ALR – Agricultural Land ReserveA provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use, farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled.
AmortizationThe number of years a borrower is scheduled to repay the entire amount of a mortgage.
AppraisalAn estimate of a property’s market value, used by lenders in determining the amount of a mortgage.
AppreciationThe increase of a property’s value over time.
AssessmentThe value of a property, set by the local municipality, for the purposes of calculating property tax.
Associate BrokerAn individual that holds a broker license and chooses to associate or affiliate with another sponsoring broker rather than opening their own brokerage office.
Average PriceThe average price of all home sales over a given period calculated as total dollar volume divided by total unit sales.
Balanced MarketA market in which the sales to active listings ratio is in a range of 14 to 20 per cent. In general, a balanced market results in home prices remaining relatively stable.
Bank of Canada Overnight Target RateThe target level interest rate set by the Bank of Canada at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or “overnight”) funds among themselves.
Basis PointA unit equal to 1/100 of one per cent used to denote changes in bond yields and other interest rates. For example, a 25 basis point change in the Bank of Canada’s target overnight rate refers to an increase of 0.25 per cent.
Benchmark Property or Home PriceA property or home price against which other properties can be evaluated.
Bond YieldThe percentage return that an investor can expect to earn from a bond issue over the maturity of the bond.
BrokerageA real estate company or syndication real estate under which an individual is licensed.
Buyer’s MarketA housing market is typically characterized as a “buyers’ market” when there is an excess of supply over demand for homes. This is generally assumed to be when the ratio of home sales to active listings is below 14 per cent.
Capitalization (“Cap”) RateThe ratio between the net operating income produced by an asset and its capital cost (the original price paid to buy the asset) or alternatively its current market value.
Carrying CostFinancial and operational expense associated with an investment. For example, the carrying cost of an insured mortgage would include the monthly mortgage payment as well as CMHC mortgage insurance charges.
Closing CostsExpenses in addition to the purchase price for buying and selling a property.
Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI)A measurement designed by BCREA to forecast changes in broad commercial real estate activity. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/news-and-publications/economics/forecasts-andpresentations.
CondominiumShared ownership in property. Owners have title (ownership) to individual units and a proportionate share in the common elements.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)A measure that examines the weighted average of prices of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care, calculated by averaging price changes for each item.
Conventional MortgageA mortgage loan that does not exceed 80 per cent of the lending value of the property.
Core InflationA measure of inflation that excludes products that face volatile price movements or that can have temporary price shocks which can diverge from the overall trend of inflation and give a false measure of inflation. The Bank of Canada’s measure of core inflation excludes eight of the Consumer Price Index’s most volatile prices including energy products, fruits and vegetables, mortgage interest costs, and tobacco products.
CounterofferOne party’s written response to the other party’s offer during negotiation of a real estate purchase between buyer and seller.
Debt Service RatioThe percentage of a borrower’s gross income that can be used for housing costs, including mortgage payment and taxes (and condominium fees, when applicable).
Down PaymentThe part of the purchase price of a property that the buyer pays in cash and does not finance with a mortgage.
Gross Debt Service RatioThe ratio of housing costs (including mortgage payments, taxes, heating costs, condominium and other fees, if applicable) to gross monthly income. A general rule applied by mortgage lenders is that this ratio should not exceed 32 per cent.
Gross Domestic ProductThe monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.
Grow OpA marijuana-growing operation, usually located in a house.
Headline/Total CPI InflationThe raw inflation figure as reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is released monthly by Statistics Canada.
High-Ratio MortgageA mortgage that exceeds 80 per cent of the loan-to-value ratio; must be insured by either the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or a private insurer to protect the lender against default by the borrower who has less equity invested in the property.
HST – Harmonized Sales TaxThe tax created as a combination of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Property Sales Tax (PST), which is 12 per cent in BC. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/shelter-taxes.
Housing StartsThe number of privately owned new houses (technically housing units) on which construction has been started in a given period.
InflationA rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.
Inflation AdjustedA measure of a change in price that accounts for the period’s inflation rate.
Inflation-Control TargetThe target range established by the Bank of Canada and the federal government within which the Bank aims to contain annual inflation as measured by the rate of change in the total CPI. The Bank of Canada is currently mandated to keep inflation within a range of one to three per cent, with a two per cent inflation target.
InterestThe cost of borrowing money.
LeverageControlling a large asset with a relatively small amount of cash. In real estate, $20,000 down payment (or less) can be used to purchase (control) a $100,000 home, for example.
LienAny legal claim against a property, filed to ensure payment of a debt.
Listing AgreementThe contract between the listing broker and an owner, authorizing the REALTOR® to facilitate the sale or lease of a property.
Listing BrokerThe REALTOR® who signs a contract with an owner to sell the property.
MMedian Home Price The midpoint price of home sales transactions over a given period.
MortgageA contract between a borrower and a lender. The borrower pledges a property as security to guarantee repayment of the mortgage debt. Lenders consider both the property (security) and the financial worth of the borrower (covenant) in deciding on a mortgage loan.
Mortgage BrokerA person or company having contacts with financial institutions or individuals wishing to invest in mortgages.
Mortgage InsuranceGovernment-backed or privately-backed insurance protecting the lender against the borrower’s.
Mortgage PaymentThe regular installments made towards paying back the principal and interest on a mortgage.
Mortgage Prepayment PenaltyIs a fee paid by the borrower to the lender in exchange for being permitted to break a contract (a mortgage agreement); usually three months’ interest, but it can be a higher or it can be the equivalent of the loss of interest to the lender.
Mortgage TermThe length of time a lender will loan mortgage funds to a borrower. Most mortgage terms run from six months to five years, after which the borrower can either repay the balance (remaining principal) of the mortgage, or renegotiate the mortgage for another term.
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®)A co-operative selling system for relaying information to REALTORS® about properties for sale.
Presale Cross Reference ListA tool developed by BCREA, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC (CHBA BC) and the Urban Development Institute (UDI) to assist homebuyers in the purchase of homes under development, also known as presales.
Prime RateThe lowest rate of interest at which money may be borrowed commercially.
PrincipalThe mortgage amount initially borrowed, or the portion still owing on the mortgage. Interest is calculated on the principal amount.
PTT – Property Transfer TaxA land registration tax that must be paid when an application for a taxable transaction is made at any Land Title Office in BC to register changes to a certificate of title. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/shelter-taxes.
Rate (Interest)The return the lender receives for advancing the mortgage funds required by the borrower to purchase a property.
Real Estate Development Marketing ActThe BC statute that imposes disclosure requirements on developers marketing various forms of development.
Real Estate Services ActThe BC statute that imposes licensing requirements on persons who provide trading services related to real estate, rental management services and strata management services.
REALTOR®A real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Only these professionals can call themselves REALTORS®.
RefinancingThe process of obtaining a new mortgage, usually at a lower interest rate, to replace the existing mortgage.
Sales to Active Listings RatioThe sales to active listings ratio is a measure of balance between supply and demand in the housing market. It is calculated as the number of unit sales divided by the number of active listings.
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR)A rate adjustment used for economic or business data that attempts to remove the seasonal variations in the data.
Seller’s MarketA housing market is generally characterized as a “sellers’ market” when there is an excess of demand for homes over current supply as measured by active or new listings. A sellers’ market typically occurs when the ratio of home sales to active listings is above 20 per cent.
Shelter TaxesBCREA describes the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) as provincial shelter taxes. HST and PTT negatively impact the affordability of housing, which directly impedes the quality of life of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/shelter-taxes.
Superintendent of Real EstateThe office of the Superintendent falls under the BC Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM), an agency of the provincial government that provides public protection through ten statutes, including the Real Estate Development Marketing Act which governs marketing, sales and long-term leases of development units.
TermThe length of time a lender will loan mortgage funds to a borrower. Most mortgage terms run from six months to five years, after which the borrower can either repay the balance (remaining principal) of the mortgage, or renegotiate the mortgage for another term.
Term MortgageA non-amortizing mortgage under which the principal is paid in its entirety upon the maturity date. Sometimes called a straight loan.
TitleThe legal evidence of ownership of a property.
Title SearchA detailed examination of the ownership documents to ensure there are no liens or other encumbrances on the property, and no questions regarding the seller’s ownership claim.
Total Debt Service RatioThe maximum percentage of a borrower’s income that a lender will consider for all debt repayment (other loans and credit cards, etc.) including a mortgage.
UnitTerm used to describe the individual home or apartment held by the owner within a condominium development.
Variable-Rate MortgageA mortgage for which payments are fixed, but whose interest rate changes in relationship to fluctuating market interest rates. If market rates go up, a larger portion of the payment goes to interest. If rates go down, a large portion of the payment is applied to the principal.
Year-to-DateA period, starting from the beginning of the current year, and continuing up to the present day.
Zoning RegulationsStrict guidelines set and enforced by municipal governments regulating how a property may or may not be used.
“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.” BCREA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.