Fraser Valley Real Estate Board on recent vote
With a likely change in who governs the province, the NDP/Greens, there will be a fair amount of uncertainty amongst those who do business and invest money in BC, until they feel comfortable with the new climate. One sector that does not seem overly concerned at this early date is the real estate industry, according to Gopal Sahota, the President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB). He spoke with Ray Hudson about his expectations for the market in the early days after the election.
Ray Hudson: We’ve just had an election where it won’t be business as usual. How do you see this impacting the real estate market, is there a ripple, does it slow down or carry on undisturbed?
Gopal Sahota: This board has seen political cycles for almost 100 years. It’s philosophy is to work with any political party. We are certainly open to talk about affordability. I think BC and the Lower Mainland in particular, is a desirable place to live. Right now the demand is still there and the supply is still limited so there’s still pressure on the market. People, from all over the country and all over the world want to move into this area.
Ray Hudson: What was the effect of the Foreign Buyer Tax legislation from the previous government?
Gopal Sahota: I don’t have the numbers with me but I don’t think the impact was that significant. Look around, they’re still building like crazy, stuff is selling like crazy, multiple offers are still occurring, and foreign buyers are still buying.
Ray Hudson: Any legislative changes you’d like to see a new government bring in?
Gopal Sahota: The independent advisory group from last year made quite a few recommendations, and the Superintendent of Real Estate is looking at them quite seriously. They are going to implement some of the recommendations, such as the problem of “dual agency” when agents represent both sides in transactions. We were looking to eliminate it, but there has been some pushback from real estate boards in particular. At the same time there have to be some exemptions to that. But there are these recommendations that are supposed to protect the public, and this board is for anything that protects the consumer. I want to make it very clear that the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is determined to be proactive in consumer protection. So with those recommendations and a new government, we’re waiting to see what’s going to happen.”