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 – New FINTRAC requirements soon in effect

New FINTRAC requirements that were announced in 2016 are just now coming into effect for REALTORS® on various dates starting June 17, 2017.

 

These changes will affect you in four ways:

1.The way you identify individuals has been improved to add more flexibility.

There are three methods for identification:

  • Using a single piece of government-issued photo identification
  • Verifying that the client’s name, date of birth and address match information obtained from a Canadian credit bureau that has been in existence for at least three year
  • Using two original, valid and current documents or information from independent and reliable sources, such as utility bills or bank statements

2. Whenever your brokerage uses a mandatary to identify a client on your behalf, you will now have to keep more detailed records of when you received identification information from the mandatary. You will also need to review the information to make sure nothing is missing.

3. The regulations expand on existing obligations to keep a record when you use reasonable measures to satisfy certain obligations under the law. The reasonable measure record obligations are reflected in:

  • New sections A.4 and B.1 in the Individual Identification Information Record
  • New sections A.3 and B.1 in the Corporation/Entity Identification Information Record
  • New section E of the Receipt of Funds Record (which has also been reorganized to reflect additional FINTRAC guidance)
  • New records related to large cash transactions and suspicious transactions

4. Clients who have been identified by your brokerage in the past do not need to be identified again if you or your Broker of Record/Manager have no doubts about the information you obtained previously.

 

This is only a very brief summary of the changes taking effect in June, 2017. To read the details and get the information you need about changes to forms and what it all means for you, go to the CREA site on REALTOR Link® and check out the new information in the Compliance Centre. [REALTOR Link > CREA > Resources and Compliance > Compliance Resources > Money Laundering (FINTRAC)].

 

Once you are on the FINTRAC page, be sure you check out the links to helpful documents near the bottom of the page – all the material has been updated. The FAQ document may be particularly helpful.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________
All CREA forms have been updated to reflect your new obligations under FINTRAC.  Revised forms are now available on WEBForms®.
(Note:  you may use your old forms until June 17, 2017. After that time, only the revised forms will satisfy your obligations.)

Introducing REALTOR.ca smart leads

Smart leads

2016 was a busy year for REALTOR.ca with over 240 million visitor sessions and over 300,000 REALTOR.ca accounts created. This means REALTORS® were sent over 1.9 million email leads throughout the year.

Since February, of this year, REALTOR.ca has been making sure you get the most out of your leads with the launch of smart leads. These emails, which are generated when a visitor to your REALTOR.ca listings or profile sends you a lead, will provide you with more information than ever before.

REALTOR.ca smart leads give you more insight into your leads with the addition of the following information:

  • Real estate persona: Are they a first time buyer, residential investor, repeat buyer?
  • Where they are from: Is your lead local, from out of town or even international?
  • Do they have representation: Want to know if they are already working with a REALTOR®? Find out before you even talk to them.

REALTOR.ca smart leads provide additional information to help you build stronger, smarter connections with potential clients.

If you have any questions please contact CREA Member Support.

Note: Users have the option to choose to not share certain types of information when sending an email to a REALTOR®.

Are you covered?

CREA has prepared a brochure outlining ManuLife Group Insurance benefits for which you may be eligible, and the brochure will be coming to your office in February! Watch for your copy and see what benefits are available to you! Don’t want to wait til then? You can also visit Manulife for more information.

Coming Soon: CREA MLS® Home Price Index!

RAHB will soon be participating in CREA’s MLS® Home Price Index!

What’s the MLS® Home Price Index?
The MLS® Home Price Index, or HPI, is a tool for gaining a better understanding of the market trends in the residential market in our area, and how those trends compare to the rest of the country.

When we talk about housing prices, we usually refer to trends in average and median sale prices.  These measures are readily available and easily understood. However, averages and medians do not always accurately determine trends because:

  • data can be skewed by outliers
  • all homes are treated as equal
  • home “composition” is not taken into consideration

The MLS® HPI provides a better measurement of price and price trends for residential properties. It is based on real MLS® listing content from RAHB – that is, the attributes of the listed properties:  number of bedrooms, number of baths, number of storeys, etc.  The HPI uses that information to calculate what is the average home in an area, and then it can track how that average home price changes over time.

How does it work?
The HPI uses a base – or benchmark – year as a starting point for price comparison.  The index base is always 100.

In RAHB’s case, the benchmark year is 2005, so the HPI value for, say, January 2005 is 100.  If the HPI value for a single-family home in January of 2011 is 167.1, you know that the value of a typical single-family home is up 67.1 per cent compared to 2005.

What’s in it for you?
The real value of the HPI comes with the depth of information available to members.  The HPI drills down into areas as well as types of properties – single family, townhouse and apartment.  For each area, the HPI defines what the “average” house, townhouse and apartment is.  In one area the average single family home might be a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, double garage home, while in another area it is a 2-bedroom, 1-bath home with no garage.  Likewise for the townhouse and apartment categories – the HPI definition is determined by the mix of properties and their features in that area. This allows you to see trends that average or median sale prices just can’t provide.

RAHB will be publishing general information about the HPI, the same way it publishes general statistics, so the public will see what the general trend is.  However, RAHB members will have access to much more detailed information, so you will be able to:

  • help your clients understand home price trends for specific kinds of properties in a given neighbourhood
  • position yourself as a credible, reliable source of insight into the real estate market
  • broaden your knowledge of municipal, regional and national real estate markets, and compare trends in those markets

What the MLS® HPI doesn’t do
The HPI will not predict future price trends.  It can only be used to track what the trend has been and what it is at the present time.

What’s the next step?
Once RAHB starts reporting the MLS® HPI trends for our area, you will have access to an HPI dashboard via REALTOR Link®.  That’s where you will find the more detailed information the public doesn’t see.  You will find information about housing trends in our area, as well as trends in other cities where HPI is reported.

How did the MLS® HPI come about?
It was pioneered by six founding partners: the real estate boards of Calgary, Fraser Valley, Greater Montreal, Greater Vancouver, and Greater Toronto and the Canadian Real Estate Association. In 2009, the partners contracted with Altus Group to develop the MLS® HPI, which subsequently launched in February 2012.

Since its founding, CREA’s Home Price Index has grown to include data from Regina, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Vancouver Island, Victoria and Greater Moncton, and will soon include some regional MLS® boards and associations, as well as RAHB.

Want more information?
Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist, will be presenting two knowledge pods on the HPI at REALTOR® CONNECTIONS AGM, Conference and Trade Show on March 9, and will return to RAHB after we launch the HPI to do more information sessions.  Watch for more info about the date, time and location of the presentations.

You can also find more information about the MLS® Home Price Index.

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!

crea_1

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.

crea_2

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®.

How much do you know about CREA trademarks?

Ethics Corner — How much do you know about CREA trademarks?
(And yes, you should know about CREA trademarks!)

The Canadian Real Estate Association owns the trademarks for the Multiple Listing Service®, MLS® and REALTOR®. These trademarks have value to CREA, and they also have value to all CREA members because they denote special services and standing.

Every REALTOR® should know how to use the terms MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and REALTOR® correctly. There is a wealth of information about CREA trademarks on the CREA page in REALTOR Link® – just look under Resources and Compliance > Trademarks and Logos > Trademark Resources.

In the meantime, here’s a short video explaining how to use the MLS® trademark correctly:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrazKXGmWdo

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.

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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.