between TICO and RECO affirmed the right of REALTORS® to transact short-term rental properties and TICO agreed to stop their registration campaign.
Moving forward, OREA continued to work with former Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Bill Walker and current Minister, Lisa Thompson to formally address the issue through regulatory change.
As a result of these efforts, as of today, the regulations under TIA now formally exempt registrants trading short-term rentals from registering as travel agents.
It should be noted that the exemption only applies to registrants who are trading in short-term rentals on behalf of their brokerage. Should a registrant be trading in short-term rentals outside of their brokerage, they will not qualify for the exemption and will need to register with TICO.
This new change will save Members thousands of dollars in double registration fees and reduce their red tape burden.
Thank you to the leaders at the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® and The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® for their support on this issue.
This is an example of what a united and strong REALTOR® voice can do to protect its members from unnecessary red tape.
Matthew Thornton Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications