Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter in Chilliwack on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter in Chilliwack on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Fraser Valley MLAs debate value of proposed homebuyer ‘cooling off’ period

Draft legislation aimed at calming real estate bidding wars that arise from waiving conditions

Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter took to Twitter last week to counter the notion that B.C.’s real estate market has “cooled off” as suggested by the MLA for Abbotsford South, Bruce Banman.

The back and forth between the Fraser Valley MLAs came following the debate in the B.C. legislature on the new homebuyers’ protection legislation, called the Property Law Amendment Act.

The Act, introduced on March 28, is aimed at calming the frenzied bidding wars and multiple unconditional offers with a “protection period” for homebuyers to give them time to assess, finance, and inspect the home they want to buy.

RELATED: Government prepares to give homebuyers more time

Banman was sharing his view that the new legislation’s “cooling off period” was only going to make things worse.

“But here’s the good news, Mr. Speaker. In my neck of the woods I’ve talked to a few realtors and they’re now having open houses again,” Banman said in the legislature. “It’s cooled off.”

The MLA for Abbotsford South was speaking against the bill, suggesting the move by the NDP “really isn’t actually needed as much as people think it is.”

But that response was a little “out of touch” on the part of the Opposition MLA, Coulter suggested, even though there has been a slight decrease in average prices in March.

“Wow. That’s not what my constituents say,” Coulter tweeted in response on April 4.

“When it comes to housing, Kevin Falcon’s BC Liberals have proven that they’re not looking out for regular people,” Coulter said last week. “These comments show that the BC Liberals would make housing even more expensive.”

An estimated 70 per cent of offers are made without conditions, putting enormous pressure on people to waive conditions such as a home inspection or financing approval, which is why the Chilliwack MLA said he has been advocating for this direction taken by the province.

“Our government has been fighting the housing crisis, but we have much more work to do,” Coulter said. “That’s why the homebuyer protection period is an important step in protecting people buying a home.”

Banman tried to clear up what he meant by his comment in the legislature last week.

“Let’s clarify, I was not insinuating the prices have cooled off, I heard from Abbotsford realtors and those who have homes for sale that the panicked multiple bidding has drastically reduced in my riding,” the Abbotsford MLA tweeted on April 4.

“When housing prices are so unattainable, combined with the risk of higher interest rates, prospective homeowners are cautiously monitoring the market. When the NDP have met only a fraction of their promised 104,000 housing units, what’s needed is more supply.”

In terms of the average Abbotsford price for a single-family home, it was at $1.52 million in March 2022, an increase of 42.5 per cent, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

According to the latest numbers from Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, there were 846 listings available at the end of March, up from 543 at the end of February. Buyers had more to choose from and the result was a modest 4.70 per cent drop in the price of single-family homes. So while the average price of 179 units sold still topped $1-million, it did fall from $1,118,254 to $1,065,740. But it was still a 26.29 per cent jump from March of 2021 when 390 units sold for an average of $841,894.

-with files from Eric Welsh

RELATED: March saw real estate inventory rise

Something to add to this story, or a story tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Abbotsford City HallCity of ChilliwackReal estate