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Toronto and Vancouver real estate boards urge suspension of open houses – The Chronicle Journal

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TORONTO – The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board is urging it realtors to stop holding open houses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a similar move by the Greater Vancouver Area board last week.

TRREB says that while the decision to hold open houses is up to realtors and their clients, the board will suppress information about the in-person showings on its listing system and website.

The board is encouraging realtors to use alternatives such as video and virtual tours to help limit public gatherings and slow the spread of the virus, as public health agencies have implored.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario, which regulates the realtor profession, has also recommended an end to open houses, except when “absolutely necessary,” but has stopped short of banning them.

Last week, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver strongly recommended its 14,000 realtors not hold open houses based on comments from government authorities.

Both real estate boards have also waived a rule requiring listed properties to be available for showings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2020.

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COVID-19: Real Estate Update – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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Canada:

COVID-19: Real Estate Update

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020 all of Ontario’s
“non-essential services” were required to close in
response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic in the province. This
mandatory shut down will last a minimum of 14 days, with an
extension possible at the discretion of Premier Doug Ford.

The Ontario Government recently clarified which businesses and
services were deemed “essential” and would therefore be
allowed to remain open throughout this two-week period. A complete
list of essential workplaces can be found here. These include law firms and
WeirFoulds lawyers are fully operational and ready to assist
you.

For the real estate industry, the following services qualify as
essential and will therefore continue throughout the shutdown
period:

31. Banking activities related to credit intermediation;
credit unions

65. Professional services including lawyers and para-legals,
engineers, accountants, translators

67. Land registration services, and real estate agent
services and moving servic
es

Further, as Service Ontario operates its land registration
system online, we are hoping that transactions will continue to be
able to close without issue. Our Group is working to identify and
deal with issues that may arise in this regard.

For new or ongoing transactions, the off-title searching process
may be delayed or hindered altogether with the closure of some
municipal services. Please be advised that when purchasing
properties, these searches may take significantly longer than
usual. However, there is some good news for purchasers: many title
insurers are now offering extended coverage under owner and lender
policies to respond to the marketplace’s unavoidable delays and
disruptions.

The WeirFoulds Commercial Real Estate Group is committed to
ensuring that your transaction can proceed as planned. While our
office has adopted a “work from home” policy, our
lawyers, conveyancers and staff remain fully accessible without
disruption. Our Group has full access to all our clients’
working files, searches, documents and agreements. This includes
our conveyancers who we rely on a great deal in identifying and
resolving difficult title issues. The WeirFoulds Commercial Real
Estate Group is able to assist in any way needed.

Even though we are working remotely, we continue to collaborate
seamlessly with our other Practice Groups that we traditionally
look to for their expertise in commercial real estate matters,
including Leasing, Municipal, Expropriations, Infrastructure,
Construction, Corporate, and Environmental.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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Real estate market seeing new challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic – CityNews Edmonton

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CALGARY (CityNews) – Buyers are not able to go into homes, and sellers are taking them off the market as they quarantine.

The real estate industry has been deemed an essential service and can carry on but now, buyers, sellers, and agents are navigating a contactless world in a market full of unknowns.

“A lot of my buyers have just decided to put everything on hold, there’s a lot of uncertainty with how their down payments may be with affected by RRSP’s (and) job uncertainty,” said real estate agent Joseph Burke. “We’ve also seen some listings come off whether people are being quarantined or concerned about their overall health.”

In Alberta, COVID-19’s impact on oil prices is also set to have a major effect on the market.

“We may not get hit with the crisis as hard as they are in Italy, but the economic side of things, with oil dropping as fast as it has and all of that, that’ll be what will affect us on the real estate side,” said Burke.

Homebuyers were already advised to take precautions during open houses, not touching surfaces and keeping distance but there’s been a directive from the Alberta Real Estate Association to discontinue them beginning this week.

“Our realtors are getting very creative in doing videos and showing the property in other manners however typically people still want to feel and be in the home,” said Diane Scott with Royal Lepage Solutions.

Because it’s only been weeks since a societal shift began, the true impact of COVID-19 is still not completely apparent.

“What we are yet to see, is the economic impact will be from this pandemic on the real estate market. As the data starts to come out we’re gonna start to see where those trends are going and how it will affect us moving forward,” said Burke.

Despite a time of uncertainty, Diane and Joseph say it’s creating unique openings.

“There will be an opportunity for you as a seller especially because you’re going to have less competition in the early stages of it, buyers will be looking at your home versus 5 other homes, instead of 50 other homes,” said Burke.

“It’s a great opportunity, our prices are lower, there’s inventory out there, so if they’re in a rental, for instance, it would be a very good time to start looking to buy,” said Scott.

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Toronto real estate sales plunge as coronavirus weighs on market: Realtor – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Canada’s largest real estate market “hit the brakes” in the last full week of March as sales plunged and sellers pulled listings in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a Toronto-based realtor.

What had been a gradual softening in Greater Toronto Area sales after a strong February turned decidedly negative last week, with sales down 37 per cent compared to the same period last year, John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty, told BNN Bloomberg in email.

There was also a 27 per cent increase in cancelled listings as the economy absorbs record job losses as entire industries come to a near standstill in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

“The market has definitely hit the brakes,” said Pasalis. He added some of those cancelled listings may end up getting relisted at a different price.

Despite the plunge in sales, Pasalis notes “the market is still quite stable because new listings are also on the decline.”

Numbers compiled by Realosophy Realty show new listings for the region fell by 33 per cent last week.

While last week’s average Toronto home price of roughly $856,000 is up about nine per cent year over year, annual price appreciation had been running stronger at the end of February into early March when there were more high-end homes being sold.

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