COVID-19 and Bowen Real Estate

Figure A and B illustrate the BCREA (BC Real Estate Association) scenarios on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the BC housing market.* 
“While it’s unknown how the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak will impact the economy in the long-term, BC is facing a sudden stop in economic activity with little guidance to when things may return to normal. Based on [the BCREA] scenario analysis, BC home sales and prices will likely face declines in the spring and early summer but should recover along with the wider economy in the second half of the year, contingent on the outbreak resolving. The postponed change to the mortgage stress test rate, originally slated for April 6, 2020, will mute the impact of falling interest rates for the BC housing market.”

The BCREA report is for the entire province. Locally we will doubtless see a decline in sales; however, our MLS® HPI (benchmark price) has performed better than all Metro municipalities throughout the volatile market in 2018 and 2019 and is well up from 2017 (Figure C).
The risk of spreading the COVID-19 during the process of selling and buying a home can be mitigated by reducing the need for in-person contact at meetings, showings, and open houses. Video tours when combined with frank advice from a REALTOR® can reduce the number of properties the buyer feels it is necessary to visit. Digital signature technology virtually eliminates the need for paper and reduces the number of face-to-face contacts between client and REALTOR® and between REALTORS®. In addition, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has temporarily removed the MLS® rule (until April 30) that limited “no show” periods to five days.

As of this date these mitigations are consistent with ‘flattening the curve”; however, sellers, buyers, and REALTORS® should make decisions based on the latest recommendations from public health.