Canadian home sales drop in April

According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales declined in April 2017.
 Highlights:
  • National home sales fell 1.7% from March to April.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in April was down 7.5% from a year earlier.
  • The number of newly listed homes jumped 10% from March to April.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was up 19.8% year-over-year (y-o-y) in April 2017.
  • The national average sale price rose 10.4% y-o-y in April.
Home sales over Canadian MLS® Systems fell by 1.7% in April 2017 from the all-time record set in March.
Read the complete news release.

CREA News – CREA Directors wanted!

CREA is looking for candidates for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. There are four Director-at-Large positions available (three for a two-year term and one for a one-year term) and four Regional Director positions available (for British Columbia/Yukon, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic Region).

Qualifications for Directors:
1. Be a REALTOR® member
2. Have been a REALTOR® member for at least five years
3. Have a minimum of three years’ experience within the last 10 years as a director of a Canadian not-for-profit corporation or a public body
4. Otherwise not be disqualified by the Canada Not-for-Profit legislation
5. In the case of a Regional Director, be licensed in that region
6. If elected, must have completed leadership courses set out in CREA policy within one year of being elected.

The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2017. The election for Directors-at-Large will take place at CREA’s Annual General Meeting in Ottawa on Monday, March 27, 2017. Regional Director elections will take place prior to the CREA AGM.

Want more information?
Check out the video at:
http://www.realtorlink.ca/content/realtorlink/crea/en_CA/about/governance/elections.html

More information about CREA and CREA Directors:
http://rahb.ca/CREA/2017/CREARecruitmentLetter2017.pdf

Apply to be part of the future of real estate in Canada!:
http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/crea-communications/crea-director-elections-2017/?l=en

CREA prizes – it pays to complete a survey!

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Congratulations to RAHB members Norma Bond (Right At Home Realty, left)
and Jamie MacCorkindale (Right at Home Realty, right) – pictured here with
RAHB CEO George O’Neill (centre)! Norma and Jamie each won travel tech
kits for responding to CREA’s 2016 Member Survey.

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Congratulations also to Lynne Riddell (Keller Williams Edge Realty,
pictured with George O’Neill), who also won a travel tech kit for
completing CREA’s 2016 Member Survey.

REALTORS® give and raise over $91 million!

A message from Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation Chair Ralph Fyfe:

I don’t need to tell you that the REALTOR® community in Canada is a generous bunch. As you know, REALTORS® across our country raise and donate tons of money and volunteer countless hours of their time for the charities close to their hearts. The Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation is committed to sharing their stories with the hope of inspiring further good deeds.

We also think it’s important to try our best to measure the impact of REALTORS®’ generosity. To do just that, we asked REALTORS®, real estate boards, associations, franchisors and affiliated charitable foundations how much they gave and raised for charity over the past four years (2012-2015). We’re pleased to announce that the result is over $91 million, which speaks volumes about the generosity of Canadian REALTORS® and the meaningful role they play in the communities where they work and live.

Please take a moment to watch a short video we put together to celebrate the charitable achievements of Canadian REALTORS®.

CRTC enforcement: National Do Not Call List

DNCallThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) continues to actively monitor and enforce the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). The DNCL is a list of consumer telephone numbers who have chosen to reduce the number of marketing calls they receive. Subject to limited exceptions, marketers are prohibited from contacting numbers on this National list.

CREA has been informed by the CRTC it is increasing enforcement oversight of the National DNCL as it relates to the real estate sector. Members should be aware that non-compliance can result in significant financial penalties – so it is important to be sure you understand your responsibilities.

As a reminder:

  • A brokerage that conducts telemarketing must (subject to limited exemptions) purchase a subscription for the area codes it intends to call (fees will be based on the subscription model you select). It is the responsibility of the brokerage to ensure its office has access to the most up-to-date version of the National DNCL and that those numbers are removed from their calling list.
  • The brokerage must also maintain an internal do-not-call list. If a consumer asks not to be contacted, the brokerage must add their name and number to its own internal do not call list.

We urge brokerages to exercise caution when hiring a third party service provider to assist the brokerage in managing their telemarketing operations. The CRTC issued an administrative monetary penalty of $260,000 to one such provider, Telelisting, in January 2015. Telelisting obtained and disclosed contents of the National DNCL to their clients, a violation of CRTC’s Telecommunications Rules. An investigation by the CRTC could also result in monetary penalties to brokerages who were clients of Telelisting. It is important to remember that brokerages who conduct marketing and hire third party service providers still need to register with the DNCL Operator and subscribe to the National DNCL.

 

 
For more information about the DNCL and members’ obligations, consult CREA’s FAQs.

CREA eases rules for using REALTOR® certification mark

CREA has made a series of changes to the rules governing the use of the REALTOR® trademarks. The changes are intended to make using the marks easier, which should increase proper use and reduce improper use. The changes also reflect the reality of how CREA’s trademarks are used on the Internet.

To summarize:

  1. CREA’s previous rules required REALTOR® to be in all capital letters, followed by the ® registration mark. The new policy only requires that form for the first use in any publication.  In all subsequent uses, the word can be spelled with only the ‘R’ capitalized, (i.e. Realtor) and omitting the ®.
  1. Up until this point, members have been required to add the trademark statement “The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA”. The new policy allows members to choose one of five acceptable trademark ownership statements:
    1. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. Only REALTORS® are members of CREA.
    2. I’m more than a real estate agent. I’m a REALTOR®.
    3. What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?
      Visit crea.ca/why to find out.
    4. REALTOR®.  Member of The Canadian Real Estate Association and more.
    5. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
  1. CREA’s previous rules prohibited the use of modifiers with the REALTOR® The new policy allows it, provided that REALTOR® appears in all capital letters (e.g., Professional REALTOR®, Toronto REALTOR®).
  1. CREA’s previous rules prohibited REALTOR® or REALTORS® being used as part of a firm name (e.g., Smith REALTORS®). The new policy allows that use, provided the following three conditions are met.
    1. The proposed name is approved by CREA;
    2. The member enters into a license agreement with CREA before using the name;
    3. REALTOR® must appear in all capital letters whenever it is used in the name.
  1. CREA’s previous rules were silent on the use of REALTOR® or REALTORS® in a team name (e.g., REALTOR® Team Smith Jones). The new policy permits such use, subject to the same three conditions set out above.
  1. CREA’s previous rules prohibited the use of REALTOR® or REALTORS® in corporate branding. The new policy permits such use (e.g., use of REALTOR® in slogans), but the prohibition on use of REALTOR® and REALTORS® in product names will remain.
  1. CREA’s previous rules prohibited use of our marks in metatags. The new policy permits such use for both REALTOR® and MLS®.
  1. CREA’s previous policy provided that members may only use REALTOR® or REALTORS® in a domain name in association with their name or firm name. The new policy allows members to add modifiers to REALTOR® in domain names, email addresses, and social media usernames that contain their name, firm name, or team name (e.g. JohnJonesTorontoRealtor.com, JanetheProfessionalRealtor.ca, SmithTeamRealtors@gmail.com, @BigBobRealtor)

In order to implement the new usage requirements, CREA has re-written its Trademark Policy.  A copy of that policy is found in the Resources and Compliance section on CREA’s REALTOR Link® page.

~~~~~~~~~~

Did you know that the information about using CREA’s REALTOR® trademark appeared in CREA’s blog, “CREA Café”?   Want to see what you might be missing?  Check it out at www.creacafe.ca!

Here’s a sample of other great info you can find on CREA Café.  The following article is reprinted from the CREA Café, October 22, 2015.

 

Refresh your knowledge of the REALTOR® Code with CREA’s new online course
The words “REALTOR®” and “real estate agent” are not interchangeable, although some real estate agents might like them to be.

What sets CREA members—REALTOR® members—apart?  Their adherence to the REALTOR® Code: the standard of conduct that helps to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of consumers of real estate services.

As REALTOR® members are aware, CREA’s REALTOR® Code has been the measure of professionalism in organized real estate for many years. The first code was approved in 1913; members approved the first code of ethics specific to CREA members in 1959. The Code has since been amended many times, most recently in 2014, to reflect changes in the real estate marketplace, the needs of property owners and the perceptions and values of society.

REALTOR® members can be justifiably proud of their Code.

Like any set of principles, the Code is only truly valuable if incorporated into day-to-day practice.  But what, you may ask, is the best way to go about doing that? In an ideal world, REALTOR® members would pick up the Code and refresh their memory on its various nuances, from time to time.

That’s why CREA created the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Course.

The course is designed to help increase awareness and understanding of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics amongst REALTOR® members, by presenting the code in a user-friendly manner, using practical examples and quizzes to help ensure the knowledge sticks, and providing members with up-to-date information on the most recent changes to the Code.

For example, did you know that in March, 2015, the Code was amended to include, among other things:

  • A new commitment to civility;
  • A new Interpretation to reinforce the obligation on members that they are responsible for the improper use by businesses partners of CREA’s trademarks; and
  • A new Article with respect to unbecoming conduct (A REALTOR® shall not engage in conduct that is disgraceful, unprofessional or unbecoming of a REALTOR®).

Pop quiz:
Do you think this clause would apply if another REALTOR® member was curt with you?  Take the course to find out!  Hint:  the answer is a two letter word starting with ‘n’ and ending with a vowel.

 

 

 

New down payment requirements take effect February 15, 2016

The federal government announced in December that it intends to raise the minimum down payment requirements on homes valued over $500,000. This will be in effect for homes insured by CMHC.

Requirements will remain at 5 per cent down payment for homes under 500,000. Any amount over $500,000 will require a 10 per cent down payment. For example a $700,000 home will require a $45,000 down payment – 5 per cent on $500,000 and 10 per cent down on the remaining $200,000. The announced changes will take effect on February 15, 2016.

CREA has opposed increasing the minimum down payment since 2011, and will continue to advocate on behalf of home buyers, sellers and members on this issue.  Watch your inbox and the REALTOR® Action Network (RAN) for new developments.

Elections for the CREA Board of Directors

The annual election for the CREA Board of Directors will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the 2016 CREA Annual General Meeting in Ottawa.  Any qualified REALTOR® who has an interest in serving as a Director of CREA is strongly encouraged to run for a position on the Board of Directors.

The following positions are open:

  • Three Director-at-Large positions, each for a two-year term
  • Four Regional Director positions, each for a two-year term, one from each of the following regions:
  • Alberta/Northwest Territories
  • Saskatchewan
  • Ontario
  • The Atlantic Region

Qualifications of Directors

  1. Be a REALTOR® member
  2. Have been a REALTOR® member for at least five years
  3. Have a minimum of three years experience as a director of a member real estate board or association
  4. Not be otherwise disqualified by the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act
  5. In the case of a Regional Director, be licensed in that region

The deadline for candidate submissions is Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

If you need further information, contact CREA’s General Counsel,
Bill Harrington, at 613-237-7111 or at bharrington@crea.ca, or go to http://www.realtorlink.ca/content/realtorlink/crea/en_CA/about/
governance/elections/CREA_Board_of_Director_Elections/
Director_Recruitment_Information.html/Fo
 to read more about
CREA’s vision, strategic leadership and accountability policies.

Commercial listings leave ICX.ca to join REALTOR.ca

All commercial listings, formerly displayed on ICX.ca, have found their permanent home in the new commercial section on REALTOR.ca.

For your commercial clients, access to all listing types on one site will offer not only a more user-friendly experience, but greatly enhanced visibility for commercial searches.

Key benefits of adding commercial listings to REALTOR.ca:

  • More up-to-date commercial content because REALTOR.ca is updated up to four times per day (as opposed to once a day on ICX.ca).
  • Market-driven, user-tested approach to integration. Metrics from ca and REALTOR.ca indicated audience overlap on both sites.
  • Enhanced listing details. Not only are you, the REALTOR®, front-and-center, your commercial listings now have additional features such as demographics, Walk Score® and keyword search.

What does this mean?

REALTOR.ca now has two tabs for easy toggling from Commercial to Residential. The Commercial tab gives your commercial clients the ability to search for and view all commercial listings and the Residential tab allows your residential clients to search for and view residential listings along with all multi-family properties, some of which have previously only been available on ICX.ca.

 

Anyone who searches for ICX.ca or have it bookmarked in their browser will be automatically directed to the Commercial section of REALTOR.ca.

REALTOR.ca is now a one-stop shop for all your clients’ real estate needs.

 

(From CREA’s NEWS2Me blog)

Changes to FINTRAC info and education

The Canadian Real Estate Association has updated its FINTRAC (money laundering) resource materials.  Changes include

  • Clarification on the types of records that need to be kept to satisfy the obligation to keep records of measures taken to monitor a broker’s business relationships.
  • Revisions to reflect FINTRAC’s recently published Guidance on the Risk-Based Approach to Combatting Money laundering and Terrorist Financing and the recent Supreme Court of Canada FINTRAC decision with respect to lawyers.
  • More information on suspicious transaction records and reports.
  • Minor formatting changes to CREA forms.

Revised CREA forms, which incorporate the changes, are available for download now on REALTOR Link®  and are now available on WEBForms®.

*****

As a result of a new FINTRAC course developed by the Real Estate Knowledge Network (REvia), CREA will be discontinuing its own Money Laundering 101 course, currently offered by a third party and accessible via REALTOR Link®, as of December 31, 2015.

The new REvia course represents a significant improvement over CREA’s existing course as it is available in both English and French, contains broker and agent streams so that the law is explained in light of specific responsibilities, is more user-friendly, and contains numerous quizzes and helpful examples to help ensure that information members need to know is retained.

For more information about the new REvia course, go to http://www.revia.ca.

Harper promises to increase HBP withdrawal limit

As part of his election platform, Prime Minister Steven Harper announced his intention to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000.

Since its inception in 1992, the HBP has helped 2.8 million Canadians to purchase their first home.    Over the 23 years the program has been in place, however, the purchasing power of the HBP has been steadily eroded by inflation.  CREA, through it’s annual PAC meetings with MPs, has lobbied for an increase to the withdrawal limit.