With all the instability brought on by Covid in the last 18 months, one thing that seems to be inescapable is that the pandemic has caused real estate market changes on an extraordinary scale. A change in markets and movement in interest rates has impacted who wants to sell and who wants to buy. Employment status, travel, and school closures have transformed how people think about their homes and their commutes. These fluctuations go beyond supply/demand—they plunge deep into the root of how we live and what we value. Read more to learn about how covid has affected real estate.
Location, Location, Location
As Canadians seek healthier lifestyles with larger spaces inside and out, bustling metropolises’ that were once the most desired locations for amenities, culture, and sophistication are being traded for the small towns that were previously thought to be too small, too remote, and unrefined. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, people are seeking safer, stable locations with fewer lockdowns. The opportunity to work from home or have children attend smaller schools has started a covid migration. This has meant that smaller towns are seeing an increase in prices as supply runs low while big cities are finding a higher demand for larger homes as more people spend time indoors.
Its What’s Inside that Counts
In the wake of stay-at-home orders and revolving lockdowns, Canadian housing tastes have changed. As amenities have been restricted, homes where people can work, exercise, learn, relax, cook, and enjoy their lives have become more in demand. A survey on realtor.com showed that buyers were looking for more square footage, less dense neighbourhoods, home gyms and offices, upgraded kitchens, and bigger yards—a shift from urban to suburban and even rural lifestyles. A shift from condo living and small homes near many conveniences to larger self-sustaining suburban homes is driving the migration out of cities.
Buying and Selling looks Different
With lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and the public health measures being used to prevent the spread of covid, the methods normally used to sell a home are changing frequently. Open houses and showings are affected by these rules but the takeaway here is that there will be less physical traffic through a home than there was before. More intense photos and videos, higher web presence, virtual showings and even negotiations mean you need to make sure your realtor is tech-savvy whether buying or selling so you don’t miss out.
If you are selling, your realtor can help you minimize risk by staggering showings and limiting days to give you an opportunity to sanitize upon your return. You can help by placing sanitizer at entry points and gloves to use inside the house as well. If you are buying, be prepared to answer screening questions and use sanitizer and gloves at showings. Your realtor will guide you through each step but remember that some of the new rules are out of their control.
Real Estate Tools are Improving
As mentioned above, many realtors have had to turn to digital presentations of homes in lieu of walk-through showings due to lockdowns. This means the tools are getting better as quickly as the technology can adapt. Not only can you get amazing panoramic photography done, the “virtual walk-through” experience has been perfected with interactivity and better access. Drones are adding a new element to imaging and now you can take a tour of the property and neighbourhood of a house without ever leaving your home. Website functionality has increased dramatically and apps such as facetime/zoom and realtor.ca make the experience even easier as they progress and expand through the pandemic.
There is an Imbalance in Buyers and Sellers
This makes the market more competitive and fast-moving in many cases. In some high-demand locations, buyers are purchasing homes with only a virtual tour and some even sight-unseen. While this may seem scary, a realtor can help you plan to determine how to best find what you are looking for in your price range. If you are selling, your realtor can help you plan to find the right buyers faster, minimize your showings, and maximize your profit.
The full repercussions of covid on the real estate market have yet to be seen. One thing is for certain, it has fundamentally changed our thinking about where we live and how we use our homes. The impacts on the real estate market have so far been far-reaching in terms of supply and demand but also on interest rates and the market overall. Nobody can truly predict how long the effects will last but certainly, the significant change in the mindset of homeowners will be felt for many years to come as it re-shapes our values.
So, what is the takeaway? As covid motivates buyers and sellers alike, you need professionals to ensure you get the advantage of the current market to find exactly the home you want or get the best price as you sell. Reach out to the Blackwell Group today to find out how we can help you navigate the ever-changing “new normal”.