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Ask An Agent: Why Has Toronto Real Estate Been So Strong During the Pandemic? – Toronto Storeys

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When the pandemic began, Zahra Haidari received the biggest shock of her life.


Just a few days before the beginning of the shutdown, in mid-March, the Re/Max Realty Specialists sales representative had 60 showings scheduled with pre-emptive offers coming from all directions.

That was on a Friday afternoon.

“I told those agents, ‘No, no, no wait till Monday’; and then Monday came and my 60 showings and any offers I had disappeared,” she says.

But, after a brief moment of self-reflection, she regrouped, and her business became just as strong as it had been pre-pandemic barring some technological adjustments that accommodated proximity precautions.

“Most agents were already doing virtual tours, so we didn’t miss a beat,” she says. Now that she has assisted clients through the worst of the pandemic’s uncertainty to the start of reopening, her confidence has grown, and she’s well positioned to answer this week’s question.

Why has the Toronto real estate market been so strong even during the pandemic?

There are a number of factors that have pushed the market to be so active during the pandemic. COVID-19 came along in mid-March, and springtime is the hottest time of year for real estate. This year, because of a huge shortage in supply of homes on the market, the market was even crazier and hotter than other years. This was happening across much of North America because of a shortage of inventory and an abundance of buyers. Prices we’re going up because of an increase in competition. And right at that high point, COVID-19 hit.

A lot of people who were looking to buy were pre-approved or pre-qualified and some had already sold their homes. When the pandemic arrived, rather than the real estate market taking a hit, it kind of just froze in time. The market didn’t collapse during the lockdown phase of the pandemic and as those restrictions started to ease, those pre-qualified buyers and those who had already sold their own homes came flooding back to the market and everything seemed to pick back up from where it left off in February.

RELATED: 95% of GTA Housing Markets Showing Increase in Average Price: RE/MAX

With the crazy market we were having in the first three months of 2020, prices were increasing and homes were flying off the market with same-day bidding wars, especially in the condo market. There were a lot of buyers in the winter who had been pre-qualified, but suddenly found themselves sidelined by 2020’s price increases. If people were pre-qualified for a $450,000 condo, those same condos were now going for $500,000 between January and March. A lot of buyers weren’t able to purchase at that point and felt locked out of the market. But then, with the pandemic, the government tried to stimulate the market by dropping interest rates. This allowed those same buyers who were sidelined to be able to re-enter.

We’re still in the pandemic now, but as restrictions have eased, there’s an abundance of buyers who have flooded back into the market, a lot more than there were in the spring. Despite the large hit the GTA has taken in immigration numbers through the pandemic, the area is still receiving enough to keep prices competitive.

There’s always a demand for homes in the GTA, especially with a shortage of semi-detached homes and detached homes that have gone up in price. We’re seeing that smaller towns and remote areas outside the GTA are also seeing a rise in prices: Alliston, Tecumseth, and the Niagara Region are just a few places where some of my older clients are moving. Even Hamilton, which was very cheap before, isn’t now. In the end, the GTA is always in demand and there seems to be no stopping that, so people are finding new places to live and then commuting in from further and further away.

Buyers and sellers are still very motivated. The pandemic hasn’t really affected them when it comes to purchasing or selling. You need a home when you need a home and a lot of sellers had already sold in the first three months of the year, so they didn’t have a choice. They had to go out and purchase. The reverse was also true among buyers, as some who had purchased had to turn around and sell their homes because of the economic repercussions of COVID.

Meanwhile, most realtors were already using technology to conduct virtual showings and video calls so the quarantine requirement to stay home during the lock down period of the pandemic didn’t hold people back from house hunting.

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Kelowna real estate agent fined $6500 for 'misleading' website – Kelowna Capital News

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A Kelowna real estate agent has been fined $6,500 for creating a website that advertised services he was not licensed to provide.

According to a July decision from the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC), James Kevin Adams, an agent who used to work with local real estate firm Sage Executive Group, created a website called “K-O Properties” in 2017. The site advertised property management services around the Okanagan and Kootenay regions.

In its decision, the council called the website “false and/or misleading” as neither Adams nor anybody else affiliated with the site was licensed to provide such services in B.C.

Adams said the K-O Properties site was a working prototype, which he planned to have fully-running only after he was licensed to provide strata and rental property management services. He argued he only published the site to “work out the bugs” and “see how it would work by having [his] friends interact with it.”

The web designer Adams hired to build the website said Adams “most likely was not aware that [the website] was live.”

While the council said no evidence existed of Adams actually providing such services through K-O Properties, it still deemed his actions constituted professional misconduct.

Adams signed a consent order on July 16, agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine and a further $1,500 in fees to the council. He also agreed to complete a real estate and trading services remedial education course at his own expense.

READ MORE: Class resumption raises challenges for Central Okanagan schools

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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Real estate market in Durham advantageous for sellers during coronavirus pandemic – Global News

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Industry leaders are reporting a resurgence in the real estate market in Durham after the region took an initial hit in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Vicki Sweeney, president of the Durham Region Association of Realtors, if you’re looking to sell your home in Durham, now is the time.

“The pandemic hit and obviously our numbers went right down,” Sweeney said. “But now we’re seeing unprecedented numbers for a summer market.”

According to housing reports released by the association, in July there were 1,583 homes sold at a record-high average of $709, 640.

Read more:
Coronavirus — Home sales surge outside of Toronto as residents seek more rural life

This is a notable difference compared to sales in April, when only 513 homes were sold at an average of $612,563. What’s more, in July, properties only lasted on the market for an average of 16 days compared to 23 days this time last year.

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Sweeney says right now the competition is fierce for buyers, with sellers getting multiple offers. She says the sudden increase in sales could be due to a number of factors.

“I think there’s also another trend happening right now, where before living in (Toronto’s) downtown core was important for avoiding long commutes,” she said.

“Since COVID, we’ve had to adapt to the online platforms, and people have realized, if they can work from home they don’t have to live in the downtown core.”

Mortgage brokers say another reason for the spike in interest for homes in Durham is a significant drop in mortgage rates, which currently hover around two per cent.

Read more:
Coronavirus — Real estate market in Ontario’s cottage country experiencing boom

Mortgage broker Craig Howie says that while the current state of the market has posed a challenge for first-time home buyers, it’s proven to be even more difficult for those who are self-employed.

“Previously, lenders would look at a two-year average and look at what their self-employed income was,” Howie said.

“Now they’re looking at whether or not the job is going to be feasible, if it’s going to be around in the next couple of years because of everything that’s gone on with the pandemic.”

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Howie adds that with the value of homes going up, there have also been difficulties when it comes to appraisals.

Read more:
Controversial Pickering, Ont. condo proposal draws hundreds to open house

“When a lender is, say, lending 95 per cent of the value of that home, there’s concern that maybe the value isn’t there and some appraisals aren’t coming in the way we need them to be.”

Realtors in Durham say Clarington is currently the region’s largest hotspot for buying homes.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Huge month for Chilliwack real estate in July – Chilliwack Progress – Chilliwack Progress

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Last month was the biggest month for real estate in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) by dollar volume since the housing sales boom of 2016 and 2017.

For the first time since June 2017, more than $200 million in residential homes traded hands, that’s up 48 per cent from $136 million year-over-year and four per cent from the $193.3 million a month prior.

The month prior, June, saw a large surge in single family home sales, something that continued in July with 195 houses sold for an average price of $672,645 up 9.6 per cent from the July 2019 single family home sale price of $613,826.

• READ MORE: Single family home sales in Chilliwack surge in June – June 2020

• READ MORE: Chilliwack home sales numbers moving in the right direction: Realtors – July 2019

The average price of all homes sold in the CADREB area – which includes Chilliwack, Cultus Lake, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Boston Bar and the rural areas in between – was $570,087 up 12 per cent year over year from the $509,521 in July 2019.

The average of the 96 townhouses sold was $458,756, and the average of the 44 apartments sold was $327,792.

In July, 21 homes sold over the $1 million mark and another 26 sold over the $800,000 price point.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

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