The Quinte area real estate market, like real estates markets across the country, is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After reporting strong sales in March compared to 2019, the public health crisis has finally caught up to the market judging by the early numbers for April.
As of Thursday, area listings are down 63 per cent from April 2019, and sales are down 68 per cent. The average sale price has seen a slight one per cent drop while the median sale price is up two per cent from $330,000 to $337,000.
The March monthly dollar sales for residential listings resulted in an increase of 12.9 per cent with $86,013,516 for 2020 compared to $76,165,193 for 2019. The residential average sale price for March showed an increase over 2019, with the March 2020 price of $377,252 resulting in a 10 per cent increase over the March 2019 amount of $343,086.
Residential unit sales for March 2020 resulted in 228 sales, up from 222 sales for 2019, for an increase of 2.7 per cent. The number of active residential listings currently sits at 707 units compared to 833 units in 2019 resulting in a reduction of 15.1 per cent.
Heather Plane, president of the Quinte & District Association of Realtors, said “there is a lag in time that occurs between the time sales and listings are made or posted and when they report monthly sales and listings numbers.”
“Ontario has experienced significant changes during that lag-time, so many people may be wondering why real estate sales in March were strong. That’s because the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis became evident only in the second half of March,” Plane said. “The amount of market activity changed substantially as the COVID-19 public health authority social distancing measures came into practice and local realtors followed those guidelines recommending to clients to postpone real estate transactions to protect their health and safety until after the state of emergency was lifted.
“Sales figures for April will provide a more accurate reflection of the impact of COVID-19 on real estate markets throughout the province,” she said.
“A lot of real estate businesses are actually putting the extra time staff now have for training purposes, we’re upgrading our skills.
“We’re still here to help and we’re willing to help as long as everything can be done virtually,” Plane said.
“It’s our new reality and it’s quite shocking, but I’m finding that with the technology that we have, and have always had, that we’re starting to learn how to actually use it. That’s the biggest advantage of this unprecedented crisis, it’s about putting a good spin on a bad situation, we’re learning how to use the technology we have properly,” Plane said.
Sean Morrison, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association said COVID-19 is one of the fastest moving issues in our lifetimes and the association is committed to providing members with the latest information to help everyone navigate the global pandemic.
“While real estate agent services in Ontario have been deemed an essential service – it is not business as usual,” he stated. “Ontario realtors should stop all face-to-face business, including open houses, in-person showings, especially of tenant-occupied homes, and agent/public office hours during the province’s COVID-19 state of emergency.
“Now is the time to follow the advice of public health officials and stay home. Wherever possible, realtors should be using the technology to serve clients virtually through any urgent transactions that need your support.
“It is up to us as community leaders to make responsible decisions and do our part to keep our communities safe.”