Just as budding flowers are a sure sign of spring, so too are the brightly colored signs for sale that typically dotted Okanagan lawns around this time.
However, in real estate this year, while March roared like a lion, it went out like a lamb.
“It seemed like we were entering a very strong spring market with perhaps some price appreciation and now it has shrunk a lot,” said real estate agent Steve Wright.
Despite the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Revelstoke’s sales volume in Peachland in March increased by almost 5% from last year, according to statistics from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.
“We have finished March well, but most of these activities started before the pandemic,” said Michael Loewen, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.
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Real estate agents across the Okanagan are adapting and moving online to sell homes through open houses and video tours to adapt to the restrictions caused by social distancing, he added. .
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Wright said that while vacant homes and new construction are still relatively easy to show to potential buyers, he doesn’t do open houses or homes with seniors or people with compromised healthcare systems.
“And the rented houses are a challenge unless, of course, an investor wants to take the tenant, because the Prime Minister has not spoken of any eviction,” he said.
Wright said that although he still shows houses, he follows a new set of protocols.
“We must have signed forms declaring that they are in good health. We need to know who is coming home, and then we are going to prepare the house, ”he said.
“We wipe off any surfaces they may touch.”
“We have panels on the doors … we have already turned on all the lights,” he said.
Loewen said it was difficult to predict the impact that economic uncertainty and social distancing caused by the pandemic will have on the market.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a 40% drop in our market activity for the foreseeable future,” he said.
However, real estate agents are still looking to the future on the other side of the pandemic, said Wright.
“We’re going to have a pent-up demand. We’re going to have very low interest rates, and we’re going to have people who want to get back to some kind of normalcy in their lives.”
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