I do hope that you are all keeping safe and well out there?
The temporary closure of many businesses locally and nationally has come as a tremendous shock to people both professionally and personally and has had a dramatic impact on Families life, Health Care, Education, our Social Interaction and the Real Estate Market.
Initially, as the Covid-19 health crisis began to be felt across Canada, everyone, quite rightly, focused on home and keeping their families safe, and the real estate market largely shut down for a short time.
As everyone comes to terms with the 'new norm' - Real Estate Professionals are also adapting their business practices to continue to help those who really need to buy and sell homes at the moment.
This has involved making sure we can offer safe ways for clients to view homes. I am offering Buyers the ability to view my listings by virtual tour and professional photos, if there is interest I suggest a drive-by if that's possible for them and if they are still interested we undertake a personalised video call walking through the Property and then they are able to make an offer subject to viewing the home.
When properties are being listed right now, having them vacant is preferred, however, if the Seller is still living in the home they must be aware of the potential risks and Sellers with Tenants are not being encouraged to list.
Real Estate Agents have adopted 'showing protocols' which include the Sellers leaving all the lights on and leaving cupboards & doors open. The Buyer then completes a Health Questionnaire before entering, leaves their shoes at the door, wears gloves while in the home and agrees to a do not touch policy.
As a result, we have now started to see some limited activity in the Kelowna Real Estate Market again, but it is definitely not business as usual.
Kelowna & Central Okanagan Real Estate Sales March 2020.
- Total Sales were up 32.9% last month.
- Single-Family Homes sales up 43.5%.
- Strata sales up 19.6%.
Compared to last year some sales numbers showed a positive improvement, while others were slightly lower.
- Overall sales were up 12.2%
- Single-Family Home sales up 30.2%.
- Strata sales were down 2.4%.
As you can see, despite the dip in activity during March, sales were still really positive. This was largely due to the typically 2 to 3 week 'lag' between offers and deals firming up.
Mays sales report is likely to be a more accurate reflection of what has been happening recently.
Inventory Levels March 2020
Inventory numbers continue to rise -:
Total listings in the Central Okanagan are now 2676 up from 2,447 last month.
Single Family & Bare Land Strata Residential 983 units up from 879 last month.
Condo - 561 units up from 494 units last month.
Town Homes - 346 units up from 321 units last month.
What will the impact of the Covid-19 Virus be on our Kelowna Real Estate Market?
At this stage, it is really too soon to say.
In the short term, we should assume there will be a dip in the Real Estate Market sales numbers, however, with low-interest rates likely to be here for a while this may prove to be a real opportunity for some Buyers, particularly move-up Buyers who had previously been affected by the Mortgage Stress Test.
The impact of this could be continued upward price pressure on the more affordable homes in Kelowna.
Brendan Ogmundson, Chief Economist of the BC Real Estate Association did also weigh in with his thoughts mid-month - https://www.bcrea.bc.ca/economics/sketching-out-the-potential-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-bc-housing-market/
Mortgage Agreements are likely to take longer. Financial institutions are currently being inundated with Mortgage support requests from current Home Owners, experiencing financial difficulties.
Not related to the current crisis, I am continuing to see the impact of the changes to Strata Insurance policies. I am now seeing deductibles on policies of $150,000. Typically most Insurance Companies will only insure up to $100,000 and so owners are being asked to take out a separate policy for the additional cost, which can be quite significant.
If you would like to receive specific information about your own buying and selling needs in the Kelowna & Central Okanagan area please call or email me and my current listings can be viewed at https://www.trishcenci.com/mylistings.html
FAQ for Landlords with Tenants in BC - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19
Covid-19 Provincial Support and Information - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
BC Centre for Disease Control - http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
Finally, I would like to add my personal thanks to the Doctors, Nurses, First Responders, Delivery Drivers, Shopkeepers, and all the other Essential Service providers who are out there taking care of us all in these challenging times!
Stay safe everyone.