COVID-19: What It Means for the Canadian Real Estate Industry

Over the past week, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic has made a large impact on the Canadian population.

Gatherings with 50 people or more are being banned, international borders are closed, Canadians are stocking up on items such as toilet paper, and interest rates are being cut.

Businesses from manufacturers, to travel companies, to grocery stores are being affected — including the Canadian real estate industry.

Here is some of the most prominent industry news that could affect Canadian real estate professionals:

  1. The Bank of Canada Interest Rate

On March 13, 2020, in an emergency decision, the Bank of Canada (BOC) cut interest rates to 0.75%. The interest rate was previously at 1.25%, the rate set on March 4, 2020.

The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1% and the deposit rate is 0.5%.

“This unscheduled rate decision is a proactive measure taken in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices,” the BOC stated.

Read more about the interest rate decrease: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/bank-of-canada-lowers-overnight-rate-target-to-%C2%BE-percent/

  1. Rescheduled Events

Many organizations are cancelling or postponing events that were previously planned for March and April 2020.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) announced that it has cancelled the REALTOR® Connect events that were scheduled to happen in Toronto, London, and Ottawa on March 23, March 27, and April 1. They have also suspended in-person classes and cancelled all examinations. Online classes will continue to be made available.

The Canadian Mortgage Awards have been postponed to October 30, 2020: https://canadianmortgageawards.com

REMIC announced that students taking in-class licensing courses will have access from home, starting March 23.

If you are planning to attend an event in the new few weeks, check with the organizer first — it’s highly unlikely that it will still be happening.

  1. Impact on House Prices and the Spring Real Estate Market

As COVID-19 progresses, it is not clear yet what effects it will have on the spring real estate market.

The March 2020 RBC Monthly Housing Market Update stated:

“COVID-19 is about to change everything: Unprecedented measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus – including social distancing – have the potential to bring house hunting activity to a virtual halt this spring.”

Even if not directed to sit things out by health authorities, RBC said, buyers will have plenty of excuses to take a wait-and-see approach.

  1. What Real Estate Professionals Can Do

While the outlook is uncertain, real estate professionals can maintain business continuity by paying attention to public health advisories and limiting contact through online real estate tools.

Health officials are advising to limit contact with others if you are feeling sick. This is where online real estate tools can be particularly beneficial.

Property data tools, like the ones from GeoWarehouse, can be used to find properties, verify client information, estimate property value, and even view aerial and streetscape images all online.

Online real estate tools can even be used to host virtual open houses, meet with potential buyers and sellers, and respond with agility to any fast market changes.

New to online real estate tools? GeoWarehouse offers online training webinars for real estate industry professionals. See our course calendar: http://marketing.geowarehouse.ca/acton/fs/blocks/showLandingPage/a/1288/p/p-01cf/t/page/fm/0

For additional information about COVID-19 please visit the Government of Canada’s website for the most up-to-date travel advice and advisories related to the coronavirus.

GeoWarehouse is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the Canadian real estate industry. As always, our online real estate tools are available for subscribers.

Our clients’ health and well-being is our highest priority. We are available over phone or email to answer any questions.

Reach out to us by calling 1-866-237-5937 or visiting https://www2.geowarehouse.ca/contactus/.