Covid-19 and the Real Estate Market
There's no mistaking that we are living through strange times indeed when words such as pandemic, self-isolation, social-distancing and quarantine become liberally sprinkled into our daily conversations, as if they have been here all along.
Never have we ever witnessed such a stoically united front as the entire world fights Covid-19 together. Our lives have been abruptly ruptured, paused and placed into chaos as we lean into this pandemic and gird ourselves for what comes next. The least we can do is stay at home, check-in with our friends and family, and be truly thankful for what we have.
Customary dinner conversations once concerning local Real Estate have largely been replaced by effective hand-washing techniques, Netflix suggestions and where to purchase toilet paper.
That hot-hot seller's market, which bolted out of the gates early in January, is now mostly at a stand-still as buyers pause their searches. Some sellers have suspended their listings, and those brave enough to tough-it-out have seen a significant reduction in the number of viewings. Sadly, some sellers were caught on opposing lanes of the purchasing and selling highway when Coronavirus came to town, and it is largely for these clients that Real Estate remains an essential service, with diametrically altered rules of engagement.
Unless a seller absolutely needs to list their property right now, most agents would strongly advise against doing so. Fewer eyes on the listing combined with limited physical capabilities for actually ‘showing’ a home, translate into a weak process and an even weaker price. How long should we all wait? Well, even the most respected industry experts don’t know the answer to this one…….maybe two months, maybe longer, and possibly even a bit longer than that?
Despite tantalizingly low interest rates, previously active buyers are opting to hunker down and sideline their search. Justifiably, they are worried about layoffs, and the precariousness of purchasing a home during a time when their savings should remain liquid for the foreseeable future. Others may well anticipate a buying opportunity, but with seriously limited inventory the choice simply is not there. Even hard-core investors are realizing that this isn’t the sweet deal that they were expecting, regardless of the fact that borrowed money is incredibly cheap. With a legislated moratorium upon evictions, tenanted property will remain tenanted, and that lucrative flip or duplex conversion just isn’t going to run smoothly with anticipated labour and supply restrictions.
Here, at TrilliumWest, we are adjusting and collaborating upon new ways to operate and service our clients, when physically visiting a property may not be possible or even practical. For various reasons over the next few months, real estate will continue to be traded, although this definitely is not business as usual. It is absolutely crucial that any new listings rely heavily upon a virtual platform and are accompanied by high-resolution videos, digital open-houses, home inspection reports and an excessive number of photos.
Now, more than ever before, it is critical that the marketing of properties is achingly transparent, that they reach a vast audience and are highly accessible. Writing offers conditional upon ‘safe and secure’ viewings at a later date, accounting for potential extensions due to quarantines, mandating electronic signatures, emailing offers, and requesting that keys be left in a lockbox on the property (instead of with the legal team) are all becoming the fabric of our new landscape.
Serving our clients in the most effective manner while keeping all parties safe and healthy is our top priority.
On a more positive note, these same rock-bottom interest rates are expected to remain for an extended period after we finally wave goodbye to Covid-19 and host our massively anticipated global hug-fest. Housing will play an incredibly important role in our economic recovery and in the collective revving of the National engine once again.
Stay tuned my lovelies, we shall prevail. And when the time is right, your favourite realtors will be at your service...... rested up, with the cleanest hands ever, and ready to make some noise.