By now, everyone is aware that Canada is working together to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. What you may not be clear on is that although there is a united front, the provinces are experiencing the effects in different ways. Each province has taken a similar yet slightly different approach to implementing restrictions on its real estate industry.
British Columbia is in the midst of preparing for the hit to its real estate market with experts divided on the severity of the impact. The B.C. Real Estate Association is predicting that the pandemic will cause an initial deep recession ultimately forcing sales to decline exponentially. But there will be a rebound by next summer if the pandemic doesn’t carry on for too long.
March in Metro Vancouver normally sees strong home sales and had been in the process of rebuilding itself. Some suspect that sales volume is down about 70% with buyers choosing to postpone their search, sellers taking their homes off the market, and the ratio of buyers to sellers remaining the same.
On the flip side, others believe that the market can’t slow down forever, and people will eventually have to sell. When they do, there will be investors waiting for that to happen.
Quebec’s real estate market took a different approach than some other provinces. After closing the majority of the real estate sector, the Quebec government has now authorized real estate brokers to go back to work. The catch? Restrictions, of course. Brokers can only work on priority transactions, which the provinces defined as those that must be completed before July 31.
Open houses are not still not permitted, and in-person visits and home inspections must follow strict physical distancing guidelines. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has any symptoms associated with it must sign a document disclosing this and is not allowed to physically interact with the other parties involved.
For in-person visits, the sellers must remain outside and only one person can go inside with the broker at a time. There must be a physical distance of 2 m at all time and no children or people over 70 are permitted. All parties involved must sign a document confirming that the sale is of an urgent nature.
Manitoba is feeling the impact of COVID-19 as the market suffers a hit. Winnipeg’s real estate market continues to see a drop in sales and listings. The first week of April is normally a busy one for agents. But so far this spring, sales decreased by 25% and the number of listings fell by 50%. When the data report is released for the full month of April, the province will be able to determine just how much the beginning of the spring market is suffering during what is normally a bust time. Winnipeg is known to have one of the most affordable and stable markets. Experts are still convinced that Winnipeg will come out on top as brokers continue to see prospective buyers enter the marker or considering to within the coming months.
Like most agents, the ones in Nova Scotia have implemented the use of technology in their listings and home viewings. In-person viewings are down 75% as compared to last year. However, most sellers have decided to take their homes off the market and buyers are no longer looking. The large impact as well has been the delay in the new military transfers season. The spring market is fueled by the inbound of transfers. There are many opinions on how the real estate market may look post COVID but the consensus is that the seller’s market will not be as strong as it was before.
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