Since mid-March when the COVID-19 really took off, I have spent an hour or two several days a week on calls using Zoom video conferencing connecting with Sotheby’s Realty colleagues across North America. From Ontario, across Canada to Vancouver BC, south to San Francisco, Los Angeles east to New York and elsewhere in the U.S., we are all in this together.
The pool of information, experiences and the willingness to share amongst those participating in these calls has been amazing. We are all different personalities, ages and backgrounds. We have varied levels of experience in real estate and every market we work in is no less diversified that we are as individuals. Personally I can relate a little more perhaps that some others. In my prior career I travelled extensively across Canada and also the U.S. when living in Chicago. That has given me a little more insight into the various cities and markets we discuss during these calls.
On the other hand, COVID-19 is not diversified at all. It does not discriminate or selectively attack based on age, gender, nationality, level of income or anything else. We are all equally exposed and vulnerable which is a good thing in order for us to succeed globally in winning the fight against this aggressive attacker. While COVID-19 poses a unique and serious health threat, like many things it is not something that is strictly unilateral. Many things in life are similar including the economic downturn that we are currently facing along with the virus. Having business and in fact entire economies shut down affects us all.
The long term impact of COVID-19 and how it impacts our lives including real estate remains to be seen. Needless-to-say it has certainly had a wide reaching change on our lives right now including real estate sales activity. After a robust start to 2020, the brakes were quickly applied to real estate sales across the Southern Georgian Bay market mid-March much the same as when we are about to rear-end the car in front of us.
The following charts reflect the impact COVID-19 has had on our market from the time it really flared up across the country in mid-March.
From March 1st to March 15th, residential MLS sales across our market totalled 87 units up from 79 and 75 residential property sales in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Year-to-date residential MLS sales activity then took a sharp drop from March 16th to the end of March once the impact of COVID-19 was fully realized. During this two week period 53 residential sales we reported in our local MLS System compared to 77 sales and 99 sales in the last two weeks of March in 2019 and 2018. The real kicker however has been the first two weeks of April. Just 28 sales were reported through the local MLS System compared to just over 100 sales in the first two weeks of April in both 2018 and 2019.
As you will note above, with the drop in unit sales, MLS dollar volume naturally decreases as the result. After posting an increase during the first two weeks of March when MLS sales totalled over $46 million ahead of both the prior two years, the final two weeks of March produced $34 million in sales. The real decrease was again starting to show up commencing April 1st with sales through April 15th totalling just over $14 million for the 28 sales reported compared to over $55 million in sales for the first two weeks of April 2019.
Once the severity of COVID-19 was fully absorbed, April 1st brought with it new guidelines under the provinces State of Emergency whereby we as REALTORS were forced to cease any public Open House activity. Further and we were urged but not regulated to refrain from any listing and or sale activity unless it was absolutetly essential for the clients to sell or buy. This will continue to remain in place for the forseeable future and I will be monitoring things closely updating the above charts as we proceed through April and the months ahead.
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 will to act without obligation as the guide beside you through these uncertain times.