During this chaotic time, our first thoughts are with those who are being impacted by the virus, by the closures, and general stress that is affecting so many people in our community.
When the virus was declared a pandemic, I heard someone use the term “infodemic”. This seems to be the reality. As we uncover more information about the virus, and the news becomes more and more sensational, it is important to really take time to understand and sort through the loads of information coming our way. It is easy and normal to feel a little uncertain or concerned. After all, this is new for all of us.
We hope that by talking about the real estate market, we can answer some of the questions around how these changes are affecting real estate. Of course, just as the news we receive changes hourly, the real estate market could see changes too.
We are no longer being asked “what’s my house worth” or “how’s the real estate market”. Instead, the first question from our clients, family and friends is “how is this virus going to affect the real estate market?”
As of today, March 13, 2020, real estate in the east end is still going strong. We have been in a very strong sellers’ market, with low listing inventory. The Toronto real estate market appears to be (up until now, at least) very isolated against the financial and investment markets, which have been drastically affected.
In terms of the Toronto real estate market (up until today, anyway), the momentum has been and still is incredibly strong.
We are still seeing multiple offers on a regular basis and, for the most part, there are way more buyers than sellers.
Momentum like this does not dissipate in a day or even a week. Remember: overall, our listing inventory is very low, so it will take quite some time to satisfy the active buyer demand.
In my opinion, today’s drop in the posted rate of .75 by the Bank of Canada will be like adding jet fuel to an already fast market.
We are not seeing a drop in our showing activity on listings and buyers are anxious to get out and find a property. Many buyers have sold their homes and are very motivated to buy. Again, things can change hour by hour.
Here are a few things to think about if you are buying or selling in the middle of this pandemic:
- Use common sense
- Follow all of the recommendations and guidelines of Health Canada
- If you are a buyer out looking at houses, wash your hands often. Don’t shake everyone’s hand. Hire a Realtor and avoid open houses. Don’t touch other people’s things
- Carry disinfecting wipes, soap or hand sanitizer
- Ask your Realtor what their process is to keep everyone safe and minimize risk at this time. Do they provide gloves so you can open drawers, or do they bring disinfecting wipes to clean up door handles and light switches before you touch them? Your Realtor should be able to ask the questions about the sellers you would need to know
- Have they travelled recently?
- Has the seller or their family been ill? Been in quarantine?
If you are selling right now, ask your Realtor what processes they have in place for showings. Don’t have public open houses, allow only pre-booked showings, and limit the showing time to 15 minutes. Have your Realtor ask the questions to determine if the buyers have travelled to a high-risk area, or if they have been ill. If you are concerned consider the option of a virtual appointment using FaceTime.
We share your concerns not just here in the city, but across the globe — in terms of staying safe and in terms of the real estate market.