Commercial Activity Declined in 2019 Q4

The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) fell for the second straight month to 134.3 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Compared to the same time last year, the index is up by 0.3 per cent.

Provincial economic activity continued to slow in the fourth quarter of 2019, with declines in wholesale trade and manufacturing sales more than offsetting a gain in retail. This left the economic activity component of the CLI negative for the sixth consecutive quarter. Office employment was up for the sixth consecutive quarter, but not enough to offset a decline in manufacturing employment, resulting in a negative change in the employment component of the CLI. The financial component of the CLI was also negative following three consecutive quarters of positive performance. The underlying trend in the CLI has been relatively flat over the past six quarters, suggesting a continued stable environment for commercial real estate activity in the province.

BC’s economy continued to slow in the fourth quarter of 2019. Weak manufacturing sales in durable goods, and lower wholesale trade sales in motor vehicles and machinery and equipment, put a drag on economic activity. Meanwhile, retail sales were positive after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Despite this, retail sales ended 2019 with the lowest growth rate since the financial crisis in 2009.

Employment growth in key commercial real estate sectors such as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing continued to be positive, up by 1,600 jobs in the fourth quarter. In contrast, manufacturing employment fell by 6,700 jobs from the previous quarter.

The CLI’s financial component was negative in the fourth quarter due to a decrease in benchmark Canadian REIT prices and an increase in short-term borrowing costs.

Regional Sub-Market Data – at-a-glance charts.

Regional Sub-Markets provides BC’s real estate boards and REALTORS® with regional sub-market data, in the form of at-a-glance charts.

These charts provide information on average prices and sales in the province’s 11 real estate board areas and regional sub-markets for different housing types (single detached, apartments and townhouses). They also provide a comparison of monthly average prices and sales with the same month in the previous year. These charts are updated monthly to provide timely snapshots of regional sub-market trends across the province.

Click on the relevant real estate board chart below to access sub-market charts for that region. (Kamloops and Kootenay sub-markets will be added soon.)

Note: Regional sub-market data can experience large month-to-month changes, particularly in smaller areas. Therefore, adjustments have been made in order to smooth out the volatility.

  • BC Northern
  • Chilliwack and District
  • Fraser Valley
  • Greater Vancouver
  • Northern Lights
  • Okanagan Mainline
  • Powell River Sunshine Coast
  • South Okanagan
  • Vancouver Island
  • Victoria

BCREA Calls for Increased Federal/Provincial Cooperation to Tackle Money Laundering in BC

Vancouver, BC – February 26, 2020. Today, the BC Real Estate Association makes our opening statement to the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia.

“We are committed to working with government to better understand this issue and address any pre-existing vulnerabilities within our sector,” says BCREA CEO Darlene Hyde. “It is our hope that by working collaboratively we can steer a path forward that strengthens consumer protection measures and limits illicit impact on the housing market”.

To date, there have been few dependable statistics that indicate the true size and scale of money laundering in the BC real estate sector. Estimates often quoted from the Maloney Expert Panel Report on Money Laundering are based on the Utrecht Gravity model, which is not evidence-based. Figures as high as $5.3 billion are frequently quoted from the report, but by Maloney’s own admission those figures are at best a calculated guess, based on theoretical models.

Money laundering exists in the shadows. To truly address this issue and stem the tide of illicit funds will require coordinated effort at the international, federal and provincial levels with harmonized data sharing and joint investigative efforts.

“It is our hope that the outcome of this commission is a clearer, evidence-based indication of the scale of money laundering in BC,” says Hyde.

Last April, in collaboration with several sector stakeholder groups, we issued recommendations to assist with identifying and recommending necessary change. We continue to urge the provincial and federal governments to consider these recommendations:

  • Accept only verified funds – For sectors of real estate that are not already required to do so, we recommend that they accept funds only in forms that are verifiable through Canadian financial institutions.
  • Mandatory anti-money laundering education – We recommend the introduction of mandatory anti-money laundering education for all real estate professionals subject to the reporting requirements administered by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) to ensure that those professionals are trained in recognizing and reporting suspicious transactions. As a first step, we were pleased to see the Real Estate Council of British Columbia introduce mandatory training for real estate professionals in January. FINTRAC should work with sector organizations, regulators and the provincial government to improve existing resources so that they better reflect real-world situations and improve compliance.
  • Smart regulation – We recommend that the federal government amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to allow FINTRAC intelligence to be made available to additional regulatory authorities, including the BC Securities Commission and the BC Financial Services Authority. Optimally, the federal and provincial governments, as well as their respective agencies, should coordinate their actions, share information, such as the provincial assignment registry, and create a comprehensive, efficient enforcement regime.
  • Ongoing engagement – We recommend governments and regulatory agencies, including FINTRAC, better utilize on-the-ground experience of real estate professionals to develop compliance resources and test policy ideas. This will result in well-crafted, practical regulation and foster a culture of compliance to protect consumers and the economy.
  • Timely and transparent reporting – We recommend that FINTRAC implement a framework to identify and report trends on a regular basis and in language that is consistent and understandable to professionals, the public and media. This reporting system should also include consistency in examinations with immediate feedback designed to help industry professionals improve their compliance systems.

BC Government Presents Stay-The-Course Budget

BC’s Budget 2020 offers some new investments to assist homeowners and their communities, but falls short of substantial changes to improve housing affordability.

We’re pleased by the promise of an additional $419 million investment over three years to support CleanBC for home and workplace electric vehicle charging stations and new pilot programs to further reduce carbon emissions. An additional $195 million will also be invested over three years to help communities better respond to and recover from wildfires, floods and other emergencies.

These are the highlights of the few budget items related to housing:

  • an additional $118 million in operating funding and $56 million in capital funding to support BC’s housing strategy. This will result in a planned $1.1 billion in total capital funding to support housing and homelessness initiatives over the next three years,
  • a new exemption to the Property Transfer Tax that will be introduced for qualifying Canadian-controlled limited partnerships. Effective on royal assent, the Property Transfer Tax Act is amended to clarify the calculation of partial principal residence exemptions where the land is greater than 0.5 hectares or the property includes non-residential improvements, and
  • amendments to the Land Tax Deferment Act to centralize program administration within the Ministry of Finance, effective May 1, 2020.

In BCREA’s response to the Budget 2020 consultation, we recommend fairness and effectiveness in provincial property taxes, such as increasing the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold to $750,000 from $500,000. We also recommend more policies to help increase housing supply, such as exempting properties in the development process from the additional school tax using the same policy framework created to exempt development projects from the Speculation and Vacancy Tax.

We will continue to advocate for housing affordability solutions through our submission to the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability in April.

More government information on BC Budget 2020:

Changes to Stress Test Mean Good News for British Columbians

The advocacy of BCREA and other stakeholders has resulted in the Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announcing changes to the mortgage stress test.

The stress test is used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for mortgages. The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median five-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insured applications, plus two per cent. Changes will take effect on April 6, 2020.

Last year, we published a Market Intelligence Report, which concluded that the stress test resulted in an estimated $500 million of lost economic activity in BC in 2018. We met with several Members of Parliament, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Liberal MP Randeep Sarai, in addition to senior advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office Ben Chin. We also worked with other real estate sector organizations to create a joint statement on the stress test and other housing affordability recommendations.

We hope this is the first of several changes to the stress test. BCREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association and regional BC real estate boards will provide further input as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has announced that they are considering the same benchmark rate for uninsured mortgages. We will continue recommending:

  • reviewing the mortgage stress test to ensure the realities of local real estate markets are taken into consideration, and
  • allowing existing mortgage holders to be exempted from the stress test at the time of renewal.

While there’s still more work to be done, this small step will allow more British Columbians to achieve their dream of homeownership.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferer.

Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning your home. Spring cleaning is important for everyone, particularly if you’re an allergy sufferer. You owe it to yourself and your family to enjoy a clean that’s more than dirt-deep. Think allergen-deep.

And you don’t have to dread spring cleaning. Just follow our top 10 spring cleaning tips and tricks for allergy sufferers:

1. Make a Schedule

Scope out your home: What areas need the most work? Where do you skip during routine cleaning? Those are the best places to start. Regardless of where you start, having a plan for when you’re tackling each room will keep you focused on the task at hand.

2. De-clutter

Decluttering makes you more efficient and keeps you organized. But more than that, clutter has psychological influences. It signals to your brain that work isn’t done. Studies have shown that a disorganized home adds to your stress level. The scientific implications of inhaling dust – combined with the psychological stress of coming home to a pile of unsorted laundry or cluttered desk – can take a toll.

Set aside some time to:

  • Organize your closets
  • Dust and organize your office
  • Look through that dreaded junk drawer

You may be surprised how fresh you feel after you eliminate unnecessary stress from your life.

3. Always Work from Top to Bottom

dyson cordless vacuum cleaningWhen you think about how to spring clean your home, it’s important to start from the ceiling down. This will force debris downward and keep you from having to re-dust or re-clean your space. If you have a vacuum with an extension hose, use it to get cobwebs and dust from your ceilings and fans first.

Then dust your furniture and other items before vacuuming all the dust and debris off your floors. It will save you time.

4. Use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Vacuum

miele vacuum on carpetIs your vacuum ready for spring cleaning? Finding the right vacuum is one of the most important parts of spring cleaning. Remove more than just dust and build-up when you vacuum. A high-quality HEPA vacuum catches particles you can’t even see. It traps pet dander, allergens and all household particles in your home.

It’s one of the best spring cleaning supplies you can arm yourself with. Using a vacuum with HEPA filtration will remove dirt and dust, but it will also remove allergens and impurities from your air.

You’ll see this suggestion on just about every spring house cleaning list.

miele bag and inside of vacuumIf you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, look for one with attachments, like dusting brushes and crevice tools, and hoses that can be used to clean any location.

These tools make it simple to clean ceiling fans, cobwebs in corners, furniture, pillows, and tight spaces like behind furniture. Be sure to move your furniture too (or at least vacuum under it).

5. Think Green When You Spring Clean

steam cleaning a couchYou want to start spring off on a clean note, so don’t expose yourself to chemicals and toxins. A steam cleaner is one of the best green products for spring cleaning. It can be used to clean your microwave, tile, hard floors, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, and even outdoor areas.

Since steam cleaners only use hot water vapor, they are a 100% natural and chemical-free cleaning solution. But keep in mind – not everything can be steam cleaned.

If you don’t have a steam cleaner, one of the best natural combinations for cleaning is white distilled vinegar, baking soda, and water. These ingredients are affordable, non-toxic, and have worked for ages when it comes to cleaning.

See our top spring cleaning products for allergy-sufferers. They’ll clean your air, floor and furniture without a single chemical.

6. Walls and Windows Need Love too

People almost always clean their floors, but they typically forget about walls and windows. Not all dust settles on the floor and other surfaces. Just use a damp towel to wipe down walls and blinds (starting from the top). Remove and wipe down the window screens outside.

When it comes to the actual window, we don’t suggest using chemical cleaners. A steam cleaner with a squeegee is a great way to clean windows.

7. Don’t Be Scared of the Kitchen and Bathroom

steam cleaning bathroom sinkDon’t fear cleaning your bathroom! Review our full list of spring cleaning tips to quickly hit these trouble areas. Here are a few common trouble areas:


  • Wipe down your cabinets.
  • Go through your pantry and refrigerator. Wipe down the shelves, and throw away any old items.
  • If you have stainless steel appliances, be sure to use gentle cleaners or a steam cleaner to avoid scratching or other issues.


  • Change your shower curtain.
  • Go through your cosmetics drawer or medicine cabinet and throw away any expired items.

Consider installing or upgrading to a new bathroom fan. Replacing an existing fan or adding a new one can help to ensure your bathroom remains in top notch condition. They are great for ventilating moisture during showers and removing odors/vapor removal. Depending on the unit you select, it may even come with built-in lighting, automatic operation, and other user-friendly features.

8. Don’t Forget About Your Air

pleated air filterReplacing furnace and HVAC filters is one of the most important and overlooked parts of spring cleaning. In fact, replacing a standard filter with a more robust one with a high MERV rating will help keep you healthier as you enter spring.

It will catch smaller, irritating particles. Air conditioner ducts build up dust during winter, and upgraded filters catch unwanted particles so they don’t enter your space. It’s an inexpensive way to make sure you’re breathing clean, healthy air.

The best way to ensure healthy spring air void of allergens, indoor chemicals or odors is with an air purifier. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or wakes up stuffy during allergy season, adding an air purifier to his/her bedroom will help.

9. Have Severe Allergies? Protect Yourself.

Cleaning will more than likely unsettle all the winter dust on furniture and fixtures. If you suffer from allergies or are using heavy-duty cleaners, be sure to read the labels. For safe spring cleaning, wear rubber gloves, masks, scarves and even hairnets. Protective clothing will help guard against skin irritations and allergic reactions.

10. Let Spring Cleaning Set a New Tone

If your space feels dark and heavy, you can make small changes to help make it light and fresh for spring. Adding new colorful pillows or art are great ways to change up your space. Replacing items like bedding, towels, table linens, and even window treatments are other ways to transform your rooms for spring and warm weather ahead.

Don’t forget to download our full printable room-by-room spring cleaning checklist. It also includes the best supplies for spring cleaning your entire home. We hope it makes the task a bit easier for you.

Printable Room-by-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist (PDF)

Print out your room-by-room checklist by clicking the image below:

In Summary

Follow these spring cleaning tips to make your season change a breeze. Top tips include make a schedule, start by de-cluttering, always work top-to-bottom and don’t forget about cleaning your air

Single Story For Sale in Summerland

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Well maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath Country Rancher

•  1998 sqft , 2 bath , 3 bdrm single story – FOR SALE  CAD799,000 . Summerland rural property, 27.25 acres MLS® 177802

Summerland rural property, 27.25 acres. Well maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath Country Rancher is almost 2000 square feet. Open concept living, hardwood flooring, spacious laundry room, large master with 4 pc ensuite. The home is heated by a wood burning fireplace inside, as well as a wood burning central boiler furnace outside. Your bills will never be cheaper! Custom cabinets and granite counter tops. Double carport, detached garage/workshop, loads of storage, all nestled on a very private lot. Great horse property.

 ‘Home. It’s who we are.’

Click here for: Property information

Property For Sale in West, Penticton

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Great central location

•  1078 sqft , 3 bath , 3 bdrm 2 storey – FOR SALE  CAD425,000 . Reduced!
MLS® 179491

Immaculate 3 bed 3 bath townhome built in 2015, shows like brand new! Unfinished basement with rough in for a 4th bathroom. Over 1,500 sq ft on 3 levels, nice porch/deck off the living room. Beautifully finished with Vinyl Planking floors and ceramic tile, custom color appliances. Heat pump with forced air furnace. Great central location close to schools, public transit and downtown. 8 blocks off Okanagan Lake, be a great Air BnB, No restrictions. Easy to show!

Home. It’s who we are.’

Click here for: Property information

Spring wine fest tickets now available

Spring wine fest
Tickets are now on sale for the Best of Varietal Wine Awards & Reception and Valley First Spring Wine Tasting events of the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival, which is set for April 30 to May 17.

Tickets are now on sale for signature events of the 26th annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival, running April 30 to May 17.

Tickets for the Best of Varietal Wine Awards & Reception at the Penticton Lakeside Resort on April 30 are $59 at

The awards mark the traditional kickoff of the spring festival and recognize the best Chardonnay, best Merlot, best Rose, best Pinot Gris, best Pinot Noir, etc., plus singles out a best-of-show wine. Attendees will be the first to taste the award-winning wines.

Tickets for the Valley First Spring Wine Tasting on May 2 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna cost $89.

 More than 40 wineries will be pouring 160 wines, and there will also be appetizers, live music, video exhibitions in the Mary Irwin Theatre and a pop-up store so you can buy the favourite wines you tasted on your way out.

The spring festival also features 100 other events at wineries, restaurants, hotels and parks over the 18 days.

Check out for a full schedule.