Cooling plan could warm Burnaby real estate market

Editor:

I read an article in the NOW about the BC NDP’s silly “chill” period for buyers and sellers and I could easily see it heating up an already hot real estate market in Burnaby.

According to the article, “Finance Minister Selina Robinson has announced what the government calls a ‘homebuyer protection period’ giving buyers a limited time to consider their offers, get financing in order, get a home inspection or canceling a purchase… The province has not announced the length of the cooling-off period or the financial costs of withdrawing an offer.

As we have seen so many times with government policies, there are always loopholes and people always find ways to exploit the situation.

I could easily see speculators throwing all sorts of offers on properties, then retracting them and picking just one. This would end up wasting a lot of time, overheating the market and leaving out some buyers who don’t have the deepest pockets.

Instead, I like what former Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board President Phil Moore recommended the government do:

  • Commit to undertaking extensive consultation with real estate professionals and the public before announcing any intention to implement a policy
  • Ensure that each proposed policy has a problem statement, corresponding objectives, goals and measures to assess its effectiveness, making them available to the public
  • Provide public timelines for monitoring and evaluating new policies
  • Ensure that any new rules are harmonized with existing rules and other regulatory requirements
  • Consider the specific impacts of potential policies on BC’s diverse regional markets, particularly in rural, northern and remote communities
  • Ensure that a policy does not lead to an increase in the number of unrepresented buyers or sellers
  • Consider impacts of potential policies on commercial real estate
  • Consider impacts on all parties to the transaction, balancing different priorities and needs
  • Consider the market impacts of a seller versus a buyer’s market
  • Ensure measures do not negatively impact affordability
  • Consider how these policies would interact with each other if multiple measures were adopted
  • Provide adequate notice to consumers and real estate professionals. Resources, education, and enough time to adjust practices and develop new standard forms for brokerages will help drive compliance
  • Provide adequate information on the data requested from brokerages, including its uses and how it would be reported to licensees, as well as the frequency and complexity of reporting required by brokerages. This will ensure licensees understand what is expected of them, how they would benefit and how consumers would benefit

Listen to the professionals who work in the industry and stop demonizing them.

E.Williamson, Burnaby

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