As the snow and ice continue to melt here in Ottawa, typically we’d be ramping up for the hottest season in real estate. Yet just like so many other industries and businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has us all wondering what the impact might have in our field: the housing market. The fact that rises and falls in real estate typically occur at a slower pace than a brick and mortar retail business with walk-in clients and hourly sales targets, for example, we might not know the full extent for many months.
In the meantime, here’s what we know about how the Coronavirus is affecting the housing market and what both buyers and sellers can do to keep moving forward during these unusual times.
Virtual Open Houses
Home-buyers in the Ottawa real-estate market have been embracing virtual tours for a while now so it’s not a huge leap for many to rely on a virtual or video tour of a property instead of an on-site visit when looking to buy a new home or condo.
Home-sellers are advised to ramp up their digital footprint and provide several high-quality pictures and videos to give buyers a true taste of the layout and charm of your space.
Home-buyers that are serious about a property but unable or unwilling to make an in-person visit can ask for a “live” video tour and ask questions in real-time.
Virtual Agent Services
In a similar vein, the communication styles of many agents will continue to evolve as acceptable and advised “social distancing” measures change. As such, we remind clients (both home-buyers and home-sellers) to take full advantage of all of the modes of communication that are offered by your agent. Whether it’s text, e-mail, direct messaging, calling, or video chat, remember that we’re here for you and will continue to put 100% into our relationship in order to serve you. Reach out … we’re missing the daily contact, too!
Mortgages + Financing
This is perhaps the biggest wild-card and unknown factor when it comes to guessing how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect the real-estate market. The Bank of Canada has lowered interest rates and mortgages have been holding steady at a low rate. So while that’s encouraging news, widespread loss or decrease of income are the real economics that affect the real estate market over time.
Loans that would normally be approved based on work history might now be considered a higher risk due to temporary lay-offs and decreased hours as businesses adjust their workforces due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Mortgage arrears from current home-owners could cause banks to tighten their purse-strings so-to-speak and make the terms more difficult for new lenders. It’s all speculation at this point as we know that it’s still early days for the pandemic in Ottawa.
All of these unknowns are no doubt adding extra stress and anxiety about how the housing market will shape up this spring. The team here at Bob Blake are watching our own curve, so to speak, and are keeping on top of the current situation and changes. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to reach out with your questions. We’d be happy to share our insights and alleviate some of your fears.