The year in review: REM’s top 10 of 2023

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As 2023 comes to a close, REM is celebrating its top 10 posts. Take a look at how the year played out in Canadian real estate and what you found most interesting.


10. OREA membership fees expected to surge over 700% after ORWP approval


“Following a decisive vote in favour of the Ontario Realtor Wellness Program (ORWP) on Tuesday, a mandatory insurance and benefits program for realtors in the province is set to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2024.

To fund the ORWP, annual dues will increase for Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) members. The cost per individual is expected to be around $660 annually on top of regular fees. Based on the current membership of approximately 96,000, the ORWP would result in an additional $63.3 million in dues being collected.”

Check out the rest of the story here.


9. Overbidding trend in the GTA has ‘totally reversed’


“The Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) real estate market has witnessed a swift transformation, shifting from rampant overbidding earlier this year to a surge in underbidding in August. Wahi’s recent analysis reveals that 70 per cent of the 245 GTA neighbourhoods have now entered underbidding territory.

To put that into perspective, nearly 70 per cent of neighbourhoods were in overbidding territory at the beginning of the summer, and according to Wahi, August saw the highest share of underbidding neighbourhoods since February.”

Learn more about this market change here.


8. Town’s offer of $500 serviced lots boosts population


“When it came down to do or die, they chose to do. The progressive town of Smooth Rock Falls in northern Ontario came up with a plan to offer $500 serviced lots as a way to draw residents and reverse its declining population.

In 2006, after the main and only employer, Tembec Mill, closed after being in business for over 100 years, there was an exodus of residents, says Mayor Sue Perras. “People sold their houses for whatever they could get. Some just left their homes behind.”

The residents who remained wondered about the town’s future, and so did its community leaders. Something had to be done.”

Find out what Smooth Rock Falls did here.


7. Cyclical bottom in sight for Canada’s housing market: RBC


“According to a new report from RBC, the start of 2023 in Canada’s housing market has been a continuation of the quiet trend seen at the end of 2022. 

In the company’s latest special housing report, Robert Hogue, assistant chief economist with RBC, notes that January results from some of Canada’s real estate boards show persistent weak activity and price declines across the country, with few exceptions.

Calgary remains one of the few markets where demand and supply conditions remain “remarkably tight,” though sales volume is down from last year’s “sky-high” levels.”

Learn more about RBC’s findings here.


6. Sellers awarded $210,000 after buyers fail to close due to “unforeseen circumstances”


“In a collapsing real estate market, buyers who fail to complete a purchase can face substantial liability exceeding their deposit; the case of Switzer v. Petrie arose from a failed real estate transaction in Ontario in July 2022.

The buyers backed out due to “unforeseen circumstances,” prompting the sellers to resell the property at a lower price; they later sued for the price difference, totalling $212,302.11.”

Read about the case details here.


5. Realtor sued for misrepresenting identity of buyer


“In Ker v. Deol, a motion judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered whether the buyer’s real estate agent could be added as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the seller arising from an aborted transaction.

While an agent should not lie about who they are acting for, it is not clear whether a representation about the identity of a party entering into an APS will always give rise to a duty of care based upon reliance by the other party as to the person signing the APS.“

Find out what happened here.


4. Canada amends foreign homebuyer ban regulations


“Only months after it first took effect, the Canadian government announced amendments to the regulations surrounding the country’s foreign homebuyer ban. 

While temporary, the act and its regulations have caused confusion and unintended consequences for Canada’s real estate industry, including some developers shelving plans to build new housing.

The changes, announced Monday, expand exceptions to allow non-Canadians to purchase residential properties under certain circumstances and seemingly address many of the concerns raised over the last few months.”

Learn about the changes made here.


3. Ontario realtors face mandatory health benefits program: What you need to know


“The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) assembly, made up of representatives from member boards, will hold a special meeting on Jun. 20 to vote on the Ontario Realtor Wellness Program (ORWP), which, if approved, will take effect Jan. 1, 2024. 

OREA president Tania Artenosi sent a message and video to local boards a while back explaining that the program would be the first of its kind in North America. Surveys have indicated to OREA that far too many of its members currently don’t have private health insurance and that a safety net is a top desire, Artenosi notes.”

Read more on the ORWP here.


2. REM EXCLUSIVE: Havre’s $4 billion Calgary realty team leaving Re/Max


“One of Calgary’s top-producing realtors, Justin Havre, and his team are leaving the Re/Max Canada brand to join forces with eXp Realty, the world’s largest independent real estate company.

Havre is one of the most prominent realtors in Calgary with a team consisting of 60 agents and 18 staff. His team has been beyond successful for years, selling almost 9,000 homes in Calgary since 2016.”

Find out more about Havre and his team here.


1. Canada will have 1.45M new homebuyers by 2025. Where will they live?


“New research from Statistics Canada points to a painful but unavoidable truth. Canada wants lower home prices and higher immigration, but we can’t have both, at least not without significant changes.  

What kind of changes? Well, we desperately need changes to zoning in our biggest cities to accommodate new arrivals, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.”

See what else REM’s columnist had to say on the issue, here.


Well, there you have it — the most read of REM in 2023. What do you think the biggest stories will be in 2024? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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