Wednesday, September 13, 2017

British Columbia Is Considering Banning Dual Agency

  Given the frenzied real estate market that existed across much of Canada earlier this year, we have experienced market conditions and situations unlike any I have seen in the 16 years I have been a REALTOR®.  Unfortunately, this is brought out or at least served to highlight the unscrupulous activities of some REALTORS® with both Ontario and British Columbia looking to tighten the rules with respect to how REALTORS® represent clients.

  Most consumers are probably not familiar with the term dual agency.  Dual agency, multiple representation or "double ending" as it is commonly referred to is when a REALTOR®
 lists and sells the same property.  In this instance, both the buyer and the seller are being represented by the same person.  This may mean the REALTOR® earns double the commission or at least more than they would if the property was sold by someone else.  It's not hard to see where the ability to earn more money can lead to some questionable actions by a REALTOR® whose interests may be more in themselves versus their clients.

  Let's back up for a minute.  First, REALTORS® are not agents, it is the real estate brokerage that we work for that is the "agent."  As such it is the brokerage that is representing the buyer and the seller and not just the REALTOR®. 

Example 1:  If I both list and sell a property representing the seller and buyer, then the brokerage is in a dual agency or multiple representation situation as the brokerage is representing both the seller and buyer.

Example 2:  If I list a property and one of my Royal LePAGE Locations North colleagues sells the property, the brokerage is once again  in a dual agency or multiple representation situation as the brokerage is representing both the seller and buyer.

Example 3:  If another brokerage say ReMax or Century 21 has a listing and I along with one of my Royal LePAGE Locations North colleagues both have offers on that same property, once again the brokerage is again in a dual agency or multiple representation situation as the brokerage is representing more than one buyer for the same property.

  With examples 2 and 3 the distinction between who is representing the seller and the buyer is fairly clear in that two or more different REALTORS® are representing their respective parties.  It's example 1 where one person is working with and representing both the seller and the buyer.  In those instances you must walk a very straight line in order to serve both parties without any compromise or prejudice.  It shouldn't be but for some REALTORS® that appears to be difficult hence the apparent need for government intervention.

  In the legal provision, individual lawyers are not allowed to represent two clients ie: in the case of real estate seller and buyer in the same transaction.  The seller or buyer must be handed off to another lawyer in their firm.  We have implemented a somewhat similar policy at Royal LePAGE Locations North.  If one of our REALTORS® has a property listed for sale and they have their own buyer but there are other offers on the property as well, they must turn that buyer over to another REALTOR with the brokerage.   Further, typically either myself or our broker/owner will sit in on the process to make sure everyone is treated fairly and honestly.  Earlier this year I oversaw the sale of a small condo in Collingwood we had listed for sale that had 17 offers.  Obviously there were 16 buyers that lost out but at least their respective REALTORS® left the table knowing that everything had been dealt with fairly and more importantly honestly.

  The Ontario Real Estate Association and the Real Estate Council of Ontario are currently looking at making changes to Ontario's Real Estate and Business Broker's Act aimed at addressing some of the issues I have outlined above. While not a widespread problem, with well over 50,000 REALTORS®
 in Ontario, some are obviously more concerned with maximizing their commissions than they are the the level of integrity and service they bring to their clients.

  Stay tuned for further updates on this contentious issue.  In the meantime if you have any questions or need advice with respect to your particular real estate situation, please feel free to Contact Me without obligation.

  Foir more information on what British Columbia has planned see the following "BC proposes to ban dual agency."

Friday, September 8, 2017

  For the second month in a row we have seen a significant drop in MLS® sales activity across southern Georgian Bay reflecting the same slowdown that has impacted the market in the Greater Toronto Area and elsewhere.  The questions remains is this pause in real estate sales temporary or are we in a prolonged downturn?

  MLS® unit sales in August as reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® totalled 190 properties, a drop of 37% from August of last year when 302 sales were reported.  Year-to-date MLS® unit sales of 1,752 properties are 10% below the first eight months of 2016 but remain 9% higher than the first eight months of sales in 2015.

  As I have stated in prior posts, one the factors impacting sales in our area is the lack of available properties listed for sale. Unlike in other markets where recent months have seen the number of MLS® listings coming to market ramping up as sellers look to take advantage of strong market conditions, we have not experienced the same phenomena here in our local market.  New MLS® listings through the end of August are down 12% from the same time last year.  I myself have several buyers looking in the $500,000 to $2,000,000 range and the selection of available properties is slim.  As the saying goes " can't sell from an empty wagon."

  Despite the reduced number of MLS® sales year-to-date, MLS® dollar volume has to this point remained ahead of 2016 fuelled by strong sales activity for homes priced upwards of $1 million and higher.  Year-to-date MLS® dollars sales for the area totals $796.3 million.  This is an increase of 11% from one year ago despite the fact that MLS® unit sales are down 10%.  In reviewing sales in various price ranges, we clearly see that MLS® dollar volume is being driven by an exceptionally strong demand for higher end properties.  The sale of properties priced between $500,000 and $999,999 are up 37% year-to-date with 417 sales this year compared to 304 last year.  More significantly, sales over $1 million are more than double those of last year with 91 sales reported through the end of August compared to 44 sales in this price range last year.

  The Blue Mountains is the only area municipality that is showing an increase in MLS® single family home sales year-to-date.  Through the end of August, 149 home sales have been reported, up a modest 9 sales or 6% from last year/  All other area municipalities have seen decreases in single family homes this year of 20% and greater.  MLS® single family home unit sales around the area are as follows: Grey HIghlands -4%, Collingwood -17%, Municipality of Meaford - 20%, Wasaga Beach -22% and lastly Clearview Township sales are down 25%.

  Overall, MLS® single family home sales total 1,091 properties to the end of August, down 192 units or almost 18% from last year.  MLS® condominium sales of 352 units reflects a 6% decrease from one year ago.  Conversely, we have seen a very strong demand for vacant land sales in 2017, year-to-date there have been 250 MLS® sales of vacant lots and acreages compared to just 169 last year, an increase of 48%.

  In 2016, MLS® dollar volume in our market exceeded $1 billion dollars which was the first time ever for us to exceed this level of sales  Through most of this year we seemed destined to reach the same dollar threshold of sales as in 2016 but following the back to back decreases in July and August I am not so sure.  As we head into the final four months of 2017, a 25% reduction in total sales from September to December will result in us falling short of $1 billion in sales for the year. Given the weak results we have seen over the past two months, I suspect we may well fall short of the record sales achieved in 2016.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


My Profile