WINNIPEG — COVID-19 has impacted several businesses in the province and now the numbers are showing it has rocked the housing market in April as well.
WinnipegREALTORS said sales for Multiple Listing Service were down 30 per cent last month and new listings also dropped sharply by 42 per cent compared to April 2019.
Peter Squire with WinnipegREALTORS said this has never been seen before.
“Our April is very unusual, you can never really look back to see another April quite like this,” he said.
Squire added the pandemic caused an abrupt change as 2020 was going really well before the virus hit.
The organization said the first-quarter market results were the best in its history.
“January, February, March were outstanding so there was no reason to think without this pandemic coming that we were in for another really solid year based on our record year in 2019,” said Squire.
Condominium sales dropped by 53 per cent last month and residential-detached sales were down 32 per cent compared to last year.
There is some good news though, as sales so far this year are just two per cent behind compared to 2019 and only three per cent back from the five-year average.
Squire said the industry is adapting.
“Our members, I think, are doing their level best to adapt through different practices like virtual showings. The Securities Commission is now allowing us to use digital signatures for our documents.”
He also said open houses are starting up again after they were shut down in April. But he added there are new measures in place to follow the government’s guidelines.
“Essentially only one party in the house at a time and shorter viewings so they can get more people through the house, say over a two-hour span.
“They will have signage and they will have to social distance, there will be hand sanitizers,” Squire added.
He also mentioned that people won’t have to touch things and realtors can handle opening and closing closet doors and other places people might want to see.
Disclosure forms will also need to be filled out to clarify that people haven’t come from another province or country in the last 14 days and that they are feeling well.
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