Temporary Rental market changes re: COVID-19

The economic fallout from COVID-19 has put massive financial pressures on those in the rental market. On March 26, 2020, the BC provincial government announced its response to COVID-19 for landlords and tenants. These changes include:

Rental supplements for tenants whose employment or income has been disrupted by the crisis of up to $500 per month, which would be paid directly to their landlords. This is in addition to other income assistance programs being provided by the various levels of government.

Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end a tenancy, except in very limited circumstances. New notices to end tenancies may not be issued for unpaid rent or owner use of the rental unit. Notices may only be issues in exceptional circumstances that generally relate to health and safety. Existing orders and writs for possession issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch are also halted, except in the same exception circumstances related to health and safety.

Freezing annual rent increases that were set to begin as of April 1, 2020, and moving forward.

Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.

Restricting methods for serving notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. For example, landlords may limit the number of people in laundry rooms or close gyms, etc.

The government has made it clear that tenants are still liable to pay rent and should do so to the extent they can. Tenants that do not pay rent or reach an agreement with their landlords will be able to avoid eviction for now. However, tenants that want to avoid eviction or judgements against them after this crisis passes should apply for government assistance and reach an agreement with their landlords.

No specific economic assistance was offered for landlords aside from the Premier’s request to lenders that mortgage payments be deferred. However, many in the industry have pointed out that even a deferred payment will be subject to compound interest.

These changes are very recent, and more details are still being released. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to seek legal advice on their current situation and how these changes may affect them.


Local Residential Market Continues Climb Ahead Of Spring Bloom

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 435 in
February, up from January’s 375 sales and 6% more than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real
Estate Board (OMREB).

New listings, which totaled 939, increased 24% compared to last month while overall active listings increased almost
7% over January’s inventory of 2,806.

“The residential market continues to recover from the slow start experienced last year,” says OMREB President Michael Loewen, adding that “it will be interesting to see if factors such as recent interest rate changes, uncertainties of the U.S. elections and the impact of the coronavirus on the economy will have much effect on the local market, if at all.”

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Good News, Bad News

Several banks follow Bank of Canada, cut interest rates amid coronavirus concerns – National |

I wanted to share a story with you from The Province:

‘Blindsided’: B.C. condo residents fearful, as extent of insurance crisis remains unclear

The manager of one well-maintained Kelowna complex says homeowners are facing increases of more than 400 per cent for both insurance premiums and water-damage deductibles

I wanted to share a story with you from Financial Post:

Stress test tinkering comes amid falling mortgage rates and surge in private lending. Canada’s stress test is no stranger to controversy; here’s why Ottawa is changing it now

7 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home at The Same Time

Learn how to do it all at once by adding these seven steps to your checklist.

By Catherine Musgrove Jan 7, 2020

Buying or selling a home can be daunting, even in the best circumstances. Combining them can mean stress overload unless you are prepared and have a plan B for when things go awry. Here are some tips to consider when buying and selling your home at the same time.

1. Assess Your Situation

Everyone loves it when the planets align, but how often does that happen? If you don’t plan, then plan to fail.

To prepare for the process of buying and selling your home at the same time, know current real estate trends. The best place to start is with a reputable, experienced Real Estate Agent. This person knows the market situation in your area and in the new area you are considering. An agent will also know if it is a buyer’s or a seller’s market. This is important so you have a sense of how quickly homes are moving and for how much. This, in turn, will help you with your timeline, your listing price, and how much you can afford.

Make sure to choose the same agent for the buying and selling process. Having an agent who understands your situation on both ends will be invaluable. The only times this shouldn’t be the case is if you are moving out of province or if the agent is also working with the seller of your new home.

2. Prep Your Existing Home

If you are actively looking for a home to buy, make sure your existing home has been prepped and ready to be put on the market. Start by hiring a home inspector. This is well worth the cost upfront. He or she will tell you what needs to be fixed in your home before selling, ensuring there is no delay in the final hours.

Consider staging your home. Remember, this is not your home anymore. Releasing your home of its clutter will go a long way in having a potential buyer envisage living in the space. It is time and money well spent.

3. Consider Having a Cushion in the Price

When setting the price of your home, consider what you want to spend on your new home and weigh this against the market value. Make sure to leave a cushion when considering your new home budget. For example, if your home is assessed at $900,000 and your new home is $850,000, then you know your bottom-line is $850,000. If the market is slow and you don’t get your $850,000, then you know you will be looking at a new home for less. Have a buffer and manage your expectations. Having a professional agent will help.

4. Pre-Approved Mortgage

Knowing what you can afford is crucial. Often, buyers will be upgrading to a bigger home and think because they have a current mortgage, have a down payment, or are making more income they can upgrade. This is not always the case. Make sure you know your limit. By having a Pre-Approved Mortgage, you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment after you find your dream home.

5. Back-Up Plan

Just in case those planets don’t align on schedule, make sure you have a Plan B. It is rare if the new home closes at the same time as your existing home. A little off in either direction and you could be paying dual mortgages or be homeless.

Make sure you have an emergency fund for such a situation. You may find you are in a hotel for a week or two. You may want to consider short term rental options. Consulting with friends and family may also give you some arrangements until your new place closes.

Another option is a Rent-Back Agreement. This provision would have you renting your home back from the buyer (now the owner) from the time of closing until you are ready to move. The buyer does not have to agree to this, and their agreement to this scenario will likely be determined by their own buying and selling situation. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. Have a back-up for this back-up!

6. Contract Contingency and Bridge Loans

Another key is knowing if you need to sell your current home to have the down payment for your new home. If you do, you need to consider a contract contingency when purchasing or apply for a bridge loan.

Contract Contingency or Conditional Sale means the purchase of the new home will depend on the sale of your existing home. This can be dangerous in a seller’s market and could cost you your dream home if you are not careful. If the market is competitive, the seller may not want to decrease their chances of selling by waiting for you to sell your home. You will need to convince the seller you are in a desirable market, priced right, and your house will sell quickly. If there has been no movement on their property and it has been on the market for a while, then this might be a desirable option for everyone involved.

Bridge Loans might be a great alternative. These loans allow you to own two homes at the same time if you don’t have the money for a second down payment. Make sure you’ve evaluated your options before you make a decision.

7. Selecting a Closing Date and Time

If strategically chosen, the time and date of your closing can make buying and selling at the same time seamless. Banks can take up to two to three days to transfer funds, and those transfers are usually done before 3 p.m. Tip: Do not schedule your closing on a Friday and always choose the morning hours. Having this buffer in your schedule will help close the deal on schedule and as planned.

Now you have your plan, and you are ready to sell your home and buy a new one at the same time. It won’t be without its curveballs, but the process will be a lot smoother and successful with your checklist complete.

Happy home selling and buying!

5 ways to tell if your home suffers from poor insulation

Photo: James Bombales

Home insulation may not sound as exciting as buying a new sectional for your living room or re-doing your kitchen backsplash, but it’s just as important when it comes to making your home feel comfortable. In addition to keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, insulation can help lower your energy bills and maintain your home’s value.

“Without proper insulation, the air from inside your home can escape, making your HVAC system work harder, resulting in both increased energy usage and costs,” Vahid Azari, registered home inspector and owner of All Season Inspection Inc., tells Livabl. “I’ve inspected thousands of homes and have found that most homeowners automatically presume that temperature issues are due to a problem with the furnace. They never even consider the state of their insulation.”

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High-end Sales Gives Residential Real Estate Market A Push

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 527 in November, down from October’s 625 units sold yet up 14% compared November 2018 sales, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

The average residential price in November rose 13% over October’s average price coming in at $586,159 and surpassed last year November’s average by 12%. A closer look shows single-family and townhome average prices both up 9% from last month’s, whereas the average for condominiums jumped up 25%, coming in at $388,365. All three home categories saw a swell in average prices compared to this time last year.

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After Strong Recovery, Residential Real Estate Market Flattening Out Ahead of Winter

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 625 in October, down from September’s 652 sales and just 2% fewer compared to the 639 units sold in October 2018, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

New listings dropped below last month’s 1,046 by 10.5% resting at 936 new units listed this month. The supply of homes for sale, or overall active listings, also dropped slightly coming in at 3,650 over last month’s inventory of 4,150; down 3.5% from this time last year.

“With the holiday season approaching it’s not unusual for consumers to have other financial priorities on their mind, perhaps putting home purchases on the backburner until the new year,” says OMREB President Michael Loewen, adding that “typically, we see less market activity as we head into the colder months as those that are not in a rush to move prefer to do so when weather conditions are more agreeable.”

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‘We are not an island,’ Poloz cautions, as BoC maintains lonely stand against rate cut

The Bank of Canada might have have cut interest rates this week if it was confident we wouldn’t go on another debt binge.

But it wasn’t, so it left the benchmark rate at 1.75 per cent even as it cut its outlook for economic growth in 2020, predicting the trade wars will cause exports and business investment to temporarily contract in the near term.

“Governing Council considered whether the downside risks to the Canadian economy were sufficient at this time to warrant a more accommodative monetary policy as a form of insurance against those risks, and we concluded that the were not,” Stephen Poloz, the governor, said in prepared remarks ahead of his quarterly press conference in Ottawa on Oct. 30.

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Local Residential Real Estate Market Staying The Course For Autumn

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 652 in September, down from August’s 725 sales, yet 11% higher than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

On par with markets across the province, new listings took a slight dip from last month’s 1,246 with only 1,046 new inventory reported this month. The supply of homes for sale, or overall active listings, remains at a healthy 4,150; barely less than this time last year.

“The local real estate market is following typical seasonal changes, suggesting normal market conditions are very much in play despite the downturn earlier this year,” says OMREB President Michael Loewen.

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Bank of Canada reveals latest interest rate decision

by Theophilos Argitis

The Bank of Canada resisted pressure from investors by declining to signal it will soon follow global peers in easing monetary policy.

At a decision Wednesday, policy makers left interest rates unchanged for a seventh straight meeting and said stronger than expected growth, as well as inflation on target, means current levels of stimulus are where they should be. That’s despite the escalating trade war between China and the U.S. undermining global economic momentum.