Monthly Archives: September 2016

B.C. Has Imposed a 15% Foreign Buyer's Tax on Housing in Metro Vancouver

On Monday, July 25 the B.C. legislature convened to discuss alterations to Vancouver’s charter that will allow them to impose a tax on empty houses. Although the parameters of the vacant home tax are still up for discussion, the province announced one significant change in policy: a 15% foreign buyer’s tax in the Metro Vancouver region.

Started on August 2, non-Canadian purchasers and foreign-controlled firms will now see an extra 15% property transfer tax applied on all residential real estate investments in Vancouver. The purpose of this tax is to lower foreign demand and increase local supply, a looming issue that Metro Vancouver has been suffering from in the past year or so.

Vancouver’s housing bubble has been pumped with overseas investors, while the local population continually struggles to find affordable housing. Premier Christy Clark expressed her concerns of the issue on Monday, stating “we are taking measures to ensure that homeownership remains in reach of the middle class and that we continue to put British Columbians first.”

Data accumulated by the provincial government shows that there has already been over $1 billion in BC property investment by foreigners from June 10 to July 14 alone, of which 86% were in the surrounding Vancouver region. So, in a city where an average single-detached home sells for a whopping $1.56 million, a foreign buyer’s tax might actually deter offshore investment. For example, a $2 million property now has an additional tax of $300,000. Furthermore, fines for offences include the amount of unpaid tax and interest plus an additional $100,000 on individuals and $200,000 for corporations. This tax could result in a high penalty that not all investors are willing to fork out.

Although revenue is not the incentive for imposing the new foreign buyer’s tax, it definitely generates a good amount of money for the provincial government. The proceeds are said to go towards further restoring housing supply and affordability. Economists believe other provinces should lead by example and impose a similar tax to protect their housing markets. Ontario would be particularly wise to do since they are experiencing similar issues with Toronto’s real estate market. Furthermore, revenue could easily be put toward offsetting the eastern province’s budgetary deficit.

On the contrary, British Columbia is in no need of the financial incentive and locals have voiced their concern 0ver the negative impact this tax could have on the provincial economy. Foreigners who have lived in Vancouver for years now fear that they will also be taxed despite being a fully assimilated “local” in British Columbian society. Furthermore, an estimated 2,300 pre-sale properties in the Metro Vancouver region are connected to foreign buyers who scrambled to close the deals before the implementation date of the tax on August 2.

Of course, the foreign buyer’s tax is in its infant stages. There are still countless kinks to iron out since it’s announcement. For one, the government’s legislation will accommodate for flexibility in the 15% tax, increasing or decreasing it by 5% as it sees fit in the future. Still, there is certainly no way to predict how Vancouver’s housing market will react to the extra toll in the short and long run. Nevertheless, the municipal and provincial government has begun to address the housing bubble, hopefully taking a step or two closer to increasing supply and deflating outrageously high prices.

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Multiple Choice Tips for Real Estate Exam

So you’re looking to become a real estate agent through the Ontario Real Estate Associations (OREA) Real Estate College? Then you must be prepared for the two-phase, five-sectioned course that lies ahead of you. Regardless of if you’re in the Pre-Registration or the Articling segment, you are required to take a multiple choice test in order to pass the course.

Most people like the sounds of multiple choice, thinking that the right answer will jump out to them automatically and if all else fails: just pick C! However, that is not the case whatsoever. Multiple choice tests have the notorious reputation of unexpectedly high difficulty. Therefore, it is important to prepare yourself on both the real estate materials as well as the strategic thinking to ace multiple choice format tests. Of course, we want you to maximize your time to learn the actual material so here are some quick and easy tips from for you to consider going into your first phase test!

Before The Multiple Choice Test:

1. Start Studying Early. Give yourself enough time to cover all the material thoroughly. That means more than once! Start at least two weeks beforehand – that means more study blocks to spread the material out over. This gives your brain a better ability to retain the information in your long-term memory versus cramming it all in the day before. Try covering 1-3 major concepts per study session and begin each session with a review of what you did last time.

2. Don’t Just Memorize. Many people believe they can memorize all material and pass with flying colours however that is not the case with multiple choice tests. Knowing a definition word for word is usually not enough. Instead, focus on the overall concept and how it can be applied, interpreted, compared, and contrasted to other topics. This will give you a better and broader understanding covering all the bases, big and small.

3. Test Yourself In Multiple Choice Format. Being able to explain what you learnt in the courses’ in an essay format is amazing but you know that long answers questions will not be on the test. Practicing with multiple choice sample questions will prepare you for the test format, something that is absolutely crucial for this type of evaluation. Search online for practice MC questions or make your own and swap with a fellow course-mate. Time yourself accordingly to see how you test with multiple choice questions and where you can improve.

During The Multiple Choice Test:

1. Keep Track Of Your Time. It is easy to get stumped early on and lose track of time. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than running out of time and scrambling at the end. A good idea is to figure out how many minutes you have per question by dividing the total number of questions per total test time. Keep this as a reference when completing each question. Some questions will take less time and some will take longer. That is okay as long as you are aware of how much time you’ve taken and how much longer you have left!

2. Don’t Skip Around. Skipping around pages and questions gets confusing and is a huge waste of time. No matter what, you’re going to have to come back to each question and choose an answer. Therefore you should go through the test in the order it is displayed to you. If you’re unsure about the question right off the bat, mark it down and move on. Once you’ve answered all the questions you know, go back to the ones you struggled with. This gets the easy ones out of the way first without stressing yourself out skipping back and forth.

3. Read All The Choices Before Answering. Many people will see an answer that stands out to them at a glance, circle it and then move on. However, if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to thoroughly read all the options then you won’t have a fair chance of answering it correctly. Although your instincts are great to go off, think about each answer before jumping to a conclusion.

4. Don’t Panic If You Can’t Choose. If more than one answer looks correct, re-read the question. Which answer completely addresses the question as a whole? If you have to make assumptions or feel the need to explain why you chose one answer, it is usually incorrect. With that in mind, don’t over think it! Trick questions aren’t as common as people think, the questions can turn out to be tricky just because the test-taker is reading too far into it. Lastly, what does your gut tell you? Think about what answer feels right to you. Although this isn’t infallible, it’s better than just guessing.

5. Don’t Let Multiple Choice Get The Best Of You! People get psyched out about multiple choice. Some find the concrete decision-making makes it too difficult to choose. Others see patterns in their answers, like a streak of D’s, a lack of E’s or A-B-C in a row and get scared. Don’t let the format itself affect your ability to apply your knowledge! Avoid listening to “conventional wisdom” like “Pick C!”, “choose the longest answer” or “avoid ‘none’ or ‘all of the above’ answers”. There are no patterns or underlying multiple choice schemes that are trying to sabotage you. Don’t sweat the technical stuff, focus on applying your knowledge and you will see the best results!

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