Realtors also to blame for out-of-control Vancouver growth – analysis

A politically charged environment combined with an alarming decline in industry standards have led to the seemingly out-of-control affordability situation in Vancouver—and realtors share much of the blame for the city’s predicament, according to the former president of the Real Estate Institute of Canada.
Writing for The Globe and Mail, consultant and private developer William McCarthy argued that the housing industry in British Columbia is unique among Canadian provinces, and not for the right reasons.
“In British Columbia, both the centre-right provincial government and the centre-left City of Vancouver share the same group of fundraisers and ‘advisers’ from the real estate and development industries,” McCarthy explained.
This insular quality is what makes the province’s real estate sector vulnerable to irrational steps fuelled by groupthink, like the continuous “dumbing down” of licensing requirements for aspiring professionals.
“Real estate promotes itself as a profession and career, but in 2003, the requirement that you had to be employed solely as a realtor was waived. It can now be a part-time endeavour” McCarthy wrote.
“Other legislation, such as members adjudicating complaints between fellow members and the public (instead of member disputes only) favour the industry, not the consumer,” he added.
Such decisions have led to an alarming decline in standards that could inflict irreversible damage upon the industry, McCarthy warned.
“The real estate industry, financial institutions and governments together have forgotten basic housing metrics which worked efficiently for generations: markets and prices aligned to local incomes and financial stability,” he said. “It should be no surprise that lowering the threshold to enter the housing market has seen a simultaneous rise in personal debt as well as housing prices.”
In the final analysis, McCarthy said that realtors’ interests should not override those of the public and the industry as a whole.
“Politicians do not seem to understand what they have created,” he lamented. “Jurisdictions which truly aspire to be ‘world class’ do not follow the wisdom of condo sales people.”

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate


  • by 2016-05-20 1:28:11 PM

    Nothing mentioned about the must earn 18 credits for education over a 2 yr period, every 2 yrs to retain your licences interesting manipulation of facts--

  • by James D Cain 2016-05-20 3:25:50 PM

    Reading the comments of William McCarthy leads me to believe that he is so far out of touch with the real estate community and their responsibilities.
    I am currently licensed in Alberta but spend about half my time in BC . I am familiar with the inner workings of a Board as I volunteered for many many years on the Professional Standards Committee which investigates complaints from REALTORS(R) and the public. Nothing is further from the truth to say we would favor the REALTOR(R) . In fact it is the opposite. We come down hard on any member who contravenes the rules and regulations.
    As for financial institutions being lenient on home buyers. Let me tell you again this is so far from the matter at hand. The vetting the financial institutions are doing today is unbelievable. Not to mention the Federal government and CMHC and their policies to cutback on approvals making it tougher for consumers to qualify.

    Perhaps Mr. McCarthy should spend some time in the field before making such irresponsible and disparaging remarks about REALTORSR)

  • by Brian 2016-05-24 10:34:07 AM

    So... how is poor licensing requirements and the low bar to become a realtor these days pumping up the the real estate market? I'm not seeing his point? That may be true but supply and demand is driving the market. People who write articles for a living sure love oversimplification with a scapegoat for good measure. It makes their bullshit easy to understand.

Get help choosing the best mortgage rate

Just fill in a few details, and we'll arrange for a Mortgage adviser to help you find the best mortgage for your needs

  • How soon do you want a mortgage?
  • Name
  • Where do you live?
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

Industry news

Submit a press release


Do you invest in commercial properties?