Category Archives: million dollar homes

Mississauga Ranked 14th Most Unaffordable Area to Live in in North America

You knew it was expensive to live in Mississauga. With detached houses costing buyers anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million and compact condos selling for over $400,000, residents are turning to the rental market and being equally as disappointed to see that prices are no more kind there (in some cases, two-bedroom suites can cost close to $2,000 a month).

But while most people understand the GTA is a costly place to call home, some might be surprised to find out that Mississauga is one of the most expensive cities in all of North America.

According to data by real estate company Point2Homes, it’s the fourteenth most unaffordable real estate market on on the continent.

Having recently hit its lowest level in the past decades, housing affordability is definitely a highly discussed topic for Canadians today,” writes Point2Homes in a recent report. “With this in mind, our team of researchers looked at the 50 most populous cities in North America to determine the affordability ratio for each. Based on the numbers, Mississauga is the 14th most unaffordable real estate market on the continent.”

To show the affordability levels across North America, Point2Homes says it examined the home price to income ratio (also called median multiple).

Data shows that with a median multiple of 7.4, Mississauga is a “severely unaffordable market,” coming in fourteenth in the North American ranking and third in Canada—after Vancouver and Toronto.

But while the numbers aren’t great, people can still take comfort in the fact that Mississauga is more affordable than Toronto and significantly more affordable than Vancouver (which is actually number one on the list). It’s also cheaper—which shouldn’t surprise anyone—than such famous cities as San Francisco, Manhattan, NYC, Boston, San Jose and Seattle.

Surprisingly, it’s more expensive to live in than Dallas, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Philadelphia.

According to Point2Homes, it would take 10 fewer years to pay off a house in Mississauga than it would in Vancouver. That said, the report notes that, when looking at the raw numbers, Mississauga’s median family income stands out – it’s bigger than the income in Los Angeles and even New York.

If a Mississauga resident were to put their entire income towards their home, it would still take close to a decade—7.4 years—to pay it off.

Of course, this report isn’t the first to notice how unaffordable Mississauga has becom.

The City of Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee recently adopted the city’s first housing strategy: Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga.

According to the strategy, there’s a pressing and dire need to create affordable housing for middle income earners who are in danger of being priced out of the city.

Some of the draft’s findings are alarming, even though they’re not at all surprising.

According to the draft, a home is considered affordable when its inhabitants spend 30 per cent or less of their earnings on housing costs. In Mississauga, 1 in 3 households are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing and research suggests this number will rise.

Middle income households typically net between $50,000 and $100,000 a year and middle income earners include nurses, teachers and social workers. When people in this income bracket decide to try to purchase a home, they can typically afford to pay between $270,000 and $400,000—meaning their only options are condos and a limited selection of townhouses.

As far as rent goes, the city says the average rental unit costs $1,200 a month and that rental inventory is 1.6 per cent (which is troublingly low).

So, what has the city proposed to do?

  • Petition senior levels of government for taxation policies and credits that incent affordable housing
  • Pilot tools such as pre-zoning and a Development Permit System to develop affordable housing in appropriate locations (close to transit systems, for example)
  • Encourage the Region of Peel to develop an inclusionary zoning incentive program for private and nonprofit developers
  • Continue to engage with housing development stakeholders
  • Encourage the Region of Peel to investigate the cost of deferring development charges on the portion of affordable units provided in newly constructed multiple dwellings
  • The city has also been working to legalize accessory units (better known as basement apartments). At this juncture, basement suites remain a very viable option for people looking for affordable units, as the suites tend to cost $1,000 or less. Right now, most units remain unregistered and the city is responsible for levying fines against landlords operating unregulated units.

The city is also going to welcome a more affordable units in Mississauga’s City Centre neighbourhood.

The Daniels Corporation, the development firm who has built multiple properties in the City Centre and Erin Mills Town Centre areas in the city, is slated to construct an affordable housing project at 360 City Centre Drive.

As for how the development will work, 40 per cent of the units (70 in total) will be Rent Geared to Income suites. These units will take residents off affordable housing waitlist. The city also says that 60 per cent (or 104 units) will be set aside for renters and owned by the Region. They will be available to middle-class residents.

A second tower on the same podium will boast market-value units, creating a mixed-income property on City Centre grounds.

With the Hurontario LRT coming, there’s a chance property values along the LRT corridor will increase, potentially pushing people out of the area. The city is also tackling other major development projects, including complete redevelopment of some waterfront areas in the Port Credit and Lakeview neighbourhoods.

While the city is certainly doing its part to address affordability, it remains to be seen how the housing market will react to a bigger and more sophisticated and urbane Mississauga.

Perhaps the worst is yet to come.

Source: Insauga.com – by Ashley Newport on November 23, 2017

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Why a 20% home down payment may not be worth it

Source: The Globe and Mail – Rob Carrick

Rob Carrick

It’s tough to feel financially prudent when buying a house these days.

That’s why an increasing number of first-time buyers are saving a down payment of 20 per cent or more. In doing so, they avoid having to buy mortgage default insurance which, in the case of a house price of $487,095 (the national average) bought with a 10 per cent down payment, would be 3.1 per cent or $13,590. This premium is generally added to the mortgage, which means more interest to pay.

It certainly sounds financially prudent to make a 20-per-cent down payment where possible, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, you may save money both now and in the future by making a slightly smaller down payment and taking on the cost of mortgage default insurance.

Listen up if you’re concerned about the new mortgage lending rules that were announced last week and will take effect on Jan. 1. When making a down payment of 20 per cent or more, the new rules require that you be able to qualify for a mortgage at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada, or the original contractual rate plus two percentage points. An easier path to a mortgage may be to make a smaller down payment.

To even propose this seems bizarre. “The story has been that you’re just throwing money away with mortgage insurance,” said Mike Bricknell, a mortgage agent with CanWise Financial. What this thinking ignores is the way today’s mortgage market discriminates against people who make down payments of 20 per cent or more. They may pay a fair bit more for a mortgage than someone with a high-ratio mortgage (down payment of less than 20 per cent) both now and on renewal.

A lender dealing with a client who has a sub-20 per cent down payment can take comfort from the fact that the loan is covered by government-backed insurance that is paid for by the borrower. A conventional mortgage (20 per cent or more) can be insured as well, but by the lender. All in all, a high-ratio mortgage is preferable from the lender’s point of view and often results in a lower mortgage rate.

Mr. Bricknell has lately found that rates on five-year fixed rate mortgages are about 0.45 of a percentage point less for high ratio as opposed to conventional mortgages. Maybe your lender can do better than that. If not, consider this example of how a down payment less than 20 per cent can pay off.

We start with a $450,000 house and a buyer with a 20-per-cent down payment already saved. With a conventional mortgage amortized over 25 years, Mr. Bricknell figures this person could get a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.29 per cent. That means a monthly payment of $1,758.

Now, let’s see what happens when this borrower makes a 19-per-cent down payment. A smaller down payment means borrowing a bit more, and thus more interest over the life of the mortgage. Also, mortgage insurance will be required at a cost of $10,206. All of this nets out to a monthly payment of $1,743, with the mortgage insurance premium included. How is this possible? Mr. Bricknell said it’s because the high-ratio borrower gets a mortgage rate of 2.84 per cent.

There’s a stress test for high-ratio mortgages as well, but it’s marginally less onerous than it is for conventional mortgages because you only have to be able to handle the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, currently 4.89 per cent. Thus the high-ratio mortgage in Mr. Bricknell’s example would have a qualifying rate of 4.89 per cent and the conventional mortgage would be at 5.29 per cent (the client’s actual rate plus two percentage points).

The two mortgages outlined by Mr. Bricknell are pretty much a wash right now when compared on cost. Looking ahead, the high-ratio mortgage offers the potential for lower interest rates when it’s time to renew your mortgage. This assumes that lenders will continue to look more favourably at high-ratio mortgages.

Mortgage industry data show that even as house prices increased from the early 2000s through the past few years, the percentage of people making down payments of less than 20 per cent has declined to 39 per cent from 54 per cent. If the rationale for this is to save money and be financially prudent, a rethink is required. Depending on the rates offered by your lender, a slightly smaller down payment could save you money in the long run.

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Canadian housing bear warns proposed mortgage rule changes may close the Bank of Mom and Dad

A former MP and popular finance blogger is warning a federal watchdog’s proposed changes to the mortgage qualification process could have a dire impact on housing markets across Canada.

Garth Turner, whose Greater Fool blog has ruffled more than a few feathers, suggests a move to “stress test” all uninsured mortgages, rather than just insured mortgages with downpayments of less than 20 per cent, will curb demand considerably.

“It’s been seven years since we’ve had consistently rising interest rates and we’ve never had this kind of stress test before,” Turner tells BuzzBuzzNews.

“I just can’t in honesty tell people, that ‘Oh, you know, go to Cambridge or Montreal or Halifax or Edmonton for a bargain property because I think properties are going to be feeling a downward tug,” he continues.

SEE ALSO: The Bank of Mom and Dad: the ways Toronto parents help theirs kids buy homes

Last month, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions published a draft of its reworked Guide B-20 — Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures, which included the broader stress test proposal.

By stress testing all mortgages, Turner suggests a large chunk of the prospective-homebuyer population will be pushed to the sidelines as they will no longer be able to finance their purchase, thus reducing demand and, ultimately, leading to outright price declines.

It’s a regulatory change that Turner is convinced will take place before the end of the year.

“We all have the same mortgage rates coast to coast, we all have the same mortgage approval regulations coast to coast, so these are universal changes that are going to affect every buyer in Canada,” Turner says.

Currently, a homebuyer can go to an alternative or sub-prime lender or even the Bank of Mom and Dad to borrow money to boost their downpayment to 20 per cent or more, avoiding any stress test. But the new regulations would close this loophole.

“Credit is going to be drying up somewhere between 17 and 20 per cent simply because of the stress test alone, and that’s a pretty significant number of people to take out of the market,” he adds.

“The only workaround is going to be the people who get mortgages from non-bank lenders,” says Turner, citing provincially mandated credit unions as an example.

He refers to some credit unions as “time bombs,” estimating a number of them have 90 per cent of their assets tied up in residential mortgages.

“Talk about risk: it’s flashing red.”

Source: BuzzBuzzHome.com –  

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SOLD: Uptown Home Sold For $1 Million Over Asking!!!

With so many house selling way over asking in Toronto these days, the tendency is to declare the expression meaningless. The value of a home, so the argument goes, is better judged by what nearby properties have sold for.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThat’s mostly sound reasoning, but once in a while we get a bit of inside baseball from realtors about Toronto home sales, and this sheds some more insight on the wild prices that are being fetched of late.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThis elegant and well equipped home at 375 Glencairn Avenue, for instance, just sold for $1,165,000 over asking after being on the market for seven days. During that period realtor André Kutyan of Harvey Kalles tells us that 165 people came through the home.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoOf the army of potential buyers who toured the property, nine made offers, which drove the price way up from its listing at $3,595,000. Worthy of note is that the listing price mostly reflects the sale prices of other nearby homes sold over the last 30 days.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThe sample size might be too small for this to prove a trustworthy metric (only five other homes sold within 1,500 metres during this period), but one thing’s for sure: there was a ton of interest in this property.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThe Essentials
  • Address: 375 Glencairn Ave.
  • Type: Detached house
  • Bedrooms: 4 + 1
  • Bathrooms: 7
  • Lot size: 50 x 219.66 feet
  • Realtor: André Kutyan
  • Hit the market at: $3,595,000
  • Time on market: 7 days
  • Sold for: $4,760,000
375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoWhy it sold for what it did

This house has a lot going for it. It’s been recently renovated, the enormous basement features a wine cellar, games room, mini movie theatre, and sauna, multiple bedrooms feature en suite washrooms, and the finishes around the house are top of the line.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoWas it worth it?

There are plenty of very nice homes in Lytton Park, but this one stands out when compared to recent listings. That alone was likely enough to start the bidding war that drove the price up into the ultra luxury range.

375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto

Lead photo by Realtor


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Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale

 

Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale
Affordability is a major issue for many Canadians, especially those trying to buy a home in major cities. However, these properties – currently for sale and curated by online real estate company Point2Homes — are in an a class of unaffordability entirely their own.

#1: $42,000,000 — 4351 Erwin Drive, West Vancouver, BC

This 7 bedroom mansion in Vancouver offers oceanfront views of Stanley Park. It also boasts 10,000 square feet and its own private beach.

#2: $38,000,000 — 2106 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC

This property offers views of the Gulf Islands, as well as its own private park and two golf greens on its 4.25 acres.

#3: $30,000,000 — 242004 Range Road 32, Calgary, AB

Making our way east, we find our first property outside beautiful British Columbia. Nestled in the mountains, this 160 acre property offers everything an outdoorsman – and woman – would want.

For those who prefer the indoors, the sprawling home contains a music conservatory (for the young, budding Beethoven, naturally), a two-storey library, and an indoor pool.

#4: $26,000,000 — 12133 No 3 Road, Richmond, BC

Unsurprisingly we’re back in BC, which is home to this five bedroom Tuscan-like villa. While it may not have its own winery, it does offer ponds, gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

#5: $25,000,000 — 76,84,91 Trail’s End, Lake Joseph, ON

This a dream-worthy cottage on Lake Joseph has its own bar.

But who needs a beer when you can crack a cold beer on that dock?

This is just small sample of the country’s priciest homes. To see the rest, check out the original report by Point2Homes, which includes the country’s most expensive listing: A three home package deal that will run you nearly $50 million.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca – by MBN 16 Mar 2017
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Detached home prices in Toronto rising by $550 per day

cabbagetown-house

Want to earn $550 a day, literally from the comfort of your own home? All you need to do is buy a detached home in Toronto.

That’s according to Huffington Post Canada, who analyzed the latest report from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to calculate the stunning figure.

The data comes from a TREB home sales and price report released last week. The board reported that the sale price for a single-detached home hit $1,257,958 in April, up 18.9 per cent over the same time last year. Huffington Post Canada crunched the numbers to find that the price increase translates to growth of $16,820 per month. That’s $550 on a daily basis.

“Or put another way, every day you delay buying a house in Toronto will cost you another $550,” wrote Huffington Post’s Daniel Tencer.

Huffington Post also calculated the price growth for the city’s condo market, which saw the average sale price hit $436,545 in April, a 7 per cent increase over the previous year. That works out to $2,411 per month or $79.26 per day.

April was a record breaking month for Toronto home sales. The 12,085 sales in the Greater Toronto Area were the most ever recorded in the month of April, according to TREB.

In a statement, TREB’s market analysis director Jason Mercer indicated that he expects prices to continue to climb through the spring.

“As we move into the busiest time of the year, in terms of sales volume, strong competition between buyers will continue to push home prices higher,” he said.

Source: BuzzBuzzHomeNews  | MAY 9, 2016

 

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For $13M, you can party like it’s 1999 in Prince’s former Bridle Path mansion

Perfect for the ultimate Prince fan.

An opulent Bridle Path mansion in northern Toronto formerly owned by Prince is on the market for the cool price of $12,788,000.

Prince's Bridal Path home is for sale

The iconic pop star died Thursday at the age of 57 at his home in Minneapolis, Minn. The cause of death is not yet known.

Prince was a long-time resident of Toronto, a city he called “a melting pot in every sense of the word.”

Prince's Bridal Path home is for sale

In 2001, Prince married Torontonian Manuela Testolini, and reportedly did much of the recording work for the 2004 album ‘Musicology’ in Toronto.

The listing for Prince’s Bridle Path home describes it as “a world class luxury residence” that boasts over 14,000 square feet of living space, a “dramatic floor plan” and “a majestic ambience for entertaining.”

Prince's Bridal Path home is for sale

Known for his ping-pong prowess, the estate also features a private tennis court, and an “award-winning pool” on a two-acre gated estate.

A perfect place to park your little red Corvette.

Source: 680 News Apr 22, 2016 3:01 pm EDT

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Hitched then ditched by marriage ‘predator’

Galina Baron married an elderly man named Charlie Juzumas with a promise he'd never have to go to a nursing home. A judge later said she had "unclean hands" after her son's name was added to the title of Juzumas' house.

Galina Baron, 65, married Charlie Juzumas, 89, with the promise that he’d never have to go to a nursing home. He didn’t know it yet, but he had just become entangled in a predatory marriage.

She promised to be a caring bride who’d keep him out of a nursing home.

When the wedding was done, Galina Baron left her 89-year-old husband at a Toronto subway stop.

Charlie Juzumas took the TTC home, alone. He didn’t know it yet, but he had just become entangled in a predatory marriage.

Juzumas was Baron’s sixth or maybe eighth husband. She had trouble remembering them all, according to a 2012 Ontario Superior Court judgment filed after Juzumas tried to reclaim the house she took from him.

This story is based on Justice Susan Lang’s court judgment, an affidavit and interviews. Baron and her son, Yevgeni, refused to comment.

Juzumas was the husband who got away, but it was a precarious escape.

When Baron married him on Sept. 27, 2007, the 65-year-old bride had been offering caretaking to vulnerable widowers with the expectation of a mention in their will, according to the judgment.

Age was not Juzumas’ weakness. He did yard work, planted flowers and seemed entirely self-sufficient, although he once accepted a tenant’s offer to climb a ladder and remove storm windows. His vulnerability came from a fear of dying in a nursing home.

It’s unclear if Baron knew this when she knocked on his door in 2006. Both were born in Lithuania, 24 years apart. Baron spoke the language of his home country and offered housework.

He was reluctant but she kept coming back. As her visits increased to three times a week, he started to see her as a saviour who’d keep him at home.

Juzumas’ wife, Malvina, died a decade earlier and they had no children, but his memories lived in this house. It was a three-storey Victorian, with stained-glass windows near the west Toronto neighbourhood of Beaconsfield.

Baron pushed for marriage, saying she merely wanted a widow’s pension. She clinched the deal by promising he’d never go to a nursing home.

The day before they married, Baron and Juzumas went to see a lawyer named Stan Mamak in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. The court judgment detailed Mamak’s actions.

In a recent interview, Mamak said he did his best to independently represent Juzumas’ interests and believed the elderly man was a willing participant. “Just because someone is old doesn’t mean they are infirm,” he said.

Without meeting Juzumas separately to ask his wishes, Mamak wrote a will making Baron the sole executor and beneficiary of his estate, the judgment found.

Baron never did move in, but she spent her daytime visits berating him, according to witness testimony, the judgment said. She got joint access to his bank account. He paid her $800 a month for housekeeping and she took all but $100 of his tenants’ $1,300 monthly rent, said the judgment, which found Baron had “unclean hands.”

According to her affidavit, his new tenant, Pamela Detlor, studied Juzumas’ reaction to Baron. The moment Baron marched through his front door, Juzumas’ shoulders slumped, Detlor said. He was so afraid to speak that she initially thought he was mute. Later, he’d confide his troubles in Detlor saying, “I am a stupid old man,” according to the judgment.

Two years after the wedding, Juzumas realized he’d made a mistake, both in marriage and in the will that gave Baron his estate. He went to a different lawyer who wrote a new will. (The judgment doesn’t say why he didn’t choose Mamak, the original lawyer who wrote the first will of their marriage.) Baron would now inherit $10,000. The rest was bequeathed to his niece in Lithuania. The bulk of his estate came from his home, worth roughly $600,000 in 2009.

Baron soon discovered this act of rebellion. She went to see Mamak. The judgment states that Mamak believed it was Baron who was the victim, a “wronged, vulnerable spouse/caregiver.”

Mamak told the Star that Baron described Juzumas as a violent man, saying she claimed he threatened to cut her in half with a sword.

“In retrospect, I feel she was probably trying to manipulate my image of her — that she was an innocent victim,” Mamak said.

Together, Baron and Mamak came up with the idea to transfer the title of the house to her son, Yevgeni, the judgment found. Mamak said he improved the agreement, letting Juzumas live in the house with his name on title until his death.

A meeting was arranged to add Baron’s son Yevgeni to the house title. That morning, 91-year-old Juzumas ate a bowl of Baron’s soup, becoming “dizzy, as if I’d taken a strong drink,” he later told court.

Tired and disoriented, Juzumas signed the papers, giving away his financial security to a young man he disliked. The judgment later found there was no evidence Mamak spoke to Juzumas without Baron in the room, nor did he tell him the new agreement was “virtually eviscerating” his recent will. (Mamak said he believes he spoke to Juzumas independently but has no notes to prove it.)

When Juzumas learned of Baron’s ruse through a legal followup letter two weeks later, Juzumas’ long-time neighbour, Ferne Sinkins, drove him to the lawyer’s office. Baron arrived a few minutes later, but was told to wait. Juzumas emerged from his meeting with Mamak saying he was told the transfer was “in the computer; it can’t be changed,” the judgment said.

He returned the following week with the same request. Again, Baron appeared — an “unexplained coincidence,” the judge found. (Mamak denied tipping off Baron, saying she was probably following Juzumas.) This time, she demanded a new will and power of attorney over his medical care.

At home, his tenant thought he was “doped up.” His neighbour questioned the large gash on his forehead. Juzumas said he passed out, adding that Baron told him he fell down the stairs. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, fearing he’d be taken to a nursing home. During a rare evening visit, Baron called an ambulance claiming Juzumas was sick. His tenant, Detlor, told the attendants of Baron’s abuse.

Questioned by hospital staff, Baron called Juzumas a violent, pathological liar who should be sent to a nursing home. Instead, staff sent him home where helpful tenant Detlor insisted he change the locks. The day Baron came to get a few possessions left on the porch, Juzumas lay flat on the couch so she couldn’t see him.

Juzumas took his case to court. Baron fought back. The judge gave him a divorce and reversed the transfer of his house, blaming it on Baron and Yevgeni’s “undue influence of a vulnerable elder.”

Two years later, Juzumas sold his home for $910,000 and, neighbours said, returned to Lithuania with his niece.

Source: Toronto Star  Investigative News reporter, Published on Sun Apr 17 2016

Galina Baron married an elderly man named Charlie Juzumas with a promise he'd never have to go to a nursing home. A judge later said she had "unclean hands" after her son's name was added to the title of Juzumas' house.

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Brokers concerned about real estate offers made with no conditions

A man walks past homes for sale displayed in the windows of a realtor's office in Vancouver on Feb. 3, 2015. The red-hot Vancouver housing market is ‘overdue’ for some fallout from the surge in no-condition offers, Realtor Ian Watt says. (DARRYL DYCK For The Globe and Mail)

The breakneck speed of real estate transactions in British Columbia has some brokers so concerned, they are suggesting agents have clients sign a form spelling out that they understand the risks when offers are made with no conditions.

Sotheby’s International Realty has sent a notice to its agents with a new form asking for official client acknowledgment that there could be serious consequences to an offer that includes nothing that makes the purchase subject to financing or property inspection.

“Something I’m concerned about is a bank then saying, ‘I’m sorry, we’re not going to appraise the property for that price,’” said Polly Cordwell, Sotheby’s managing broker, who drafted the new form.

People who can’t get financing risk losing their substantial deposits. They could also get sued.

Ms. Cordwell said close to 100 per cent of the buyer offers that the agency is seeing lately – as prices have spiralled to unheard-of heights, not just in Vancouver but throughout the region – are being made without conditions.

The Sotheby’s form asks buyers to recognize that “lenders may not approve financing if the property appraisal, conditions of the lands or building or any other factor pertaining to the property is not acceptable to the lender, even if a financing pre-approval has been obtained.”

It also warns them that making an offer without a building inspection could lead to unexpected and expensive repairs later

Dustan Woodhouse, a mortgage broker who mainly serves clients in the Tri-Cities area, said he had eight sets of clients in the first half of last week who all wanted to make subject-free offers.

He said he’s just finished talking to a lawyer about a similar form warning them about the risks.

“I am contemplating an indemnification agreement to make it crystal clear that at no time can I ever possibly advise any client that they are 100-per-cent safe to go subject-free,” he said. “The greatest danger in the market is the consumer walking around with a ‘pre-approval’ and failing to understand that it is little more than a ratehold.”

Although Mr. Woodhouse is doing well financially in the current market, he said he thinks the region’s real estate market has become dangerous. “These are very problematic conditions right now. I do not like this market, I do not believe this market is healthy. A little more rational behaviour would be nice.”

The Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. is not yet seeing a stampede of brokers toward new forms advising buyers of risk.

But CEO Samantha Gale said she is definitely hearing concerns from the association’s 1,500 members – who are among the province’s 3,200 brokers – about the high number of offers they’re seeing that are subject-free and have unrealistic completion dates.

None of those contacted by The Globe and Mail has yet heard of a bank or credit union turning down a buyer because the offer is deemed to be much higher than the value of the property. That’s largely because, as prices keep rising, an offer that is far above the official assessed value is still being considered as reasonable in current market conditions.

“But it’s something we need to be aware of as a possibility,” Ms. Cordwell of Sotheby’s said.

Realtor Ian Watt said the region is “overdue” for some fallout from the no-condition offers.

“We know somebody’s going to get sued.” It won’t happen immediately, as long as the market is hot, he said, but as soon as there’s a slight downtown, that will become a possibility.

The region is going through one of the most unusual bursts of spiralling prices that many people in the real estate industry can remember. Until a few months ago, the stories of skyrocketing prices, sales for hundreds of thousands over asking and no-subject offers were largely confined to certain hot spots, such as the west side of Vancouver and the North Shore.

Source: FRANCES BULA VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Apr. 11, 2016

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