How is COVID-19 affecting real estate?
COVID-19 is evolving on a daily basis and the market is doing its best to work around it in a safe and responsible manner. In this blog, we are discussing what we are currently seeing in Guelph’s real estate market, recent bank/lender options, and strategies to help continue your real estate activity safely as a buyer or seller.
Firstly, what is happening in Guelph’s real estate market? Currently, we are seeing a lower amount of inventory in comparison to last year around this time. February 2019 had 281 active listings while this February 2020 had 167 active listings. While this is significantly lower, the current inventory amount isn’t quite as low as 2017’s real estate boom! Properties are sitting on the market on average for 22 days and are currently still increasing in price. Some sellers are achieving multiple offers within the low-mid level home prices with sale prices going over asking. However overall, transactions are still happening, people are still buying and selling. We will continue to keep an eye on this over the next few weeks as the environment is ever-changing right now. Have a look at what is currently listed in the Guelph real estate market.
What does this mean for our current real estate market? Depending on your lender/bank – this may be a good time to purchase or lock-in an interest rate as the interest rates are currently lower (they will fluctuate over time and vary depending). On the same note, sellers/homeowners may want to refinance their existing mortgage. Recently, banks/lenders have announced that they may defer mortgage payments temporarily (case by case) because of COVID-19. We recommend calling your bank/lender to see what options are available for you. Also be sure to inquire about implications of mortgage deferrals, and what it may mean for your credit score/rating. Given the potential losses in income and stock market earnings, there is some volatility in the lending landscape (inquire about what is happening locally to ease some of the hardships that may be faced). We do expect to see a changed landscape for closings on properties, as well (different means of organizing final meetings with lawyers, signing documentation, transferring funds, etc). Keep in mind that lenders are bogged down right now, so give yourself enough time with your conditions, and think ahead on the hold ups that may be possible so they can try be avoided.
With such a competitive local real estate market in Guelph, some buyers will continue to pursue their home search. While you are out viewing homes, you should consider the following.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and/or sanitize before and after your showing.
- Avoid touching and/or leaning on any furniture, walls, doors, windows or any household items.
- To be preventative for your own sake and for the sake of the homeowner, use gloves and booties – measures like these are being recommended by our government, IF HEADING OUT IS AT ALL NECESSARY.
- View properties only if you are a serious buyer – don’t potentially expose other people to any susceptibilities, just to browse around. Do the browsing online for now or ask for a virtual tour of a home. We are happy to coordinate something with you.
What to do when showings are happening at your home? We suggest keeping your home as sanitary as possible; including but not limited to cleaning and wiping down commonly used areas like doorknobs/handles/railings, light switches, counters, faucets, etc. It may be wise to “screen” buyers that are entering the home by putting a sign up, making sure they haven’t travelled within the last month, or been around someone displaying symptoms. Another idea is limiting the number of people in the home at any given time and to practice social distancing whilst in the home. Keep a list of the buyers/agents who have entered the home in case you need further communication for health reasons. We strongly advise putting a hold on open houses for the time being. This will reduce the number of people in the home at once and is a no brainer for us.
Given the current circumstances, you may be uncomfortable with your home on the market, or if you are a buyer trying to get into the market, you may be feeling uneasy – it might be worth putting it on hold! You should go with your gut feeling! We recommend getting your medical advice from vetted sources like Public Health Canada or the World Health Organization. If we can help you feel more secure, and/or answer any questions you may have given this difficult time. Call us for a no-obligation chat.
Another fabulous source of updates on some of the assistance available by the Canadian Government for its citizens can be found by clicking here.
STAY WELL AND SAFE – THE RC TEAM