COVID-19 has led to a time of fear and uncertainty for many. Whilst these feelings still remain to an extent, we now have personal protective equipment (PPE) and other precautions in place to help us navigate a “new normal” as the world slowly starts to reopen.
For those in the real estate market, that fear has been heightened since most people were not comfortable enough to conduct viewings. However, the market continues to churn and opportunities to buy and sell remain.
I spoke with Real Estate Broker, Pina Rao-Wittersheim, hoping to get some clarity on the current and future uncertainties surrounding the market.
At the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown, market confidence was thrown. “In May, the GTA Realtors reported 2,975 residential transactions through MLS. This result was down 67% compared to the same time last year,” she says.
Surprisingly though, sale prices (outside of the downtown core) have increased. “May saw an average selling price increase of 4.6% and in July, there was a further 16.9% increase compared to last year,” she says. These rate changes would likely impact the original budgeting put in place for buying or selling your home.
Although it’s “business as usual”, much like other industries, it also is not. There has been a major shift in the market turning towards the digital world to sell properties. Realtors have started using online platforms and performing live virtual tours. Pina, who has been in the business for over 34 years, believes that nothing beats seeing the house, or your future home for that matter, in-person. Although propelled by COVID-19, the change was bound to happen as advances in technology also lead to advances in real estate.
“The common challenge for us all though,” she says, “is recovering and rebuilding from what we lost.” Although a lot of people need to sell their homes, many people are scared off of the market due to the unstable job economy, which has driven the market down in some areas.
On a positive note, confidence is continuing to grow month-to-month as we all trudge through the year and become accustomed to the new way of doing things. The total number of residential transactions seems to be doubling each month and Pina believes now is a great time to buy.
Through this high demand and low supply of houses, the number of condo listings has been booming. Airbnb has been out of commission due to COVID-19, so many people are selling their condos, leading to a lot more options available for home buyers.
Another plus is that, also due to the coronavirus, interest rates are at an all-time low as the government is trying to stimulate the market and encourage buyers. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have also made some positive adjustments for first-time buyers.
If you’re looking for your next home or thinking about buying in the near future, be sure to do your due diligence in the safest way possible before moving forward with your purchase.
I'm a creative, passionate individual with an eye for a good story. Find me on my best days drinking coffee, listening to the summer rain, reading about the next wellness trend, or learning about Toronto's cultural hotspots.