The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed daily life for individuals around the world. In Ontario, there have been many changes to industries and the way business is conducted. For example, non-critical construction projects had to temporarily stop and restaurants could not offer dine-in services. But, what about the housing market? Spring is one of the hottest times in the market. So, how has the timing of the virus affected real estate in the area? Here are three ways.
1. Canceled Open Houses
COVID-19 has certainly made it challenging for buyers to step inside a home. When the virus first began spreading throughout the community, many real estate firms and associations recommended and urged that all open houses be canceled for the unforeseeable future. While this made it difficult for some homeowners to sell their house, real estate agents looked for alternative ways to show a home.
Virtual home tours have emerged throughout Ontario. With this option, homeowners can feel like they are walking through a house without setting foot inside. It allows the homeowner to see many features of the house, get a feel for its layout, etc. In fact, research shows that there has been a 500% increase in home tours since the pandemic began.
2. Inventory is Limited
Many individuals who would consider selling their homes during the spring market are holding back. This has caused a limited inventory in Ontario. According to statistics by the Canadian Real Estate Association, national home sales fell 14.3% on a month-over-month basis in March 2020. The number of newly listed properties dropped 12.5% month-over-month in March as well.
2. Buyers are More Hesitant
Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments an individual will likely make. The coronavirus pandemic has caused many homeowners to be more hesitant as they make this large purchase. Many have held off due to a decrease in inventory and the challenges to truly see the home in person. It is also recommended that if there is no urgent need to purchase a home at this time, that you hold off. This will help limit the spread of the virus and reduce your interactions with other individuals.
Additionally, the real estate transaction can experience some delays, which are causing some concerns among buyers and sellers alike. While banks, title companies, and other financial institutions are considered essential businesses and open during this crisis, due to short staff, reduced hours, and other issues, paperwork, financing, appraisals, home inspections, and other steps in the process can be delayed.
If you have questions about the current real estate market or you want to learn more about buying or selling during the COVID crisis, give real estate agent Martin MacFarlane a call today.