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Letter: ‘Moronic’ cooling-off plan could actually heat up Burnaby’s housing market

Are there too many loopholes in the plan?
House for sale
House sale West Vancouver.


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

According to the article, “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.”

As we’ve 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 just pitching all sorts of offers on properties and then retracting them and only choosing one. That 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 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Phil Moore recommended the government do:

  • 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

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

E. Williamson, Burnaby