In the beginning of November, the BC NDP government announced their plans to introduce a “cooling off period” in real estate transactions pertaining to resale market starting in spring 2022. Just to clarify, “resale” market is homes that have been previously owned as opposed to pre-sales or pre-construction which are brand new homes or just a “promise” of a home in a few years.
The title of the news release is: “BC working to strengthen protection for home buyers”. As the title suggests, the legislation is aiming to protect home buyers from risk taken during a home buying process. It’s specifically aimed at risk assumed during multiple offer situations when a buyer faces limited time to make a decision if they will purchase a home or not. It often makes the buyer feel like they were rushed or pushed into the purchase without enough time allowed for the due diligence process.
Every transaction in real estate is driven by emotions and when you are in a very strong sellers market it can be very frustrating to be a buyer. Some buyers may feel the market is not fair towards them because a lot of their offers get rejected.
When your offer finally gets accepted, some buyers may feel buyer remorse. The proposed legislation would allow the buyer to simply walk away from the deal as it would give the buyer 7 days to rescind their offer.
In theory this seems like a good idea but in practice this may be much more complicated. I would like to explain some of the issues this legislation may cause.
Under the current model, once the offer is accepted and deposit received, all parties are bound to the contract.
The hot sellers market we’ve been having is pushing a lot of desperate buyers to write subject free offers in order to secure a property. This can be seen as a risky move because it leaves very little time for due diligence, financing and inspection.
From the seller’s perspective, a subject free offer is seen as a guaranteed sale. When receiving multiple offers the seller needs to determine who is a serious buyer and who is not.
The unintended consequences by this legislation could be potentially causing the following issues:
1. Buyers may end up writing offers much higher than the list price just to get an accepted offer. Then use the 7 day cool-off period to get financing and if that fails they could decide to walk away from the deal.
2. Buyers may decide to write offers on more than one property at a time knowing they will be able to get out of any transaction. Frustrated buyers may decide to write on 5 different properties for example in the hopes of getting one accepted. What will happen when all 5 get accepted? The buyer will have to walk away from 4 and leaving the sellers with collapsed deals.
3. Serious buyers will have a harder time differentiating their offers. Often sellers accept an offer that may not have the highest price but since it has no subjects it’s more appealing because it’s viewed as a guaranteed sale. With this legislation every offer could be a subject free offer and it will be much more difficult for a seller to pick an offer that will actually follow through with the purchase.
4. In order for buyers to make their offer more appealing, some may decide to include more personal information. Some buyers do this already and disclose information such as bank statements, T4 slips, preapproval letters from banks, personalized letters with photos; all that just to make their offer stand out from the others. I see this as a potential threat of identity theft!
5. This legislation will create more uncertainty for sellers. Knowing that even after price negotiations, inspection and all due diligence the buyer can still walk away, it will be a big problem if the seller needs to make another purchase.
For example: The home you’re selling gets 2 offers. You accepted the subject free offer because the buyers seemed to be more serious. Now you are ready to write offers on your own purchase. Your offer on the new home gets accepted. Congratulations! Oh, not so fast! The buyer on your home just rescinded the offer they wrote on your home. Now your listing is back on the market and hopefully you have a backup offer. Let’s say the backup offer after a week also falls apart because the second couple decided to write on more properties and your home was not their first choice!
You might end up owning 2 homes for some period of time. This means you’ll need bridge financing. Extra stress, extra costs, extra headaches.
In my humble opinion this legislation will not protect buyers but will cause higher prices and more frustrations for buyers. I hope the government will change their stance on this.
Contrary to the popular belief; when you have a competent agent that will guide you through every step, most of the time there’s plenty of time to do all of the due diligence you need, BEFORE you write an offer.
Ask me how.
Here are some interesting numbers for you to digest:
According to Statscan website Canada welcomed 184,624 immigrants in 2020, down by almost half from 2019 and the lowest in any year since 1998. The pre-pandemic target for immigration set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada was 341,000.
According to a 2020 survey conducted by Canadian Real Estate Association, 66% of international buyers in were recent immigrants or temporary visa holders. If 66% of all immigrants bought real estate, this translates to at least over 120,000 units.
According to a May report from Scotiabank, Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents than any G7 country, and "the number of housing units per 1,000 Canadians has been falling since 2016 owing to the sharp rise in population growth." Sept 9, 2021
The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 282,070 units in June, a decrease of 1.5% from 286,296 units in May. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 1.8% in June to 251,190 units.
Canada Has Over 1.3 Million Vacant Homes, About 6 Years Of Supply
Canada has one of the highest numbers of vacant homes in the world. The OECD’s latest data shows 1.34 million homes were vacant, or about 8.7% of the country’s 15.41 million homes in total. That works out to nearly 1 in 12 homes, or 6 years of housing supply at the average construction rate from 2016 to 2019. Canada has the fifth most vacant homes of the group of advanced economies.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of any government that treats their citizens like kids. Being a buyer in a market that just simply doesn’t have enough units for sale is very frustrating to say the least. I don’t think changing rules of how real estate is purchased or sold is going to make any difference. I think leaving the market to be free is always the best choice. Immigration numbers are putting a lot of strain on the housing market and this is not sustainable. No, I’m not blaming immigration on this crisis, I’m blaming the government for poor planning.
I propose putting a freeze on immigration for a few years to let the market catch up with the demand.
Choosing a good realtor is like choosing what to buy on Amazon. Way too many choices! How do you choose an amazon purchase? Look at reviews…. Realtors also have reviews online.
Here are mine.
Are you thinking of selling your home? Call me for a free home evaluation.
Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®
Home number: 250-285-2141