The Province of BC has introduced legislation that now requires a cooling-off period on the resale of properties and newly built homes.
The government says that the change, similar to the cooling-off periods already in place for pre-construction condo sales, is intended to better protect consumers in the real estate market.
A cooling-off period is a limited period of time in which buyers can change their minds and cancel the purchase with no or diminished legal consequences. The parameters of a cooling-off period will be a case-by-case basis and the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) will consult with key stakeholders to help determine them for resale properties and newly built homes.
“People looking to buy a home need to know they are protected as they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. Especially in periods of heightened activity in the housing market, it’s crucial that we have effective measures in place so that people have the peace of mind that they’ve made the right choices,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “With this step, we’re moving ahead to protect people and their interests in the real estate market by bringing in a cooling off period for homebuyers and looking at additional measures to ensure effective safeguards are in place.”
The B.C. Financial Services Authority also will be consulting with those in the real estate industry and other experts on more ways to protect consumers, including a review of the blind bidding system, which can significantly raise the price of purchase.
Finance Minister Robinson says the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the real estate market, first by dipping during the initial weeks of the pandemic then surging and she adds that the consumer protection consultation “needs to be done right.”
Blair Morrison, CEO of the BCSFA, says ensuring fair markets and promoting public confidence in B.C.’s real estate sector is a key priority.
“BCFSA’s goal is to ensure that British Columbians are protected when buying and selling homes – one of the most important financial transactions of their lives. Both buyers and sellers need to be supported and have time to make good financial decisions.”
On Aug. 1, 2021, the BCFSA became the single regulator for all financial services in B.C., including real estate.
The creation of a single authority responsible for regulating real estate in B.C. was intended by the government to help ensure a more coordinated approach to regulating all parts of the financial sector while better protecting British Columbians buying and selling homes.
BCFSA will start its industry consultation in the coming weeks.
More information can be found online at https://www.bcfsa.ca/