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British Columbia Real Estate Panel Aims to Investigate Shadow Flipping

Posted by Guenee Abragan on Mar 17, 2016 08:15 AM EDT
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In this photo illustration an array of property For Sale marketing boards are erected at sign manufacturers Real Estate Advertising Ltd on March 11, 2015 in Tamworth, England. (Photo : Getty Images/Fiona Goodall)

A British Columbia real estate panel has been set up to examine whether real estate agents have taken advantage of BC's overactive housing market. The panel will scrutinize shadow flipping and other unscrupulous practices that have come to attention in the recent months.

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The superintendent of BC real estate put together an eight-member panel to examine the behavior of agents and how the self-regulating body for the profession handled allegations of misconduct. The B.C. real estate panel's formation was due to an investigation done by The Globe and Mail into shadow flipping which is contract assigning in technical terms. The practice is done by arranging a property sale and then locating a new buyer who is willing to pay more before the deal closes.

A two-page document discussing the panel's terms of reference said it will look into issues identified in the latest public commentary relating to the practices of real estate licensees and their associates that are potential risks to consumers and the public interest. According to CTV News, the issues mentioned included contract assignments; dual agency, conflict of interest, disclosure, misleading advertising, and predatory sales practices.

The panel will accept public submissions and give out recommendations to improve enforcement and protect public interest. The group, which is under Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers, will issue an interim report in April and a final report in May according to The Vancouver Sun.

B.C. real estate groups have been under increasing pressure to adjust to the rising cost of housing, and the fact that foreign investment is pushing the market. The latest provincial budget included points to track foreign ownership, as well as tax measures to promote the construction of new housing. 

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