Before the escalation of COVID-19, the Spring Market of 2020 was set to be a record-breaker. We had a strong February that we thought would carry through into the summer. But due to COVID-19 forcing parts of the economy to shut down. As the snow melts across the Canadian landscape in what is normally a prelude to the busiest weeks of the year, the housing market is showing signs of slowing down. We won’t know the economic damages for a month or two, but it’s clear how much has changed in the last few weeks.
The first two weeks of March were strong will sales up 50% from the previous year. Last week sales took a nosedive, down 37% compared to 2019. New listings were down 33%. RBC bank analysts speculate that resale homes could dip down 30% due to social distancing.
The real estate industry, including both agents and clients, should understand that the COVID-19 State of Emergency and response from all levels of government is changing rapidly. Agents are frequently monitoring developments as answers to questions are changing daily.
The real estate industry is considered to be an essential business. But just because many offices are still open, doesn’t mean business is running as per usual. Office employees are working from home, and professional photography and staging are limited. This declaration was done to ensure homeowners with pending closings (those individuals who have bought and need to sell or vice versa) are still able to transact. Business is continuing, just at a reduced pace.
The Toronto Real Estate Board strongly advises that Member agents do not conduct open houses to reduce the risk of spread and keep all involved in the transaction healthy and safe. The Ontario government has banned gatherings of more than 5 people in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. Virtual tours, video conference calls, digital staging and other measures of showing properties are strongly recommended during this time.
If agents have to visit the sellers’ home, they are working to combat fears by keeping at least six feet away from clients, carrying around hand sanitizer and wiping down doorknobs, counters, cabinets and other surfaces that are considered high-contact areas. Also, handshakes are out.
There is no telling how long COVID-19 will be around or how long it will continue to impact our livelihoods, but one thing is for sure: the real estate market will bounce back. Our last dip was back in 2017 and within two years, the market had come back stronger. The market could rebound in 2021 as low-interest rates, a strengthening job market, immigration and buyer demand improves. Once the health risks caused by COVID-19 are minimized and financial markets stabilize, the market activity will resume.
So, what does that mean for you right now? Well, if you are in the position that you need to buy or sell your property, you should, and you still can. If you are not in the position to urgently buy or sell, take this time to prepare your house and organize your finances.
The market is changing every day and we will keep you posted with the updating news. If you have any questions about what you can do now to prepare for the market let me know. I’d be glad to give you some ideas.
We are doing everything we can to ensure those who need to buy and sell right now can. We want to make sure they are where they need to be safe.
At Knowledge Broker, our goal is to create an open-source of information for all our clients. We want to ensure that, at the end of the day, they get exactly what they want and what they need. If you know someone who could use our help or services please put them in touch with us or send us their details using the contact information below. And before you go, click here to take the Knowledge Broker Quiz and see exactly what we can do for you!