experts: real estate column Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Simple Plan

The real estate market in Canada is absolutely poised for continued increases in price for the next decade.

By Marty Douglas

As published in REM - independent news and opinion for Canada's real estate industry.

April Fool!

There - I got that over with. I considered leading you down the garden path with tales of the market crashing from sea to shining sea but realized some of us are of such fragile self-image that we might believe it.

Instead, let me tell you the real estate market in Canada is absolutely poised for continued increases in the price of real estate for the next decade - at least based on the cost of money and population trends. Historically, interest rates have not escalated overnight. In fact, it took 13 years for the rates to go from eight per cent in 1967 to a tad over 14 per cent in 1980. Of course, all hell broke loose in 1981 - can you spell 20 per cent, Billy? But by 1983, we were back in the 13 per cent range. In 1987 (yes, 18 years ago!), my sales meeting notes indicate a mortgage being offered at 7.5 per cent for a six-month term. We peaked at something over 13 per cent in 1991 and have been heading down to our present lows ever since.

What I'm saying is, even if rates doubled over the next 10 years - not in the government's or my blood pressure's best interest - we would still be below the average of the past 50 years. Ergo, rates will stay moderately within the ranges of today.

Aging baby boomers are not selling out and moving into rest homes, but rather selfishly clinging to the old sod and forcing the kids to go and buy their own chunk of the Canadian dream. Add to that the continued increase in immigration, and we can see the demand in housing continuing in the healthy range.

So there you have it. Overlooking a trade war, a real war and the avian flu pandemic, there don't seem to be any obstacles. We can't even drag out that old red herring of too many Realtors in the business. Pretty soon, thanks to natural attrition, our membership will be so challenged we are likely to be recruiting lawyers rather than trying to keep them out of the industry.

But that's not why I called this meeting.

I was at our board's AGM - the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, membership almost 900 and growing - speaking to a fellow instructor of the B.C. Applied Real Estate Course. That's the one you take after they certify you as safe for dealing with the public but really you're book smart but not yet street legal. A member of a recent course came by to thank us. That was unusual in itself but what came next was a bit of a bombshell.

Seems the lad had actually learned a skill and applied it.

Someone, perhaps even moi, had made the statement that many sales people fail for lack of asking for the order. He went back to work that night, called a buyer and said, "If you want to buy that house, maybe you should make an offer on it." And a deal resulted.

It reminded me of how simple this business is and how we must vigorously resist all attempts to make it complicated. We get a listing, we put up a sign, folks call us up, we give them reasons to buy, we ask for the order.

Write that down.

Repeat as necessary.

Marty Douglas is the sales manager for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., one of nine Coast Realty Group offices on Vancouver Island. He is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C., the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. 1 800 715 3999; fax 250 897 3933. Email

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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Surviving in a slower market
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The downside of teams
Saturday, October 02, 2010

Thank you, FINTRAC
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Snapshot of Alberta
Thursday, January 03, 2008

No song and dance for weighty housing issues
Monday, October 29, 2007

All articles by Marty Douglas

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