Just as you would expect and as mentioned in my prior posts, the COVID-19 virus has had a profound impact on virtually every real estate market across Canada and Southern Georgian Bay is no exception.
Sales for 2020 were off to a robust start in the 1st quarter with even the first two weeks of March showing some positive gains over March of 2018 and 2019. Once the COVID-19 virus became a real threat in mid-March, our economy including real estate make an abrupt turn and headed down.
As noted in the chart below, sales in the latter half of March dropped 46% and 31% from 2018 and 2019 respectively. During that period, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) successfully lobbied to have real estate considered an essential service allowing us in the profession to remain working but with strict guidelines. No public “Open House,” no face-to-face contact with consumers, no listing and selling properties unless the seller’s and buyer’s needs were in fact “essential” ie: they had to buy or sell.
At the end of March, it became very apparent that COVID-19 was not going away any time soon and the measures imposed by the Ontario government to fight the virus would be in place for some time. As you can see above this had a very profound result on real estate activity through April. MLS® sales during the first two weeks of April plunged over 70% compared to April 2018 and 2019 in terms of the number of properties sold. Sales picked up slightly in the final two weeks of April as we all became accustomed to the new “normal.”
As per the chart above, residential MLS® unit sales in April across our market area totalled 65 properties, 64% below April of last year and 66% below April 2018. With most real estate offices in the area closed and sellers reluctant to have potential buyers going through their homes, showing and selling properties became awkward. Further with many business across the province closed and with employees laid off or at risk of being so, large expenditures were obviously getting put on hold.
MLS® residential sales in dollars for April totalled $33.6 million compared to $96.9 million in 2019, a decrease of roughly two thirds or 65%. Listing activity has also slowed as REALTORS® are being encouraged not to list properties for sale unless absolutely necessary ie: the sellers have to sell. Further sellers are being advised to hold off listing their homes in order to limit the property’s exposure to the public until such time as the curve of the virus flattens.
In my next post I will provide detailed MLS® sales and listing activity for April as well as year-to-date. As always, please feel free to Contact Me if you have any questions or concerns relative to your specific real estate situation either now as we fight COVID-19 or in the months ahead. I am always willing to act without obligation as your guide through these uncertain times.