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David's thoughts on anything real estate related


You may have heard on the news lately that the real estate industry is being challenged by the Competition Bureau to change some of its rules with respect to the Multiple Listings Service (MLS).Although the media makes it sound like many changes are taking place with the MLS system, this is simply not the case. Changes were made long ago in British Columbia. However, some provinces are playing 'catch-up' to our existing rules.

Nothing of significance has changed in BC. People who are not members of a Real Estate Board (i.e. "the general public") continue to be able to post their home for sale on the MLS system by going through a brokerage that belongs to a Real Estate Board.Low cost, "posting only" services have always served, and will continue to serve, BC clients. Such companies come and go.A few of them are popping up again now and are trying their best to leverage the attention the media has garnered through this topic.

The Real estate industry has always been a highly competitive industry.Over 10,000 agents in Metro Vancouver compete to market homes for their sellers and to sell the perfect homes to their buyers.At the same time, agents co-operate professionally on a regular basis to successfully bring parties together in negotiations and sell real estate.This tug-of-war between co-operation and competition can sometimes create opportunities for anti-competitive activities.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has for many years had rules that all agents in the business are obliged to follow, or else face severe consequences, much like any professional organization:

1) Competing REALTORS® are not allowed to get together and agree to "fix commissions" (i.e. agents cannot collude to set a "standard commission")

2) Similarly, brokers and REALTORS® should also not refuse to deal with or boycott a discount broker because of that broker's low pricing or commission policy. (i.e. agents cannot discriminate)

3) REALTORS® must follow strict rules around advertising. For example, if the literal wording of the ad is accurate although the overall impression created by the ad is misleading a realtor will be disciplined by the Real Estate Council. (i.e. agents can't mislead)

These rules make sense and allow agents to work together in the best interest of their existing clients, but at the same time compete with one another for new clients.

"In order to comply with the Competition Act,real estate agents must follow three basic rules:

1) Don't Collude, 2) Don't Discriminate, 3) Don't Mislead"

Having competed in several Ironman triathlons over the years, and worked as a residential property developer for most of my career, competition is nothing new to me.Not only is racing a triathlon in itself competitive, but also there are thousands of companies competing to sell you products that promise to make you faster and perform better.

One thing that I have learned, both as a real estate agent and a triathlete, is that nothing beats integrity, (being true to yourself and others), hard work, and consistency.

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I just sold a beautifully renovated home in West Vancouver. The home sold for close to asking price after the seller had reduced the price several times from $3,200,000 to $2,600,000.

In all my years as a developer and real estate agent, I have never seen a home of such beauty. Every detail in this home was looked after and the renovation left nothing untouched from the structure to the interior. It was difficult to find imperfections with this home. The tile work, fixtures and finishes all screamed, "luxury".
 
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Greater Vancouver home sales have remained steady over the past four months, indicating stability in the residential housing market. With the MLS® sales to active listing inventory ratio indicating a buyers' market, properties appropriately priced are selling.

According to the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI), the benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 4.6% to $579,349 in October 2010 from $553,702 in October 2009. Since June, however, residential home prices in Greater Vancouver have remained relatively unchanged, declining 0.2 %.

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I love technology and gadgets. After I figured that I had waited long enough, I bought my wife and I matching Google Android Smart Phones - the Samsung Galaxy S. Although we had to get a land line because we couldn't get a signal in our home with the new carrier, the biggest drawback has been that they are continually 'freezing.' It has gotten to the point where it freezes at least five times a day. A new operating system may fix this, and is due to come out in November.

On the plus side, anyone with a smart phone can use my mobile home search app to find listings when walking a neighbourhood.

Click here to try the mobile search app

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Greater Vancouver home sales have remained steady over the past four months, indicating stability in the residential housing market. With the MLS® sales to active listing inventory ratio indicating a buyers’ market, properties appropriately priced are selling.

According to the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI), the benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 4.6 per cent to $579,349 in October 2010 from $553,702 in October 2009. Since June, however, residential home prices in Greater Vancouver have remained relatively unchanged, declining 0.2 per cent.

“We’ve seen a lot more consistency and less volatility in recent months when it comes to both number of sales and pricing, although it’s important to remember that conditions often vary between communities and neighbourhoods,” Jake Moldowan, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said.

Looking at transactions, the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,337 in October 2010. This represents a 5.3 per cent increase compared to September 2010 and a 36.9 per cent decline from the 3,704 sales in October 2009.

More broadly, last month’s residential sales represent a 71.3 per cent increase over the 1,364 residential sales in October 2008, a 22.8 per cent decline compared to October 2007’s 3,028 sales, and a 14.1 per cent decline compared to the 2,722 sales in October 2006.

“As we enter the final two months of the year, buyer demand is in closer alignment with supply than we’ve seen for most of 2010,” Moldowan said. “Those buying today recognize that they still have a chance to enter the market with near-record low interest rates, while gradual reductions in inventory have eased downward pressure on prices.”

Total active listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver currently sit at 14,075, an 8.6 per cent decline from last month and a 16.4 per cent increase from October 2009. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 25.7 per cent to 3,698 in October 2010 compared to October 2009 when 4,977 new units were listed.

Sales of detached properties in October 2010 reached 976, a decrease of 34.4 per cent from the 1,487 detached sales recorded in October 2009, and a 98 per cent increase from the 493 units sold in October 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 6.3 per cent from October 2009 to $796,883.

Sales of apartment properties reached 984 in October 2010, a decline of 38.8 per cent compared to the 1,607 sales in October 2009, and an increase of 52.1 per cent compared to the 647 sales in October 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.4 per cent from October 2009 to $390,074.

Attached property sales in October 2010 totalled 377, a decline of 38.2 per cent compared to the 610 sales in October 2009, and a 68.3 per cent increase from the 224 attached properties sold in October 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4 per cent between October 2009 and 2010 to $487,530.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.