Well, the stats for April are in and they are interesting …as far as numbers and statistic can be! Anyways, this is the first full month of real estate tracking during the Covid19 outbreak. It hit approximately mid-month of March and thus skewed numbers a bit; so let’s get into it.
April showed a 56.1% decrease in sales from the previous month along with a 47.9% decrease in new listings from March 2020. This was expected as society learned to grapple with the fear and new rules about social distancing etc. Pricing however actually had a modest increase across the board in Greater Vancouver with the exception of condos which showed a 0.2% decrease.
It appears that a lot of the fear has been starting to pass as B.C. has been flattening the curve and is talking about lifting some of the restrictions imposed. One of the driving factors that has prevented the housing market from going into a complete tail spin has been that BOTH buyers and sellers headed to the sidelines which in turn has not caused an imbalance of buyers over sellers or vice versa. Another item that has been aiding in keeping the market from total upheaval is the ability for owners to defer their mortgages; this has given the ability to wait out the storm over panic selling.
Through this entire pandemic there have been many adjustments to the “new norm” including how showings are happening, how marketing is changing and the use of technology; there was a steep uptick in the use of virtual walkthroughs and virtual open houses. There was a lull in the market as the realty industry figured out how to go about operations in a safe and still effective manner; as well as the general populace feeling out the best way to go about business and life in this temporary "new normal". Now that the ground work has been laid out and accepted for the most part, market activity seems to be on the rise in comparison to last month and new listings are coming on-line along with purchasers. The mortgage rates are quite low and people have time to search. While I do not have a crystal ball, it is my personal opinion that this trend will continue and we will see higher sales in May than we did in April.
One of the interesting effects of the virus (as mentioned above) is that it has sent many buyers and sellers to the sidelines. The people that are currently listing and the people that are currently buying are SERIOUS. Gone are the sellers putting their home on the market at a seemingly random price or “fishing expedition” to test and see what happens; along with the serial Sunday open house visitors that are out and about looking at homes for “funsies” as people do not want to risk a possible exposure to the virus for no reason. This has caused negotiations (for the most part) to be more reasonable and based in reality and reasoning. This will likely start to change as restrictions get lifted and more enter the market over time. One can logically expect that as restrictions lift, there will soon be a flood of new listings hitting the market and thus more sales.
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Be safe, be healthy and stand strong. We are all in this together.