Local real estate market sees drop in home buying interest
While several industries have taken a hit with the pandemic, the real estate market is seeing a decrease in home-buying interest both locally and nationally.
In Guelph, while sales activity and new listings have increased for the month of March compared to previous years, active listings and the months of inventory have dropped.
“Naturally in terms of buyers basically adhering to the self quarantining and social distancing, its not truly conducive to our active marketing practices,” said president of the Guelph And District Association of Realtors, Matthew Bennett-Monty, who has been in the business for 15 years.
“We just haven’t seen this locally,” he said of a pandemic transforming the way real estate is practiced.
In Guelph, active listings dropped from 468 in March 2019 to 347 in March 2020 whereas months of inventory (an approximate measure of how long existing homes will last on the market) dropped from 1.9 in March 2019 to 1.2 in March 2020.
According to traffic data provided by Point2 Homes, a software company for real estate markets around the globe, home searches reached a 32 per cent drop in Canada on March 16 after the first significant drop was 8 per cent on March 11.
Google Trends also indicated a 23 per cent drop in interest of real estate related terms such as houses for sale”, “homes for sale”, and “condos for sale” between March 6 and March 13.
“We’re certainly seeing a decrease in the activity,” said Bennett-Monty referring to listing activities and showing activities.
On March 21, the Ontario Real Estate Association called upon realtors to stop holding open houses to stop the spread of COVID-19 leaving the real estate industry to rely entirely on virtual practices.
“We’re still carrying on business but its a far different business. One that we’ve never seen before,” said Bennett-Monty.