City of Burlington’s Three-Month Work Plan and Financial Impacts of COVID-19

The Burlington City Council’s next meeting will be on Monday, April 20 at 9:30 a.m.

This council meeting will see Burlington senior staff providing an update about the financial impacts of COVID-19 and seek Council’s endorsement of a three-month strategy that prioritizes which City services will be provided through to the end of June 2020.

Financial impacts of COVID-19

A report detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City of Burlington’s budget will be presented. This report will include:

  • Estimated revenue impacts of $7.6 million to June 30, 2020;
  • Estimated expenditure savings of $5.2 million to June 30, 2020;
  • Cash flow projections to June 30, 2020;
  • Future financial modelling to identify pressures, dependent on the length of the pandemic, and recovery scenarios.

Municipalities are required to approve a balanced budget; however, the City of Burlington can have a shortfall or surplus in a given year. A shortfall can be offset by:

  • Using reserve funds;
  • Increasing taxes in the next year; or
  • Reducing expenditures during the year of the anticipated shortfall. This is what Burlington is attempting to do to mitigate a shortfall at year-end.

Housing Call Out

The City of Hamilton has reached out to RAHB with an urgent need regarding housing for individuals and families currently in shelter and/or hotels. Please see below for a message from Paul Johnson, Director, Emergency Operations Centre at the City of Hamilton.

 

Dear Housing Partner,

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Hamilton is committed to supporting Hamiltonians and taking every precaution to keep our community as healthy and safe as possible.

As you may have noted during the City’s COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday night, keeping housing placements moving is one of ways we hope to accomplish this; connecting individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homelessness to support and appropriate resources, which includes permanent housing.

We need your help. The City is looking for private market rental units to fill an immediate need: to house individuals and families currently in shelter and/or hotels who could move in with minimal supports. For some people, we will be able to match them up with the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit that took effect April 1. We are asking landlords who have a vacant unit that is move-in ready to work with the City to create long term tenancies with financial support.

Working together on housing placements will achieve a number of goals:

  • Create more assured rental income with a longer-term tenant
  • Foster a sustainable investment
  • Provide additional supports for these new tenants
  • Contribute to the shared community goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19

Thanks to additional support from both the federal and provincial governments, we have an opportunity to provide financial supports in the long term to help facilitate housing plans.

If you have any available units for rent and/or would like additional information, please contact housing@hamilton.ca.

I want to thank you in advance for stepping in to help our community during this unprecedented crisis. We are all in this together.

Sincerely,

Paul Johnson

Please click the link to read Paul Johnson’s letter: Apr-17-20 – Housing Call Out

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Impact Survey #1

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is asking for Hamilton’s business community to provide feedback on the impact COVID-19 has had on their business, the effectiveness of existing programs and initiatives, and options or suggestions on policy, programs and initiatives that should be considered in the short term.

To participate in the survey, please click the button below:

Update – March Statistics & Seasonally Adjusted Data

On April 15, CREA released their national statistics and chose to focus on seasonally adjusted data, while highlighting individual markets across the country. For the release, please visit https://www.crea.ca/news/canadian-home-sales-and-listings-down-in-march/.

RAHB, as well as several other associations/boards across Canada, reported an increase in the number of sales month-over-month (actual) from February to March 2020; however, the seasonally adjusted numbers published by CREA show decreases. For example, RAHB reported a 10 per cent increase in the number of sales (actual) from February to March of this year, while CREA reported a decrease of 24.9 per cent in sales (seasonally adjusted) for the same time period.

The media published CREA’s release and data, but did not explain that the data was seasonally adjusted. For the CBC article, please visit https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-march-real-estate-1.5532748.

We are working with CREA to correct any media that have not properly identified and explained seasonally adjusted data; however, this has caused confusion among REALTORS® across Canada, as well as in the eyes of the public.

RAHB has contacted CREA and asked that they:

  • Emphasize that their data is seasonally adjusted.
  • Include a clear definition of seasonally adjusted data.
  • Provide a clear explanation of the difference between seasonally adjusted data provided by CREA and actual data provided by boards/associations.
  • Focus on data at the national level, allowing boards and associations to publish regional data.

RAHB and other boards and associations use actual data in statistics releases, and refrain from focusing on seasonally adjusted data as it is quite complicated for the public to understand. CREA does provide a high-level explanation on their website – https://www.creacafe.ca/seasonally-adjusted-mysteries-revealed/.

Below are some points RAHB members can use to explain CREA’s seasonally adjusted data with clients:

  • The majority of regional boards/associations – including RAHB – publish raw data within their monthly market statistics reports to show the actual activity that took place within any given month.
  • CREA uses seasonally adjusted data to identify trends.
  • Seasonal adjustment strips out normal seasonal fluctuations that otherwise affect data, and levels the playing field for each month.
  • CREA states that using seasonally adjusted data makes every month 30 days with four weekends and no holidays.
  • The effect of seasonal adjustment is that it reduces readings for months which normally get a seasonal lift, and boosts them for months which normally see a seasonal slump.
  • Seasonally adjusted data is how governments, financial institutions and market analysts look at the figures.
  • Seasonally adjusted statistics result from raw data being fed into a complicated computer model.

RAHB uses actual data because:

  • Actual data is the raw data collected in any given time period.
  • Raw data shows the confirmed/real activity that took place during any given time period.
  • Actual (raw) data is generally easier to understand.
  • Publishing actual (raw) data allows REALTORS® to analyze their specific section of the market.

If you have any questions, please contact communications@rahb.ca.

CONNECT Update: Retiring CONNECT

Just a reminder that RAHB received notice from TRREB stating that, on April 30, 2020, TRREB is retiring CONNECT.  

Following the receipt of TRREB’s notice, RAHB staff have been engaged in discussions with the remaining CONNECT member Boards and Associations to explore future collaboration and data sharing opportunities via IntraMatrix.

RAHB is committed and open to reciprocal data sharing with other Ontario Boards and Associations.  Currently, RAHB has data sharing agreements in place with ORTIS and the Ontario Collective. The Ontario Collective and ORTIS are in the final stages of merging their efforts and implementing a new Matrix system for all of their users. RAHB has been working with ORTIS/OC and Corelogic to test the updated data share, which will be launched with the newly merged system. Once testing has been completed, RAHB members will then have access to all ORTIS and Ontario Collective listings within Matrix.

New Appointment Type in ShowingTime: Virtual Showing

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way REALTORS® do business. Orders from local governments and recommendations from public health officials alike have inspired resourceful agents to seek new ways to serve their clients.

With the ever-changing environment, REALTORS® have been giving virtual showings to their clients using a variety of methods including group video conferencing tools, 360-degree views of the home and prerecorded video tours.

To help accommodate these new kinds of appointments, ShowingTime has added a new appointment type, Virtual Showing, for showing REALTORS® to use when requesting a showing. By selecting this option, the showing REALTOR® is indicating to the listing REALTOR® that their client would prefer a virtual showing of the property. The showing REALTOR® can also add a note for the listing REALTOR® indicating which streaming video technology they prefer to use for the showing (FaceTime, etc.).

Reference ShowingTime’s Virtual Showing Guide for help getting started and for more information on virtual showings, check out ShowingTime’s resource page.

Banned Open Houses

The Government of Ontario has updated it’s list of non-essential businesses in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although real estate services are still considered essential, the government has prohibited the hosting of open houses effective 11:59 a.m. on Saturday April 4, 2020.

Real estate brokerages, brokers and salespeople must cease hosting and attending open houses. In addition, it is strongly recommended that brokers and salespeople follow the direction of health officials by limiting showings to situations where they are absolutely necessary.

In addition, the government added requirements for short-term accommodation rentals. After April 4, short term rentals can only be provided to individuals who need housing during the state of emergency.

For more information on virtual showings please click here.

RAHB REALTORS® Release March 2020 Market Statistics

The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,098 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in March 2020. Sales are up 10 per cent over last month, but down 3.1 per cent over March 2019. The average price for residential properties increased to $658,161, which is up 1.8 per cent from last month and up 14.5 per cent from the same month last year.

Follow the links below for:

Burlington

Halidmand

Hamilton

Niagara North

 

Welcome New Members

We extend a warm welcome to RAHB’s newest members who joined our association between February 26 – March 31, 2020!

Fari Amin
Century 21 Dreams Inc.

Charlene Lefave
Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd.

Jake Lyons
Coldwell Banker-Burnhill Realty

David Wu
Dowling Real Estate
Daniel Jones
IPRO Realty Ltd.

Kyle Labate
Kyle Price
Alicia Salverda
Sean  Morley St Cyr
Keller Williams Complete Realty

Koko Kooner
Farhan Mahmood
Homelife Professionals Realty

Varia Bykova
Property.ca Realty

Samantha Stubbington
RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.

Whitney Wakefield
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre

Margaret Fisher
Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services

Nathaniel Chiu
Royal LePage State Realty

CREA Update – Support for Canadian Businesses

The information below was sent by CREA to Members on Monday, March 30.

In an effort to combat negative consequences for Canadians and the Canadian economy resulting from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this morning the Government of Canada unveiled additional support through a wage subsidy for businesses, while the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate in an unscheduled rate announcement. These new measures come on the heels of the announcement for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), aimed at providing relief for Canadians workers who have lost their income.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, CREA has been in ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies. We have had meaningful conversations about the unique challenges facing REALTORS® and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to their day-to-day business.

While working to secure financial aid for REALTORS®, we also focused on the needs of small businesses, analyzing the measures announced by government, as well as programs implemented in other jurisdictions in order to find innovative solutions relevant to our industry. We discussed possibilities with stakeholder groups across the country to align and coordinate on proposed government action that would provide meaningful assistance to struggling businesses.

Government responded to calls for significant action today with the following measures:

  • 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy has yet to be established, with government aiming to provide additional details on Monday. We will update members as information becomes available.
  • Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25 per cent.
  • Deferral of GST and HST remittances and customs duty payments for businesses, including self-employed individuals, to June 30, 2020.
  • Launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs. The program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 per cent (up to $10,000).
  • EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.
  • Co-Lending Program for SMEs where the Business Development Bank of Canada works with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Additional details about these measures can be found on the websites for the Prime Minister of Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, and the Bank of Canada.

The new measures are expected to complement the CERB, a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.

The government has said CERB will apply to contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance. CREB will also be available to workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19. The new benefit will be available through an online portal that is set to launch on April 6, with funds expected to flow within ten days of applying.

CREA is monitoring the implementation of these programs and will continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®.

Please click below for more information on Support for Businesses:

Support for Businesses

 

OREA Update – Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The information below was sent by OREA to Members on March 26.

In these unprecedented times, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is working hard to make sure REALTORS® have access to government support programs and information to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government of Canada introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit will be distributed through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to provide up-to $2,000 a month for the next four months in income support to the following individuals.

  • Workers, including self-employed individuals, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, but do not qualify for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for Employment Insurance or not.

While the program is targeted at self-employed Canadians, every individual situation is different. Any REALTOR® who needs assistance is encouraged to apply for the benefit.

Those who wish to apply for the benefit will be able to do so starting in early April 2020, and it should take approximately 10 days after applying to receive funding.

OREA will provide Members with instructions on how to apply once applications become available.

In the meantime, in order to prepare for your application, Members are encouraged to ensure that you have an online account with the CRA.

OREA has made it a priority to ensure that REALTORS® are captured under all programs provided to those who are self-employed. We will continue to closely monitor any additional programs that the Federal and Provincial governments introduce to ensure that Ontario’s REALTORS® are supported through this difficult time.

Please click below for more information on Support for Individuals and Businesses:

More Information on Support for Individuals and Families