By: Gloria Franchi

How has Covid-19 Changed the Real Estate Market

Tags: york region houses homes prices listings buyers sellers

york region real estate covid-19 houses homes buyers sellers prices
York Region - How has Covid - 19 Changed the Real Estate Market

We have seen many changes to the York Region Real Estate Market over the past two years due to Covid-19.

TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) Realtors were initially asked to stop face-to-face business amid the state of emergency, especially with showing tenant occupied properties. We were immediately thrown into using modern technology platforms that we hadn't utilized as much before, such as Zoom Video Conferencing, Digital open houses and digital signing for both offers on properties and closings with lawyers. The real estate industry was included as an essential service to accomodate situations where buyers and sellers needed to either buy or sell asap. It certainly was not business as usual and we really had to evaluate our own personal health and comfort before going out to show a property. Most real estate companies adopted strict Covid Protocols in place to protect both their realtors, buyers and sellers. This included restricting double showings, not allowing children to attend showings, signed forms by all parties attending an appointment, masks, gloves, hand santizer and not touching anything in the property. Our industry suppliers also implemented such measures, so that Building Inspectors and Photographers were the only ones allowed in the property, while they did their service. Often appraisers were only driving by and doing visual inspections from the exterior with interior photographs being used for reference.

"Pivot" became the new industry buzz word used for everything! I was now conducting client interviews over a Zoom meeting along with office meetings, tech training, my Rotary Club meetings, my art classes, real estate conferences and personal get-togethers.

The Canadian Real Estate Market initially stalled with the lockdown but we quickly saw signs of  movement as "cottage country" became the new area of desirability. The prices in these areas soared as buyers looked at living in their out-of-town dream home away from the urban crowds and the ability to work remotely from home. Local rural and suburban agents were shocked at the activity and rising prices. Many people felt their jobs could be done from anywhere and they were looking for a less expensive cost of living and a quality of life away from the fear of Covid-19. The area's internet speed and availabilty was now more of a priority for both conducting business and online schooling for the kids. 

Analysts felt the pent-up demand came from the spring lockdown that had stalled real estate. Our Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper said the coronavirus pandemic, while slowing down other parts of the economy had influenced peoples choices of where they lived. The three P's of the pandemic became: puppies, Peloton and property.

Areas that had previously been known as having lower prices, such as in Atlantic Canada, now had skyrocketing prices with more buyers than sellers.

A complete collapse in the Real Estate market in March of 2020 to a slow rebuild over the past 18 months has shown many surprises as to where the Market stands. 

If you listened only to the media you would feel prices and sales are way up and we are in a boom at this time. Studying each neighbourhood in West Toronto I have found this is not the case in each neighbourhood.

The first and second quarters of 2020 in York Region were still quite quiet and only began to rebound in the 2nd half of the year. We saw inventory decline to lowest levels in many years. This pushed prices up significantly. The areas can be broken down even more specifically to each neighbourhood for actual stats regarding to specific types and styles of homes. See the stats for the areas you are interested in our neighbourhood information. This is only an overview of these areas and the average prices overall and don't reflect on specific properties.

The media often lumps the entire GTA prices together for a picture that is not always accurate, whether it be for shattering records or falling prices. It's always recommended to have specific data on the exact neighbourhood and type of property, when looking to either purchase or sell.

How our real estate practices will change in the future is yet to be determined. We have only just begun to have public open houses again and they aren't conducted in the same manner as before. Social distancing, masks and protecting the health of everyone involved is still paramount to conducting this form of marketing. It seems like many new practices adapted during this time will continue and hopefully will help streamline the process of buying and selling properties in a positive manner.