Navigating the Real Estate Market around COVID-19

The ​COVID-19​ virus has certainly changed the landscape of life across Canada and around the world. The Canadian real estate market has also been affected on both a long and a short-term basis. The threat of this virus has caused people to make hard decisions during this time but has also challenged us to find new solutions. For people that have had to buy or sell a home during the pandemic crisis, solutions have been found by both buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

Individuals who work in non-essential businesses have packed up their computers have been working from home. People are avoiding public places and other businesses in order to help curb the effects of this health concern. At the same time, for people that need to buy or sell on an immediate basis, it can be difficult. Going into other people’s homes just isn’t going to work at this time so other ways to buy and sell a home must be put into place.

A New Strategy

In order to conduct business in the real estate industry in Canada, a new viewpoint and action strategy must be worked out by agents and their brokerages. In Ontario, the government has decided that real estate agents deliver an essential service but that certainly does not mean that it’s business as usual.

For now, it’s almost impossible to make a specific real estate forecast regarding the performance of the market as this pandemic continues to evolve. There are some signs, however, of what could possibly occur and we will take a look at some real possibilities regarding how the market, including the sale of pre-condos in Toronto​ may look like.

Short-Term Analysis

On a short-term basis, the market for spring sales will be much cooler than earlier expected. The ​World Health Organization​ declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic back on March 11, 2020. At the time, the Canadian home sales market was gearing up to be a record-breaking season far surpassing the statistics seen in earlier years. This was especially true in the larger cities across the country. February performed very well in terms of sales on a year-over-year basis, with a rise of 27% across Canada. This was a clear indication that the season for spring buying had started ahead of time.

In Vancouver, home sale transactions went up by 44.9% on a year-over-year basis while in Toronto, sales went up by 45.6%. Many of the large cities in Canada reported fewer new properties being sold, which produced a tight sellers’ market – leaving buyers feeling the squeeze. It was indeed considered to be a strong start for sales in 2020.

Covid-19

Once the virus took a foothold in the country, however, the market activity slowed right down. Many sellers were hesitant to go ahead with selling their homes due to the difference in sales techniques, the spread of the virus and the new social-distancing rules. Many sellers understood that holding off on the sale until the end of the pandemic was the smartest move they could make.

This does not take into account, however, the people that had to sell their homes straightaway. Some people have had to move right away and sell their homes for various reasons such as a job transfer,

selling due to a divorce etc. They are highly motivated sellers and in this market where buyers are hesitant to look for homes, sellers find themselves at a distinct disadvantage on the playing field.

Buyers as well have found themselves in quite a predicament this spring. Open houses have been cancelled and many times the home seller does not want random strangers coming into the home for a viewing. There have definitely been a lot of obstacles to overcome in terms of homes, ​townhomes​ and pre condos Toronto ​for sale.

Canadian Real Estate amidst Financial Insecurity

A lot of buyers that had decided to purchase a home in the spring may have decided to put their plans on hold indefinitely until the end of the pandemic. The downturn in the financial market, unemployment fears, lost savings and uncertainty about job security have become real problems for many. These are uncertain times, to say the least, and many are not willing to push forward to purchase a home until the situation calms down. Many people just want to be sure that they will have a job when everything has been said and done. Needless to say, many buyers are sitting on the sidelines and waiting to see how the pandemic evolves.

Real Estate Agents Are Finding Creative Solutions

Agents have stood up to the plate and have shown that they are resilient and dedicated to their industry even in the toughest of times. The buying and selling of real estate, after all, is an essential service so the agents have had to come up with creative solutions while dealing with social distancing. Virtual home inspections have become the new normal with high-end technology leading the way towards sales for homes and pre condos in Toronto. Some buyers have been willing to make a purchase without ever having physically entered the home.

Long-Term Analysis

There is a stalemate in place between buyers and sellers right now and it’s hard to know how long this will last. It all depends on Covid-19 and how long the threat of this virus will continue. It can be difficult for people to participate in home sale transactions during uncertain times. This may go on for a while even after the pandemic is over. With that being said, however, it is expected that the market activity in the GTA will recover quickly once we see the stabilization of the financial markets along with a normalization of life as we once knew it returning in Canada.

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