Open houses have been suspended throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and while real estate services were declared essential and have continued uninterrupted, agents have innovating methods for home-showings like Facebook Live, 3-D video tours, Zoom and a good portion of real estate transactions including paperwork occurs electronically. Consumers are adapting during this extraordinary time, and their willingness to embrace new tools tells us that the Canadian dream of home ownership remains strong, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though there has been a drop in listings, the prices in the GTA have largely been unaffected by the global pandemic so far. Nearly half of Ontarians who plan to buy a home in the next two years say that they are willing to consider going ahead with a purchase even if they can only view the property virtually, according to a new poll commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association. The poll also revealed that there is a portion of prospective sellers that have held off on listing their properties for sale due to COVID-19, but 54 per cent of them are willing to consider virtual showings or somewhat open to the idea.
The poll conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of the OREA found that 48.9 per cent of prospective buyers are either open or somewhat open to buying a house virtually compared to 46.6 per cent who say that they are not open to the idea. Meanwhile, about 26 per cent said that they would buy a home as soon as the pandemic concludes. About 61 per cent of prospective buyers and sellers, meanwhile, said that the pandemic did not have an impact on their decisions to list or buy properties.
Meanwhile, last week we saw another 23% jump in freehold listings and a slight increase in sales but of those, 75% sold at or above the asking price. The condo sector also saw a 29% increase in listings and the sales were up 18% with 42% of those selling at or above the list price. While continued tightening of mortgage lending continues, it has not put a damper on the market.