What's on the market? How much are houses and condos selling for? What's my place worth? Can I get a mortgage? Answers to these and more from seasoned Dominion Lending Centres mortgage consultant, Laura Stein, and top realtor, Lyn Hart with Macdonald Realty Ltd.

When: Tues. Sept. 16th, 2014 7-8 pm
Where: The Drive Mortgage Store, 1250 Commercial Dr. Vancouver




A Little Help to Purchase Your First Home!

As well as record-low mortgage rates, first-time home buyers have other incentives to reduce the cost of homeownership. These include:
  • The ability to withdraw up to $25,000 from a RRSP for a downpayment, interest and tax free. (A couple can draw out a total of $50,000). Talk to your bank for more information.
  • A $750 First-Time Home Buyers Credit that can help with closing costs.  
  • Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the BC Property Transfer Tax of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% of the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000.
  • The BC Home Owner Grant, which helps reduce property taxes by up to $570 with the basic grant and a further $275 for those who qualify.

You qualify as a first time home buyer for the Property Transfer Tax  if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada),
  • you have lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property, or you have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date you register the property,
  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time (a principal residence is the usual place where an individual lives), and you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.
  • the fair market value of the property (land plus improvements) is not more than the qualifying value of $425,000 (only if purchasing an existing home),
  • the land is 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller, and
  • the property will only be used as your principal residence.

Please note: If there is more than one purchaser and not all purchasers qualify for the exemption, only the percentage interest acquired by the first time home buyer(s) is eligible. Your lawyer or notary can advise you on all requirements when closing.


Listing Your Home...Seller Beware!

So you’ve decided to sell your home and have an idea of what you think it’s worth. You schedule appointments with three local listing agents who have been referred by a friend or relative, or work in your neighbourhood regularly. Each Realtor recommends a list price and shows you comparative data to back up their opinion.

Two of the Realtors have come up with prices that are lower than you hoped. Although they back up their recommendations with recent sales data of similar homes, you still think your house is worth more.
When you interview the third agent, they tell you a price much more in line with your own anticipated value, or maybe even higher. Suddenly, you are a happy and excited home seller, already counting the money!
If you’re like many people, you pick Realtor number three. You eagerly sign a listing contract with this Realtor because this is an agent who seems willing to listen to your input and work with you. This is an agent that cares about putting the most money in your pocket. This is an agent that is willing to start out at your price and if you need to drop the price later, you can do that easily, right?

The truth is, you may have just met an agent engaging in a questionable sales practice called "buying a listing". By suggesting he might be able to get a higher sales price than the other agents recommended, he raised the odds considerably more in his favour that you'd choose him and essentially "bought" the listing. Most likely, he is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at that price.

The intention from the beginning was to get that listing and eventually talk you into lowering the price. In the long run, you may sell at a price similar to what was suggested by the other agents, or may even lose money if the property is on the market too long.

Remember that, ultimately, the market place establishes your home’s value. There are many factors that determine the market - regional economics, time of year, and condition of the property, to name a few. Realize that a good agent must consider all of these factors and that marketing plans and negotiation abilities are far more important than just a high market estimate.

Choose your agent based on honesty, ethics, experience, marketing, and how comfortable you feel working with them. After all, you are trusting them to advise and act in your best interest.


For the second year in a row, Macdonald Realty has been voted Best Neighbourhood Real Estate Office in Vancouver by Georgia Straight readers!
With three convenient locations in Vancouver - Kerrisdale, Downtown, and our new Main Street office, Macdonald Realty is commited to innovation and professionalism.
Macdonald Realty also placed first for total sales volume in the Real Trends 200 survey of Canada’s largest brokers in 2009. The results were published in the May 2010 edition of Real Trends magazine and reported by the National Post, Vancouver Sun & The Province.


Realtors with Macdonald Realty are recognized by more Canadians for their knowledge, professionalism and quality of service. When you call me to help you buy or sell, you can be assured you´ve made the right decision! 
For the Georgia Straight’s 16th annual Best of Vancouver issue, readers completed more than 10,000 online ballots on everything from their favourite politician to the best place to buy cheap drinks. There are over 250 readers’ choice categories, dealing with a vast number of topics. The people have spoken - Macdonald Realty is the best neighbourhood real estate office in Vancouver!
See our ad on page 166.

Former FSBO CEO Sells Home the Traditional Way!

AGBeat News, August 3, 2011 -  Founder and former CEO of, Colby Sambrotto, listed his 2,000 square foot New York condominium on his own through online classified ads and FSBO sites, but after six months, he opted to hire New York broker, Jesse Buckler, who immediately advised a price change as the listing was not attracting the right buyer.

After giving up on the DIY route, Sambrotto’s decision to hire a broker led to attracting multiple offers, closing for $150,000 over the original asking price! The Wall Street Journal reports the listing sold for $2.15 million including a 6% commission.
Many FSBOs Turn to Realtors
      The news stands as an enormous validation of the real estate profession and while some may tease, it is no laughing matter and the former FSBO CEO made a good financial decision.

      AGBeat columnist, Herman Chan, said, “If people want to take a stab at For Sale By Owner (ie: FSBO), go for it. But well over 80% of FSBO’s eventually have to list with an real estate agent to get their house sold. It’s harder than it looks!”

Not a New Dilemma
      Marlow Harris, Seattle residential and investment consultant at Coldwell Banker Bain Associates, told AGBeat, “The founder’s dilemma is one we see quite often and is not unusual. Trying to sell your own property yourself or using a discount brokerage, is not the solution for everyone. Unusual properties, properties in the higher price range, these are more difficult to sell and often require specialization.”
      Harris continues, “We see these choices across the board, from single family homes to huge housing developments. For instance, Vulcan, one of Paul Allen’s companies which has invested heavily in Redfin, does not use Redfin to market their many condominium projects. They use traditional real estate firms such as John L. Scott, Williams Marketing and Matrix Real Estate, finding that the do-it-yourself approach to real estate just doesn’t work for these types of sales.”
AgentGenius is a rapidly growing real estate social media, tech, news, and opinion site built and designed by and for the on-the-go agent. Their mission is to be a positive force in the industry, led by people inside of real estate. They aim to keep up to date on trends in order to forecast what’s next on the horizon. Visit their website at

Scrapped B.C. HST Means Consumer Savings!

CBC News - August 26, 2011 - B.C. families can expect to save hundreds of dollars a year once the province returns to the PST and GST system, which the provincial government Friday said would be completed by March 2013.
An independent panel appointed by the government reported in May that families earning between $40,000 and $60,000 a year would pay about $350 more annually in sales taxes due to the HST. That amount rose to more than $1,000 a year extra for individuals or families making more than $100,000.
"There is a slight benefit to consumers under the old PST system compared to the HST," said Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for the Central Credit Union. One of the biggest objections to the HST — which combined the five-per-cent GST and the seven-per-cent PST — was its application to many items that previously had not been taxed.
After the announcement Friday that the HST had been rejected in the provincewide referendum, both Premier Christy Clark and Finance Minister Kevin Falcon promised that all the product and service sales tax exemptions that existed before the HST would be reinstated.

Range of consumer items:

Some of the items that consumers can expect — in 18 months — to once again be PST-exempt include:

  • New homes over $525,000.
  • Real estate fees.
  • Moving services.
  • Home renovations and landscaping.
  • Purchase or lease of a fuel efficient vehicle.
  • Restaurant meals and snack foods.
  • Domestic flights, coach bus, rail and taxi.
  • Sporting events, movie tickets, gym memberships, concerts, camping sites
  • Beauty salon services.
  • Over-the-counter medications.
  • School supplies.
  • Wedding expenses.
  • Telephone and TV service.

Critics of the PST point out that there may not be any real long-term savings under the PST system, because it will provide less government revenue and lead to an increased provincial deficit, which theoretically will have to be paid for eventually with tax dollars.


How to Budget for Home Maintenance

Courtesy of Pillar to Post Home Inspection
It's important for home buyers to remember that all homes, old or new, need ongoing maintenance.

First, buyers should understand the 1% rule. This rule postulates that normal maintenance on a home is about 1% of the value of the home per year. For example, a $250,000 home would require $2,500 per year to maintain. This would be enough to replace the roof covering...and then, a few years later, to replace a failed hot water tank...and then a few years more until a new central air system is required.

Then there is the 3% rule. Some experts say that home buyers should plan on spending 3% of the value of the home in the first year of ownership. This is because new homeowners will most likely have to buy drapes, blinds, a washer and dryer, a stove, maybe even a new roof covering. Also, new homeowners often customize the environment to their taste, so they need to budget for repairs, replacements and maintenance.

In addition, most home components have fairly predictable life cycles. For example, the typical life cycle of a high-efficiency furnace is 15 to 20 years. What this means is that most high-efficiency furnaces last between 15 and 20 years.

One way to know the extent of the maintenance needed and the costs to repair and/or replace items is to have a home inspection conducted. Home inspectors are required to let the buyer know if a component is significantly deficient or if it is near the end of its life cycle (service life), and a reputable home inspection company may offer up-to-date repair-cost guides to help clients with their planning.

Home inspectors work with Realtors and buyers to help them understand the issues that are found in the home, regardless of age, offering the right perspective and objective information. Home buyers need to understand that it's normal for items in a home to wear out. This should be regarded as normal "wear and tear" and not necessarily a defect.

A good home inspection determines the current condition of the house, offering a report of all the systems and components in need of maintenance, service, repair or replacement.

For example, consider a home inspection that uncovers that the heating system is old and requires replacement. A home buyer may see this as a huge problem. However, this problem may be the only item in the home that requires attention. If a buyer were to look at this situation in perspective, this home could be well above average-a home merely requiring a new furnace.

A good home inspection provides objective information to help the buyer make an informed decision. Knowing what items need to be budgeted for repair or replacement will help home buyers plan or negotiate better and not be stuck with unexpected costs of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Also, fixing these items will make a marked improvement on the performance of a home and minimize issues that could affect its future integrity...and value.
To find a licensed Home Inspector near you, contact Lyn at 604-724-4278.

Top 25 Grants and Rebates for Property Buyers and Owners in BC


1. Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box | 1.800.959.8287


2. GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box | 1.800.959.8287


3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST)

Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250.  1.800.959.8287

4. BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)

Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST, up to $26,250 per unit. | 1.800.959.8287


5. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyers’ Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue | 250.387.0604

6. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2010) x $5,000. For the 2010 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue Agency | 1.800.959.8281


7. BC Home Owner Grant

Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,150,000. For 2011, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,150,000, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,264,000. An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,150,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,319,000+. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office.
8. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs

Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors.

Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program.

Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children.

Qualifying low income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue and enter ‘Property tax deferment’ in the search box or contact your municipal tax office.


9. Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants

This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites. | 1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408


10. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund

Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving renovations. | 604.731.5733


11. Energy Saving Mortgages

Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. | 1.800.769.2511


12. Low Interest Renovation Loans

Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 renovation on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. and and in the search box enter ‘energy saver loan’.

13. LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program

Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with Terasen Gas, BC Hydro, and FortisBC. Rebates are for energy efficient products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider. | 1.866.430.8765

14. BC Residential Energy Credit

Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel receive a BC government point-of-sale rebate on utility bills equal to the provincial component of the HST. or go to Google and in the search box type in ‘Residential Energy Credit rebate program.’ It is the first item. | 1.877.388.4440


15. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates

Mail-in rebates of $25 - $50 for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers

until March 31, 2011, or when funding for the program is exhausted. | 1.800.224.9376


16. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program

This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition. | 604.881.4357


17. BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program

Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR high-performance windows and doors. This offer is available

until March 31, 2011.

html | 604.759.2759 for a free in-home estimate.


18. BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons

To save energy, BC Hydro offers rebates including 10 % off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone. Check for new offers and for deadlines. | 1.800.224.9376


19. Fortis BC (formerly Terasen Gas) Rebate Program

A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a water heater, $150 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace (both good

until March 31, 2011) and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system (good until February 29, 2012).| 1.888.224.2710

20. Terasen Gas Efficient Boiler Program

For commercial buildings, provides a cash rebate of up to 75% of the purchase price of an energy efficient boiler, for new construction or retrofits. | 1.888.477.0777


21. City of Vancouver Solar Homes Pilot

This rebate of $3,000 (about 50% of the cost) is for a Vancouver home owner upgrading to a solar hot water system from a gas system. Offered by the City of Vancouver, SolarBC, Terasen Gas and Offsetters on a first come, first served basis

until March 2011 or until the City reaches its target of 30 solar homes. | 604.873.7748


22. City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program

The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. and in the search box enter ‘rain barrel program.’ 604.736.2250. Other municipalities have similar offers.


23. Vancity Green Building Grant

In partnership with the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity provides grants up to $50,000 each to qualifying charities, not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives for projects which focus on building renovations/retrofits, regulatory changes that advance green building development, and education to increase the use of practical green building strategies. GreenBuildingGrant | 604.877.7000


24. Local Government Water Conservation Incentives

Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.


25. Local Government Water Meter Programs

Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.


Market Value vs. BC Assessment Value...
What's the Diff??
Your BC Property Assessment is the valuation on which your property taxes are based. You'll receive your local tax notice in June each year. The assessments are mailed out at year end and property owners must realize that annual assessments can only be appealed before January 31st.
Typically, there's a difference between the property value assessment on the assessment notice and the market value determined by a professional REALTOR®. Home owners often want to know what the difference is.
Your assessment notice is BCA’s estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1st of any given year. BCA has a database of 1.8 million properties. When a new property is created through zoning or construction, or an existing property changes, a BCA appraiser visits the site and reviews lot size, structure and other factors including whether the property is on a quiet street with backyard lanes or on a busy boulevard.
BCA appraisers don't visit each existing property annually to update the database. Instead, they use what is called a mass appraisal system, calculating values by evaluating prices for homes sold in each neighbourhood, or of similar units in a strata complex as of July 1st and then applying the information to arrive at an assessed value. BCA analyzes a range of factors for each property including house type, square footage, age, heating, and even outbuildings such as garages, sheds and gazebos, as well as pools and spas.
A REALTOR'S® market value assessment is typically current. In our active local market, six months can mean thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars difference!
I'll determine the value of your property by scrutinizing the most recent comparable data for homes sold in your neighbourhood on the MLS®. I'll also examine the exterior and interior of your property in detail, noting alterations and major renovations, such as new kitchens or bathrooms that affect the value of your home. I'll also take into account view lines, architectural styles and landscaping.
Where every lot and every home on the street are generally the same, both BCA’s value and a professional REALTOR’S® value will be similar, assuming a stable market. Differences will likely occur in neighbourhoods where every lot on every street is different, every home’s architecture is unique and every view is distinct. Differences also occur when property owners make changes such as renovations that BCA does not know about. For more information from BCA, visit
If you're considering selling your home, I'd be happy to give you a current Market Analysis for your property so you can expect the best price in today's real estate market. Call me at (604) 724-4278 to arrange a consultation.

Macdonald Main Street Opens!

To serve you better, I'm pleased to announce the opening of my new eastside office located at 4387 Main Street and 28th Avenue!
The 875 square foot boutique office is located in the trendy Main Street area that borders both the east and west sides of Vancouver and serves Vancouver central and points east. 
 Drop by to say hello. I'm always happy to help!

Mortgage Rate Forecast

By Cameron Muir, Chief Economist and Brendon Ogmundson, Economist, British Columbia Real Estate Association
The Canadian economy grew at the exceptional pace of 6.1% in the first quarter of 2010, propelled by a booming housing market, strong consumer spending and the rebuilding of private sector inventories. Moreover, growth in the second quarter of 2010, while not expected to register the sizzling pace of the previous six months, should be a robust 3%-4%.
However there are signs that the economy, if not stalling out, may be slowing down. April’s monthly GDP print was disappointingly flat as consumers moved to the sidelines, sending retail sales lower by almost 2%.
Even if Canadian consumers are beginning to tire out, economic growth should be supported in coming months by projects initiated under the federal government’s infrastructure stimulus plan. This stimulus will provide a needed boost to the economy through the remainder of 2010, with projected impacts peaking in the third quarter, but will create a drag on growth in 2011 as the stimulus is withdrawn from government expenditure.
The strength of the Canadian economic recovery over the past six months is evidenced by the over 300,000 jobs created in the Canadian economy since the beginning of the year. While this exceptional rate of job creation stands in stark contrast to the gloomy employment situation of our southern neighbour, it also re-affirms the need for the Bank of Canada to begin withdrawing its emergency level of monetary stimulus by raising interest rates, particularly given the proximity of core inflation to its 2% target rate.
The withdrawal of monetary and fiscal stimulus from the Canadian economy in coming months will result in slower growth in both the second half of 2010 and into 2011. This growth slowdown may be further exacerbated by weaker than currently anticipated US and global economic growth as well as a higher Canadian dollar resulting from a rise in Canadian interest rates relative to the United States.
In all, slower economic growth and inflation that is within the Bank of Canada’s comfort zone should mean that, while interest rates are certain to rise, the pace of interest rate increases should be orderly and the level of interest rates will remain near historic lows through the remainder of the year.
© Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Brokers in Rankings Wrangle
Garry Marr, Financial Post 
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - The first survey ranking Canada's top real-estate brokerages is being released today and industry executives are already squabbling over the top rankings.

      The top firm in the country by dollar value of transactions is Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty Group, which had more than $4.7-billion in sales in 2009, says the survey by Real Trends Inc., which provided an advance copy to the Financial Post.

      But the results are being challenged by Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. chief executive Phil Soper, who said they are "self-reported."

      Colorado-based Real Trends, which has been doing the survey for 20 years in the United States, said all the data were verified by either an external accountant's letter certifying the accuracy or, if the firm was part of a branded chain, explicit approval by the franchisor.

      Dan Scarrow, the vice-president of strategy with Macdonald Realty, said since most of the transactions go through the Multiple Listing Service, they are public and easily verifiable. Any brokerage making up a number is sure to be called on it, he said.

      "We are the largest independent brokerage in a very large market and the market is very fragmented," said Mr. Scarrow in explaining his No. 1 ranking on the list.

      The No. 2-ranked firm in terms of dollar value was Re/Max Real Estate Central in Calgary, with $2.75-billion in sales. That Re/Max brokerage, with 242 agents, finished more than $200-million ahead of Mr. Soper's fifth-placed Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., which has 1,258 agents.

      "It's grossly wrong," said Mr. Soper, casting doubt on the findings that did place his firm No. 1 in the country by volume of transactions, with 9,849 sales concluded. Royal LePage operates a franchise model and also has 15 offices that are corporately owned.

      "We sent out announcements multiple times to everybody, from [the Canadian Real Estate Association] to all the national brands. Every single one of them.

"We talked to other brokerages who do business in Canada," said Steve Murray, editor of Real Trends. "I'm sure somebody will be left out, but we tried to make sure every broker who does 500 transactions in Canada had a chance to apply."

      Real Trends does not charge brokers to be part of the list, but does try to sign up companies for its subscription service. "Brokerages can benchmark themselves against others and see the general trends among different brands and provinces," Mr. Murray said. "The large brokers can see whether they are doing better than the market, as well as the market or trailing the market. There is all kinds of statistical stuff that has never before been available to the Canadian market."

      He admitted there has been some resistance to the rankings in the Canadian market because some brokerages have never revealed such information before.

Of the 200 firms that participated, there were 392,898 transactions, Real Trends says. That represents only about 42% of total transactions in Canada. There were 465,251 transactions in Canada conducted through the MLS in 2009, according to CREA, and each transaction has a buyer and a seller.

      Michael Polzler, executive vice-president of Re/Max Ontario Atlantic-Canada, said those not on the list this year because they chose not to participate might think twice in 2010 as the survey becomes more well-known.

      "Our market performance speaks for itself," said Mr. Polzler. Brokerages under the Re/Max brand had four of the top 10 spots in terms of sales and dollar value of transactions.

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