It's been quite an eventful year for Vancouver real estate -- and 2023 could be equally as so.

Interest rates are expected to be further increased for at least part of the year, and lined up are legislative changes -- such as those focused on strata rental -- that may or may not have an impact on the market.

"It was very much a year in transition, starting off fast from 2021 with a massive amount of transactions," said Kevin O’Toole, a Vancouver-based Managing Broker at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. "From that point we definitely saw a slow-down, which really did correspond to the rise of interest rates and inflation."

O'Toole says the slowdown in the market has allowed those working in the industry to catch their breath, and allowed them to go from reacting to the "frenetic" quantity of transactions to having more time to be proactive with things such as marketing and continued training.

Several legislative changes focused on real estate come into effect in 2023, which means experts like O'Toole will be relied upon for guidance in navigating those changes, as well as already-turbulent market conditions.

One such change is that to the Province of British Columbia's Strata Property Act, which ends all bans on rentals in strata condominiums (excluding short-term rentals such as Airbnbs), as well as age-restrictions for stratas (excluding those that benefit seniors). These changes were proposed by Premier David Eby in November shortly after he was sworn in, and have already come into effect, as the change is an amendment rather than a brand-new piece of legislation.

O'Toole says he knows some people in strata buildings who are upset about the change, and the change will likely succeed in increasing the amount of rental units in a province that desperately needs it -- but it probably won't have a major impact on the market.

"It might affect decisions, but I don't think it’s going to fundamentally change the market," he said.

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Aside from the strata rental changes, also coming into effect, in January, is the new rescission ("cooling-off") period, which was first announced in July.

O'Toole notes that contracts may read differently, and transactions may come to involve a two-step deposit -- one upon offer/acceptance, and one upon the deal going through -- but points out that many deals already have clauses that extend beyond three days.

"I don’t think it really makes too much of a difference, for buyers or sellers," he said.

Asked what he would advise to those looking to be active in the market, O'Toole emphasizes ongoing communication with your realtor to get an up-to-date sense of the market conditions, and to not worry about having to make a split-second decision (like many had to during a highly-competitive 2021).

"If you’re looking to do a flip, now's maybe not the right time, but if you're looking for your home for the next five to 10 years, go ahead," O'Toole said. "We've seen a tumultuous few years, but we have hope the world will settle down in 2023."

This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.