July 2008 eNewsletter

I hope that you are enjoying the summer weather (between rain storms, that is)! Summer is traditionally a slower time in real estate, but there’s still plenty of inventory hitting the market on a consistent basis. If you are shopping for a house, don’t take this summer off!

Please note that this issue will deal a bit with the new FINTRAC legislation, and what it means to the real estate business – and you. I hope that you will take a minute to read it, and let me know if you have any questions.

What is FINTRAC? – Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada

According to their web site, FINTRAC “receives, analyzes, assesses and discloses financial intelligence on suspected money laundering, terrorist financing, and threats to the security of Canada.”

Statistics show that over 60% of money laundering in Canada is done through real estate. Empowered by recent legislation, FINTRAC has raised the obligation of Real Estate Brokers from simple reporting of suspicious transactions, to taking efforts to prove the identity of all parties to all transactions. From now on, all buyers and sellers will be required by law to show photo ID and fill out a form including either their passport number or license number.

This law over-rides privacy legislation. However, to protect your personal data, RE/MAX Hallmark will store all information in digital format at a secure location; the forms will be destroyed. (FYI, I will not personally retain any of the information.) The data will only be forwarded to FINTRAC if we note suspicious behavior by one of the parties involved. In the normal course of things, we will hold the data for 5 years, and then delete it.

Rest assured, Realtors did not ask for, nor do we want, this responsibility. We have been burdened with this over our objections. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Market Activity – Say it with me: “Volume down, prices up

You have heard me say this all year, and it was true again in June. Across the GTA, sales volume was down 18%, but prices were up 4%. Despite the large drop in volume, it still registered as the 5th busiest June ever – these things are all relative, aren’t they? On the listing side, there’s about 22% more supply, so that should mean lots of selection for buyers through the summer months (which are usually very tight). Although still very active by historic standards, this more balanced market should be more sustainable than the pace of previous years.

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