Leave the doors open and all the lights on. That’s one of the many new guidelines for people opening their homes —perhaps for the first time in months — so real estate agents can host open houses.
Some provinces are now allowing open houses, with new rules in place, after regulators clamped down on showings amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said earlier this month that open houses will resume, with warnings to potential house hunters. Visitors to open houses there can expect to see signs displaying health precautions, use hand-washing stations and sign a visitor log for contact tracing.
Ontario’s Stage 3 reopening plan, which hit much of the province on Friday, also includes open houses under its new gathering limits of 50 people, or 30 per cent capacity, with physical distancing enforced.
Regina-based real estate agent Tim Otitoju says minimizing the need to touch doors and light switches is one of several ways the open house process has changed.
At showings, he is the one to open any front door — with gloves, sanitized hands and a mask — and he limits the number of people in the home at one time.
Before entering, potential home buyers and sellers answer questionnaires and sign waivers about any symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. Sellers who agree to the open house must sanitize the home.
The situation is all the trickier when landlords look to show properties occupied by tenants.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario has been discouraging unnecessary in-person private showings as well as open houses. But RECO doesn’t have the power to require agents to get a tenant’s consent.
“The imbalance of power that exists between landlord and tenant means renters are not always in a position to speak up and they should not be made to feel unsafe in their home,” said Mazdak Gharibnavaz, in a statement from the Vancouver Tenants Union, opposing the return of open houses.
While open houses are once again an option in many areas, that doesn’t mean every seller is on board, says Otitoju. Many still prefer to stick with virtual showings, and Otitoju himself opts for Zoom instead of in-person meetings for reviewing offers.
“I’ve got little shoe covers in the back of my car. My realtor tools have certainly changed,” says Otitoju, an agent with Platinum Realty Specialists.
“I’m finding that this is working. Now, a lot of people coming out to open houses are in the market to buy that type of house. The time to go around to open houses as a hobby – it’s not the time to do that right now. Buyers know that. Sellers know that. Realtors know that.”
It’s all part of the changing sales process in real estate.
It might seem obvious that for a purchase as big as a house, no one wants to buy sight unseen. But Anthony Hitt says even buyers of expensive properties are seeing the upsides of virtual tools that were popularized during the pandemic.
A tour where a seller or agent carries a camera around the house, for example, can allow buyers to look closely at finishes, views through windows and inside cabinets, says Hitt, president and CEO of Engel & Volkers Americas.
For sellers, it reassures them that those who end up at in-person showings are interested in buying, he says.
Cameron McNeill, who does marketing of pre-build properties in the Vancouver area with MLA Canada, says that although showrooms have been open for a month, people continue to do more research online before coming to in-person appointments.
McNeill predicts that shopping for homes will become more like car shopping, where much of the research and emotional buying journey is done before hitting the lot.
“The most valuable thing you have is your time,” says Hitt, saying that online tours cut down on travelling.
“I don’t think we are going to eliminate open houses. We may see less of them and they may come at a different time in the process… I don’t think a lot of consumers, even with masks and all the precautions, are ready to run out and be in a crowded property.”
It used to be common to share a meal with a client, but that’s not on Otitoju’s mind these days, he says.
“I don’t remember the last time I shook someone’s hand,” Otitoju says. “It’s not the only way to build relationships. You build relationships with your actions, and people see that.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2020.
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate markets not slowing down – Kelowna Capital News
Home sales in the Central, North Okanagan and Shuswap markets continue to soar.
According to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), residential sales in November of this year topped last year’s sales by 71 per cent, but came in at 15 per cent less than October’s 1,062 sales.
The supply of homes, OMREB found, still struggles to meet the high demand.
“We continue to see high residential housing demand despite a mild seasonal slowdown generally seen during this time of year,” said OMREB President Kim Heizmann said in an announcement on Dec. 2.
“Looking at the numbers we can see that consumer demand is not being met due to record low listings, which creates upward pressure on pricing. Essentially, the demand is so high that is difficult for inventory to build up.”
Compared to 2019, single-family homes across the board have increased in sales and price. In November, the most homes in the region sold in the Central Okanagan, totalling 291 sales. The highest average price also rested in the Central Okanagan, at $728,900, up 10. 5 per cent from last year. The lowest prices in the region, while also climbing, are found in Shuswap/Revelstoke, at $480,600. The North Okanagan fell between the two.
It’s a similar story for townhouses, as well as condos/apartments. However, condos in Shuswap/Revelstoke are closer in price to those in the Central Okanagan, at $342,000 compared to $387,300.
The average number of days to sell single-family homes substantially decreased, by about 20 per cent across the board compared to last year.
However, compared to October, the number of days to sell all home types went up 8 per cent to 88 days.
For more information on your local real estate market, visit OMREB.com, or contact your local Realtor.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com
Record-Setting Sales Continue in November on Montreal's Real Estate Market – GlobeNewswire
L’ÎLE-DES-SŒURS, Quebec, Dec. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) has just released its residential real estate market statistics for the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) for the month of November, based on the real estate brokers’ Centris provincial database.
A new November sales record was set in the Montreal CMA despite the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residential sales jumped by 32 per cent compared to November of last year.
“We also saw a historic 57 per cent increase in the number of new condominium listings on the Island of Montreal, the highest level since the year 2000 when the real estate brokers’ Centris system began compiling market data,” said Charles Brant, director of market analysis at the QPAREB.
- Year-to-date sales have increased by 7 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
- Sales continued to increase in several periphery markets, including the North Shore (+48 per cent), the South Shore (+37 per cent), Laval (+34 per cent) and Vaudreuil-Soulanges (+32 per cent), as well as on the Island of Montreal (+21 per cent). In contrast, sales in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu slowed, registering a 3 per cent increase, due primarily to a record drop in new listings in this market over the past several quarters.
- By property category, plexes (2 to 5 dwellings) registered the largest sales increase (+34 per cent) followed closely by condominiums (+31 per cent) and single-family homes (+31 per cent).
- There was a significant increase in active listings for condominiums (+14 per cent) and plexes (+7 per cent), numbers that have not been seen for a month of November since 2012 and 2014, respectively. This was in contrast to single-family homes, which registered a sharp decline (-38 per cent).
- With market conditions that are still very much to the advantage of sellers, median prices continued to increase significantly for single-family homes (+23 per cent) but tended to slow down for condominiums and plexes (+9 per cent).
If you would like additional information from the Market Analysis Department, such as specific data or regional details on the real estate market, please write to us.
Book your interview for December 16!
On December 16, the QPAREB will unveil its assessment of the 2020 real estate market, along with its forecasts for 2021 and an analysis of the impact of COVID-19. A press release will be issued on November 16. Please reserve your time slot for an interview now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers
The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) is a non-profit association that brings together more than 13,000 real estate brokers and agencies. It is responsible for promoting and defending their interests while taking into account the issues facing the profession and the various professional and regional realities of its members. The QPAREB is also an important player in many real estate dossiers, including the implementation of measures that promote homeownership. The Association reports on Quebec’s residential real estate market statistics, provides training, tools and services relating to real estate, and facilitates the collection, dissemination and exchange of information. The QPAREB is headquartered in Quebec City and has its administrative offices in Montreal. It has two subsidiaries: Centris Inc. and the Collège de l’immobilier du Québec. Follow its activities at qpareb.ca or via its social media pages: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Société Centris provides real estate industry stakeholders with access to real estate data and a wide range of technology tools. Centris tools are used by close to 14,000 real estate brokers, as well as other industry professionals. Centris also operates Centris.ca, the most visited real estate website in Quebec.
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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/7999a601-9834-44d3-bb9d-6e3ec1c4df6f
Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley remain a sellers' markets, say real estate groups – CBC.ca
Housing sales in Metro Vancouver fell almost 17 per cent in November compared to the previous month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
But the industry group says as trends go, demand remains high, making it a sellers’ market.
REBGV’s monthly tally shows 3,064 homes sold last month across the region, compared to 3,687 in October 2020.
Compared to November 2019, sales were up 22.7 per cent.
Colette Gerber, REBGV chair, says demand from buyers has been at “near record levels” since the summer.
“This is putting upward pressure on home prices, particularly in our detached and townhome markets,” she said.
The Sunshine Coast showed the largest increase in year-over-year sales according to the data, with Squamish and the Gulf Islands not far behind.
“The rise of work-from-home arrangements and physical distancing policies is causing some home buyers to opt for less densified areas,” said Gerber.
The total number of Metro Vancouver homes currently listed for sale is 11,118, representing a 10 per cent decrease from October 2020.
Gerber says the current market favours sellers because demand is outstripping supply.
The Multi Listing Service home price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver — detached homes, townhomes and apartments — is $1,044,000, a 5.8 per cent increase year-over-year and a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to October 2020.
Benchmark prices in each of the three categories are:
- Detached home: $1,538,900
- Attached home: $814,800
- Apartment: $676,500
The sales scene in the Fraser Valley is even hotter, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
It describes the level of demand as “unrelenting,” even though like Metro Vancouver, November sales dropped by 8.3 per cent from October.
In total, there were 2,173 property sales, an increase of 54.7 per cent compared to November 2019.
The boards says monthly sales records were set in September, October and November compared to previous years.
“We expected November activity to moderate due to the season, but the desire for family-sized homes and their benefits continues to dominate,” said president Chris Shields.
“Since the summer, we’ve seen the strongest demand in our board’s 99 year history, specifically for single-family detached and townhomes,”
The FVREB calculates the benchmark prices for the region as:
- Single family detached: $1,061,500
- Townhome: $570,100
- Apartment/condo: $435,900
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