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Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver real estate boards urge suspension of open houses due to coronavirus outbreak – The Globe and Mail

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The Toronto Regional and Ontario real estate boards have urged realtors to stop holding open houses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a similar move by the Greater Vancouver Area board last week.

TREB, which first issued the guidance on Saturday, said Monday 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.

“We’re at a critical phase with this pandemic and we all have to do our part to be successful in confronting this challenge,” said TRREB president Michael Collins in a statement.

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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 requested by public health agencies.

The Ontario Real Estate Association also said on Saturday that realtors should stop holding open houses during the province’s state of emergency.

“I am calling on all Realtors to cease holding open houses during this crisis and advise their clients to cancel any that are planned,” said OREA president Sean Morrison in a statement.

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

The Real Estate Council of Ontario, which regulates the realtor profession, said in an update Monday that it also recommends an end to open houses, except when “absolutely necessary,” but has stopped short of banning them.

Stephen Glaysher, a realtor with Remax Urban Toronto, said in a note that he had already noticed a “significant downturn” in activity for the Toronto region in recent days, based on MLS data.

The numbers show that while overall sales between March 1 and 19 were up about 22 per cent this year compared to last, for the March 16 to 19 stretch, sales were down 16 per cent compared with last year.

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Showings were also already down to 48 for last Thursday, compared with 150 the previous Thursday, noted Glaysher.

Said Warde, a realtor at Royal LePage, said he was encouraging buyers and sellers to hold off on the market if there isn’t a necessity, but that some people are still in a position where they need to find a home.

“I’m not taking anybody out unless they are in a situation where they need to buy,” he said.

He’s also pushed for more virtual showings and finding alternatives to in-person viewings.

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

With a file from Tara Deschamps

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The spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues, with more cases diagnosed in Canada. The Globe offers the dos and don’ts to help slow or stop the spread of the virus in your community.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.

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

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on


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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