We all know that the real estate market in 2020 was very hot in the GTA, and in fact in most cities in Canada, even though we suffered through a global pandemic. For many people though the bigger real estate story in 2020 was the exodus of city dwellers escaping the big city in favour of the country life.
For some the pandemic and the pivots they made to working from home, and also schooling their children from home, was a big wakeup call. They embraced it as an opportunity for a total reset and a chance for a brand new lifestyle with a slower pace and quieter surroundings. As realtors is was as though we could hear a rally cry, a call to action.
Nothing in our world was moving the same way, people had a huge desire to move and it became clearer than ever that home really is where the heart is.
It seemed that even people who had previously not really been considering a move were confident that 2020 was the year to make the move. The most popular trends we saw were that people wanted homes with a big back yard and garden, a finished basement, and a nice neighbourhood with parks and a sense of community. For many it was to move out of the city.
We saw people who quarantined for four weeks at their vacation property come back and say that they were going to make it their permanent home, other people who just knew it was time to leave the city and they were not super particular where they ended up as long as they had space, a quieter lifestyle and a place to quarantine away from it all.
It seemed that the pandemic pushed people who had never considered a move out of the city to all of a sudden crave huge a lifestyle change. For many it was a now or never kind of thing and they could not wait to get on their way out of the city and embrace a slower pace with a lot more space.
As a result, the values of many rural properties and cottages skyrocketed. Some folks were simply looking for a true vacation property, a place to hunker down and isolate until COVID-19 passes. For others they simply did not look back and made a permanent move. Out with the old and in with their new lifestyle.
It became clear early on that the things that had been most important to buyers pre-COVID-19 were often no longer a draw. We often said a backyard pool had become the new toilet paper – a most coveted item – and we could not satisfy the appetite of buyers for the extra space, the pool or the room for a dog house because it also seemed that every second person now had a dog to consider.
Clearly 2020 was a year like no other, for everyone. For those of us in real estate not only did we pivot and find a way to serve our clients safely, but we also supported them to find their dream home, extra space for their new dog, a home office and of course that recreational property. Even if it was just a temporary escape from the city. An escape and a change in lifestyle is something many of us craved in 2020.
Although we hope it’s not repeated, 2020 was a unique year. We came together as a community, and as neighbours. It was our privilege to serve you, our clients and friends in 2020 and we wish you all the very best in 2021. And remember we have an office in Prince Edward County if you want to make that move out of the city.