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Letter: ‘Asinine’ cooling-off period will flood Burnaby real estate with rampant speculation

Should the BC NDP have passed this without nailing down the details of how it will work?
4.9 bucking
A house in Buckingham Heights for sale for nearly $5 million.


The B.C. government is heading down the wrong path to deal with high housing prices.

The NOW had a recent article about the so-called cooling-off period for buyers: “Finance Minister Selina Robinson announced what the government is calling a ‘home-buyer protection period’ allowing buyers a limited amount of time to consider their offers, get financing in order, obtain a home inspection or cancel a purchase … The province has not announced how long the cooling-off period will be, or what the financial costs of retracting an offer would be.”

And then when this new plan was rammed through by the government, it left more questions than answers because there are very few details about exactly how this will be implemented.

But just on the surface of what was announced, I can see speculators having a field day with this asinine idea. If there is no significant penalty for backing out of a deal, then you’ll see these professional speculators just making bids on all sorts of houses and then backing out of all the ones they don’t like.

All of these increased competition will only drive up the price of housing. I see that they are trying to help inexperienced buyers, but there seems to be very little protection from the pros who know how to exploit loopholes.

The article also detailed what the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver recommended the government and the following ideas make sense:

  • Commit to undertaking fulsome consultation with real estate professionals and the public prior to announcements of any intention to implement policy 
  • Ensure each proposed policy has a corresponding problem statement, objectives, goals and metrics to evaluate its effectiveness, making those available to the public 
  • Provide public timeframes 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 B.C.'s diverse regional markets, especially in rural, northern and remote communities
  • Ensure that a policy does not lead to an increase in unrepresented buyers or sellers
  • Consider the impacts of potential policies on commercial real estate 
  • Consider the impacts to all parties in the transaction, balancing differing priorities and needs
  • Consider the impacts on a seller's market compared to a buyer's market
  • Ensure that measures don't negatively impact affordability
  • Consider how these policies would interact with each other if multiple measures were adopted 
  • Provide adequate notice for consumers and real estate professionals. Resources, education and adequate time to adjust practices and develop new standard forms for brokerages will help with compliance 
  • Provide adequate information about data requested from brokerages, including its uses and how it would be reported to licensees, as well as the frequency and complexity of the reporting required by brokerages. This will ensure licensees understand what is expected of them, how they would benefit and how consumers would benefit

Don Anders, Burnaby

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