By Michael van Cooten
OTTAWA, Ontario, May 15, 2020 – Statistics released, today, by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show the history-making and devastating effect the coronavirus pandemic — and its attendant social, economic and commercial restrictions — had on Canada’s home sales, last month.
National residential sales, and new listings, as recorded by the Canadian MLS® Systems, slumped by more than half in April 2020, compared to “an already weakened March” — 56.8 percent and 55.7 percent, respectively.
Compared to the same period in 2019, April’s actual — not seasonally-adjusted — national residential sales activity retreated by a whopping 57.6 percent; but one silver lining in this dark, gloomy, housing-cloud was prices, which inched up by 6.4 percent.
The economic beat-down in the national real estate residential market was precipitated by “a majority of sellers and buyers having, seemingly, moved off to the sidelines during the COVID-19 lockdown”, suggested CREA.
“Never, in our recent history, have we dealt with such widespread effects of a pandemic that limit everyone’s day-to-day life, and have forced all of us to pivot and adjust to our new reality,” said Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA.
Real estate agents, across the country, continue to comply with all government directives and advice to keep their clients safe, the CREA Chair offered, noting “We’ve adopted new technologies, allowing us to continue showing properties, virtually, as well as completing all necessary documents.”
However, Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, gives reason for optimism in the immediate future of the housing market: “Like so many other parts of normal daily life, a lot of buying and selling activity in housing markets, across Canada, has been put on pause.
“That said, preliminary data for May suggest things may have already started to pick up a bit, for both sales and new listings, in line with evidence that new and existing virtual technology tools have been adopted by real estate agents and their clients. These tools have allowed quite a bit of essential business to safely continue, and will likely remain key, for some time.”