In addition to being stuck at home, learning a whole new set of social habits, many of you are wondering how the shut downs and social distancing have affected the real estate industry. We have been declared an “essential service,” so real estate buying and selling is continuing. In the latest round of updates and restrictions set out by the Ontario government (see the full update here ), the sale and marketing of homes through organized real estate is still considered essential, but open houses have been forbidden. The residential construction industry has been told that new permits will not be issued and new home renovation projects should not be started. Existing work can be completed. In addition, most real estate companies have been working on best practices guidelines for showing homes in terms of limiting showings to one group at a time, pre-showing screenings of buyers, sanitizing and the like to help reduce the risk of viral spread through the listing and showing process. Video showings are starting to be a thing. It is not something I would recommend, as a camera, even a video camera, hides a lot of things, even unintentionally, that are only seen by walking around in a home. Plus, the nose and our sense of smell can tell us a lot of things that even our eyes cannot see. So, with caution and care we move forward. Personally, I have been involved in several transactions since the virus has arrived. Again, with care, it is still possible to buy a home, sell a home, and do so safely.
The next question everyone wants to know, especially those of you who purchased a home four or five weeks ago and have yet to even take possession, is the market cratering? Have sales and listings dropped off? The answer is no. The market snapshot below gives an encouraging picture of the market: