April 20, 2020 Update

Another regular update on changes in local market due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As I talked about last week, sales volume continues to decline as expected and shows the local Real Estate industry and market is doing what it can to flatten the curve.

Guelph Real Estate Sales Representative, Michael Bennett, talks about the impacts of Covid-19 as reflected in local statistics and sales information.

March 2020 shows an increase in Guelph home values.

Many Realtors like myself look at statistics to help us value and market properties. These stats are the same ones we look at to gauge the individual markets we represent. A community like Guelph can often show different trends from those in Toronto or even Waterloo Region. So, to provide a more intensely local look at Guelph real estate, the information below focuses on Guelph.

At the beginning of each month, the Home Price Index gets updated to reflect sales written in the months previous. This along with some other stats that we have access to gives us an indication of how to price a property relative to what the market is doing. It also allows us to understand where the market might be going in the future.

So, here are the facts as I see them, from data made available to me as a member of the Canadian and Ontario Real Estate Associations.

As I’ve mentioned previously, we came into this with very strong demand and a continuation of low inventory numbers. This trend continued early in March and has helped the average single-family home in Guelph rise by about 1.8%. Apartments, townhouses and single-family homes all saw increases in value in March. April is going to be hard to predict, but I suspect we’ll see modest changes if any in Value.

The statistic that should show the most variance from normal activity throughout this global pandemic is Sales Volume. March 2020 showed a very modest increase in sales activity with only 9 more transactions than February. Comparatively, March 2019 had 55 more transactions than the month prior. I expect April 2020 will show a decline in the number of monthly transactions compared to normal years. This isn’t a bad thing, this means that my colleagues and consumers are doing what we are being asked to do, STAY HOME.

There are many more statistics that I have access to, however, these are the two that I felt would most indicate what is happening right now, and what to expect moving into April. As always, I can be reached at 519-820-6979 or michaelbennett@royallepage.ca. If you would like to chat real estate, statistics or otherwise, please just reach out.

Changing Role of a Realtor

How my job went from being in front of people to avoiding people.

Like everyone, the Job of being a Realtor has changed dramatically and almost hourly over the last month. From focusing on coffee’s, lunches, showing homes and talking Real Estate with people, I’m now doing what I can to avoid face to face contact with anyone. This change happened so gradually, yet so quickly, many of us are trying to figure out how to fill a calendar that used to be booked weeks in advance.

I’m a firm believer that these immediate turns in our lives are actually opportunities. Whether it was when my career with the Guelph Mercury came to a much-publicised end, or now, the opportunities for positive change will exist. We just need to keep an open mind and embrace the ones that make us a better member of our community.

Speaking of opportunity, have you ever said, “If I had more time, I would…..”? I think we all have and I hope you are making the most of this time. One of my goals for 2020 was to communicate more to my clients and friends about the Real Estate world in Guelph. I am trying to do that with even more purpose through my weekly update. These will move to monthly once the Pandemic subsides, but for now, I believe communicating and providing good information is key to everyone feeling less anxious. Not on the list… sign up here

You may have noticed that I have embraced a technology called Zoom. This video conferencing tool allows me to hold coffee meetings, cocktail dates with friends, and hopefully a weekly coffee/round table to answer questions about Real Estate. Please feel free to join me, or even ask for a one on one coffee.

Real Estate Services as an Essential Service

While the Covid-19 Pandemic has most businesses closed and services in Ontario grinding to a halt, why is a Realtor Considered an Essential Service?

Now that’s a question I’ve seen asked on Social Media, and in fact, it is a decision that many in our industry were surprised but thankful for. It’s also a decision that my colleagues and I need to take seriously and not abuse.

Real Estate Services for those who have already purchased a home, and given notice to their landlord, or sold their current home must close on time to allow the chain of moving from one home to the next to continue. As professionals, the last thing we want to see happen is for someone to find themselves the odd domino out of a chain of closings and not have our support to sort things out with them to get into their new home.

In fact, I have spent most of a day this week helping a client sort through an unfortunate hiccup just before closing. Their diligence and a little guidance from me will hopefully allow their house to close next week.

So, with that in mind, we are essential to support our clients through closing their deal and to continue to assist clients that have an urgent need for a home.

The Ontario Real Estate Association takes this perspective seriously and issued a statement to all registered Realtors in Ontario that we were to NOT conduct public open houses until further notice. We are to avoid face to face meetings, and if possible show homes virtually when no one else is in the residence. As an association and an industry, we are taking Social-Distance seriously.

Personally, I stopped showing homes over a week ago, and have maintained a fairly strict self-isolation regime since then. I’ve only ventured near people to pick up groceries at the curbside and fuel my vehicle. But, even though I’ve haven’t been physically in the presence of anyone other than my partner, I have still been engaging clients virtually, even hosting a market update through Zoom.

March 23 – Update

Guelph Real Estate Results amidst Covid-19

Well, the world has changed in a week! Many people are returning home from March Break vacations, some of which were cut short. Snowbirds have returned home earlier than normal and Ontario has just announced the closure of all non-essential businesses for the next 2 weeks to further the message of social distancing and self-isolation.

I don’t know how that will impact the Guelph Real Estate Market long term. The market was VERY Hot entering March break with a low inventory of homes for sale and what seemed to be a growing number of buyers. Between March 16 and March 23, 2020 (the last 7 days) we saw a net gain of just 4 homes for sale. In that time period, Guelph itself saw 82 new listings, 19 conditional sales, 31 firm sales along with an additional 28 sales firm up from conditionally sold to sold.

Now, with all of the scrutiny on many businesses to help “flatten the curve” Real Estate is no different. We must as an industry continue to service and do a good job for our clients, whether they are a buyer or a seller. However, we also have an obligation to our communities to take every precaution reasonable to ensure our, our clients and public safety in these unprecedented times.

Royal Lepage Royal City Realty announced several changes early last week. These changes are to allow us to still service existing and new clients while maintaining the utmost sensitivity to the current situation.

  • Not hosting public or agent open houses.
  • Not allowing “shared” showings with multiple Realtors and clients of currently listed properties at the same time.
  • Closing our offices to the public.
  • Requesting that all showings include sanitization procedures, before, during and after.
  • Using electronic signatures whenever possible.
  • Encouraging virtual tours, virtual open houses, and virtual showings when possible.

While this list isn’t complete, and it changes daily if not hourly at times, working for a Real Estate Brokerage that puts our clients, staff and public safety at the forefront is something that makes me proud.

If you would like to discuss how the current situation affects your home value, or how it affects the buying process, I would be happy to set up a phone call, coffee or home evaluation. If you just wanna chat real estate over a virtual coffee… I can arrange that as well. E-mail Me Here

What’s going on in the world

….of Real Estate in Guelph?

I’m sure you’ve been inundated with the news of what to do during Covid-19.  It’s really the only topic on any of my news feeds.

So, if you are wondering how all of this is going to affect the world of real estate, I can assure you that right now, things are still trucking along.  Clients are still asking to see homes, and deals are still getting done.  There were several instances of multiple offers this past weekend.  I do say that with caution because I expect that if everyone does as we are being asked, we’ll see a couple of weeks where that will slow down. Above you can see how February looked, but for the good of all of us, I hope it does pause so we as a community can “flatten the curve”.

Today we had an office conference call (the new normal) about the hourly changes to our processes, policies, and procedures to protect our clients, staff and the community at large. After all, the community is our clients, staff, friends, and family. It’s “Business NOT as usual,” says Des Von Teichman, our Broker/Owner. Royal LePage Royal City Realty is continuing to support us as Realtors and you as home buyers and sellers 100%, we just have to do it differently.

Here are some of our current adjustments. There are many more and the change daily/hourly at times.

  • Offices closed to the public, but still serving the public.
  • Electronic Communications/procedures to be used wherever possible.
  • Social distancing in the office includes a request to work from home if at all possible.
  • Most support staff working from home, but still providing our clients with the same great service.
  • Private Showings are preferred to Open Houses as this possibly reduces exposure.
  • All showings to include sanitization kits/wipes for any contact with doorknobs etc.
  • All showing instructions to cooperating Realtors to include reminders of sanitization practices.
  • Deposits and other transfers to be done electronically whenever possible.

So, yes, I expect that a superheated market that has defined January and February will change. But, after a very calm next few weeks, what will that market look like? I don’t know, but I think the 1% reduction in prime lending rates announced last week will certainly help many remain in the market and find a home in the months following this dramatic change to our lives.

2020 Real Estate Update

Setting goals, budgets and targets for a new year is what January is filled with for many business people and industries. My business as a full time professional real estate agent entails exactly that every January. Whether it’s developing marketing budgets and plans or just budgeting for the vacation of a lifetime, it always helps to look back at trends and statistics.

To help you better understand how what for most people is their most important and valuable asset, I take a look at the local Real Estate market in this video.