My two bits’ worth on housing matters

This week I’ve literally got two bits for you on our BC housing situation.


We need to take substantial actions to end the homelessness crisis.

Here’s the first bit: There’s been lots in the news lately about making housing more affordable but, I’m sad to say, very little about this news is of substance. At the end of the day, the crisis of homelessness will be addressed very little, if at all.

For those able to buy a new home, the new provincial budget announcement says we will see a small increase in the property transfer tax on luxury homes over $2 million, and a small reduction in property transfer tax for new home purchases under $750,000. But the reduction proposed by the BC Liberals will result in nothing more than a rounding error in the purchaser’s mortgage payments.

As for the second bit, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia has announced it will appoint an independent advisory group to conduct an investigation into the practice of “shadow flipping”.

for sale by owner

The questionable real estate practice of “shadow flipping” means that owners are not always aware of who the actual buyer of their property is; additionally their real estate agent may be simultaneously representing the buyer. (In some cases, the real estate agent has actually been the buyer, unbeknownst to the seller!)

Shadow flipping is where a real estate agent approaches the homeowner indicating she or he has a purchaser to buy the property. In reality, the real estate broker is using a little known “assignment clause” in the sales contract to let the property change hands one or more times. Once the homeowner agrees to sell for a price lower than what the market will actually pay, the agent resells the contract to one — or a string of new purchasers — for a hefty profit.

As IntegrityBC has quite correctly noted, this investigation should be totally free of any influence by the Real Estate Council of BC, and should be done by an independent judge instead.

In the meantime, lets keep our fingers crossed that the federal budget, just around the corner, will contain substantive measures to truly address high housing costs, especially the way bigger issue — the crisis of homelessness.

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