If you’re planning to buy a home in the next little while, you will likely have to do it sight unseen. Just a few days after the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) urged its members to cancel all open houses, the group is now urging agents to stop all person-to-person business. That includes “open houses, and in-person showings, particularity of tenant-occupied homes,” OREA said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “While clients who may decide to host private showings during this time are making the decision for themselves, tenants often have no choice in the matter, putting the health of all those involved at risk.”
As part of its state of emergency, the Ontario government declared real estate an essential service, allowing home sales to continue. The move was made primarily to allow those who have already bought and need to sell or those who have already sold and need to buy, to finish their transactions.
We as realtors have a responsibility to protect our own safety, as well as the safety of our colleagues, clients, and the general public. We must adapt our practices to ensure that our professional activities are safe and comply with all guidance provided by Health Canada, the Province of Ontario and medical professionals.
We are monitoring developments by the hour and changing best practices by the day. If we all stay home like we are told and do as much as we can remotely, we can do our best to flatten the curve and get back to normal sooner. Conditions and government measures are changing so quickly that it’s too soon to tell what will happen with the real estate market longer term.
However, the reality is that the fundamentals of the market, particularly in the GTA and other major urban centres, don’t change; pent-up buyer demand has been slowing building as the supply of available homes for sale remains scant. Due to the limited inventory available, combined with the population growth in Ontario’s big cities like Toronto, we can expect market activity to resume and recover quickly once we’ve mitigated the health risks from COVID-19 and the financial markets stabilize