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Real estate boards across Canada urging against all open houses | Urbanized – Daily Hive



Real estate boards in the country’s largest markets are calling on real estate agents to halt all face-to-face business on a temporary basis, especially with staging open houses.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) issued a bulletin asking its agents to refrain from holding open houses until further notice, given calls from governments to practice physical distancing, limit social interactions, stay home, and only make essential trips.

“Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way,” said Ashley Smith, president of REBGV, in a statement.

“We’ve heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their Realtors are not holding Open Houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today.”

Realtors and sellers are advised to consider alternative approaches, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions that do not involve in-person meetings. To help accommodate this, REBGV has removed the rule requiring that properties listed on MLS be made available for showings.

Similar messaging has been provided by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), which is not enforcing its policies with showings and inspections, and is suppressing listings of open houses on its MLS system.

“While we appreciate that this is the real estate brokerage’s decision in consultation with their clients, home buyers, sellers and businesses, we are recommending that open houses stop until further notice,” said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

“Realtors are reminded that there are alternative online and virtual marketing opportunities for sellers that can easily be accessed by buyers. We encourage members to use alternative marketing strategies such as video and virtual tours wherever possible, and to continue to follow directives and guidance being given by the government and public health agencies.”

Following the Ontario provincial government’s declaration of a state of emergency earlier this week, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) issued its own statement, urging realtors to stop all face-to-face business, including open houses, agent and public office hours, and in-person showings, especially for tenant-occupied homes.

“While clients who may decide to host private showings during this time are making the decision for themselves, tenants often have no choice in the matter, putting the health of all those involved at risk,” said OREA President Sean Morrison.

“As realtors, it is our responsibility to give clients the best advice possible – and that includes ending all face-to-face business until this crisis is resolved.”

But the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) has gone a step further by implementing a ban on its members from hosting open houses.

“This unprecedented health pandemic has forced all Albertans to make significant changes,” said Kristie Kruger, chair of AREA.

“Because open houses are public, with unpredictable attendance, it is difficult to ensure they comply with Alberta Health recommendations.”

The BC provincial government has also banned landlords from entering tenanted rental homes, unless the situation is for emergency reasons.

There are 14,000 real estate agents in Metro Vancouver, 56,000 agents in the Toronto region, and over 10,500 agents across Alberta.

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Real estate markets in Oakville and Burlington along with Milton and Halton Hills impacted by coronavirus –



As for other stats in the region, data posted on Realoshopy’s website show that the average sale price for homes in Halton last month was up 11 per cent to just over $930,000 over the same period last year. The number of sales in March went up 7.5 per cent over the same month last year with 892 homes sold.

When it comes to supply, there were 1,556 homes for sale in March 2020, a decrease of 0.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) said in a news release that while there’s growth in the beginning of March, activity slowed in the latter half due to coronavirus.

“New listings and sales have been affected by the onset of COVID-19, but the average price continues to increase. We will have to wait for the April data to see the full impact on our market area,” said RAHB CEO Carol Ann Burrell.

A more pessimistic outlook was given by Robert Hogue, a senior economist with RBC, who provides analysis and forecast on Canadian housing market.

As posted on RBC’s website, he warns that the country’s housing market “will slow to a crawl this spring.”

The pandemic, he wrote, will be “a temporary shock” and that housing activity “will resume once the health crisis comes under control and authorities lift containment measures,” though there’s no telling of the timing and speed of the recovery.

Zurini said amid the crisis there’s no doubt that realtors had to change the way they do business.

“Being an essential service, we’ve really upped our game on the safety of our clients, buyers and sellers,” he noted, where more stringent measures are being taken in terms of questionnaires for in-person showings – as well increasing efforts in sanitization and consideration for social distancing.

Over the short term, Zurini believes that people are still going to be putting their property on the market. But if the lockdown continues for several more months, there might be fewer people doing so.

“But we haven’t seen it so far,” he said.

“There’s a lot of vibrancy still in the market.”

His advice for people who plan to sell their homes is to contact their local realtors to help “interpret the data and trends and make the right decision.”

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Saskatchewan real estate market records highest residential sales in 2 years – Global News



Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market in Saskatchewan saw a significant increase in residential sales in March, compared to the same period in the past two years.

Over 1,000 homes were sold last month compared to 925 and 906 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Comparing sales and sales volume figures since a state of emergency was declared in the province on March 18, to the same period last year showed that while there was a 6.2 per cent drop in total sales and a 9.6 per cent drop in total sales volume, none of this decline affected the residential market.

Statistics Canada report highlights Sask.’s past real estate market

Sales in Saskatoon were up 6.2 per cent, going from 258 in March 2019 to 274 in March 2020, and up 7.2 per cent in the overall region, going from 346 to 371.

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In both Saskatoon and the region, sales were less than 2.0 per cent under the 5-year average while they were more than 10 per cent below the 10-year average.

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Year-to-Date (YTD) sales in Saskatoon rose 8.2 per cent over last year, increasing from 668 to 723, while YTD sales in the larger region also increased 8.8 per cent, going from 891 to 969.

COVID-19 impacts Canada’s real estate markets

COVID-19 impacts Canada’s real estate markets

Sales in Regina were up 1.9 per cent, going from 210 in March 2019 to 214 in March 2020, and up 11.5 per cent in the overall region, going from 235 to 262.

In Regina, sales were approximately 2 per cent below the 5-year average and just over 9 per cent below the 10-year average, while in the region overall, sales were 3.7 per cent below their historical averages.

Year-To-Date (YTD) sales in Regina fell 8.6 per cent over last year, decreasing from 525 to 480, while YTD sales in the larger region fell a more modest 3.7 per cent going from 597 to 575.

New downtown towers to impact commercial real estate in Saskatoon: report

The Saskatchewan Realtors Association believes the increase could be attributed to uncertainty over what could happen if the pandemic continues and could be a good time for prospective homeowners to make a purchase.

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“Interest rates are the lowest in a long time, they’ve been almost negligible, we have seen a decline in inventory level so there’s a little less to choose from so prices have been coming down in the last three or more years,” CEO Jason Yochim said.

“For a buyer that is ready to go and is qualified to buy a home, I think it’s an ideal time.”

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He added that homeowners and buyers should make sure they are getting good advice from a certified realtor before selling or purchasing a home.

Regina salon owner calls for more COVID-19 support for small businesses: ‘We want assurances’

The association is also taking several steps to protect consumers and it’s members as they do their essential business during the pandemic.

“We have mandated that there be no open houses, whether they are realtor open houses or public open houses, for over two weeks now, we also have best practices that our members are utilizing when they do showings and we are asking people to only bring to the showing those who are essential in the decision,” Yochim said.

The Saskatchewan real estate market is expecting to see a significant decline in sales in the future while expert hope for a strong recovery once the pandemic is over.

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

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Pandemic bites northern BC real estate market – Prince George Citizen



The COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on real estate sales in northern B.C., with demand for housing tailing off and fewer properties up for sale compared to 2019.

During the first quarter of 2020, from January through March, the BC Northern Real Estate Board had 753 sales worth a total of $217,389,724 through its Multiple Listing Service.

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There were 3,096 properties of all types available throughout the first three months of 2020, compared to 3,130 a year ago. As of March 31st there were 509 properties available, down from 534 at that time in 2019.

The sluggish economy in the region, especially in the forestry, mining and oil/gas sectors, is to blame for the 13 per cent decline in sales in the region, according to the BCNREB. With fewer listings available, the average price for a single-family home did increase by one per cent to $298,811.

In Prince George, 221 properties were $73.3 million were sold. That’s down from 257 properties worth about $90 million through the first three months of 2019. Three of the four sections of the city included in the report released Friday reported an increase in the median selling price of single-family homes over last year.

In the western part of Prince George, 34 single-family homes sold with a median value of $346,000 ($327,500 in 2019). East of Highway 97, 29 homes sold, worth a median $272,500 ($309,000).

In the Hart area north of the Nechako River, 29 homes sold with a median price of $401,250 ($370,000). In the southwest section, 37 homes sold in the first three months of the year had a median price of $453,500 ($429,500).

The board expects second-quarter sales will continue to decline in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting scale-back of operations for major resource projects in the region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant challenges to everyone in our society,” said BCNREB president Shawna Kinsley. “Our members are committed to doing their part to ensure communities stay safe. Real estate is an essential service.

“Realtors are following all orders and guidance from the Public Health Authority… (and) are also modifying their practices around face-to-face meetings and showings. The real estate board has recommended that no open houses be held during this time.

“Sellers may now remain on the MLS system without the need for showings and all consumers can expect more phone or virtual meetings as well as limits on showings and new showing guidelines. We ask consumers to be patient with real estate practice changes at this time.”

Other real estate sales in the region from January-March 2020, with the 2019 numbers in parenthesis:

Mackenzie: Ten (12) properties were sold worth $1.5 million ($1.4 million) with 56 (63) properties available on MLS for purchase as of March 31;

Burns Lake: Four (16) properties worth $456,000 ($2.3 million) were sold with 80 (87) properties listed;

 Vanderhoof: Nineteen (30) sales worth $4.4 million ($12.2 million) with 89 (80) properties listed;

 Fort St. James: Eleven (nine) sales worth $2.1 million ($1.9 million) with 54 (61) properties listed;

Quesnel: Forty-seven (55) sales worth $8.5 million ($11.7 million) with 161 (147) properties listed.

Williams Lake: Fifty-eight (91) properties have sold worth $ 15.4 million ($21.4) with  190 (207) properties listed.


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