Home prices remain steady during pandemic
Like many people who were planning to buy and/or sell a house this spring, you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how COVID-19 pandemic impacts the real estate market. The numbers are out and – as expected – residential transactions dropped in April compared to the same period last year, but they were hardly as bleak as some anticipated.
The Durham Region Association of REALTORS® reported 513 residential transactions, which represented a 52 per cent decrease from April 2019, when home sales reached 1,075. The number of new listings in Durham, meanwhile, was 883 for the month of April compared to 1,229 in March 2020, when we began seeing measures designed to help combat the spread of COVID-19, including the cancellation of all open houses in Ontario.
Clarington, Oshawa Real Estate Markets Remain Attractive
The average home price in Durham has remained steady. The average price for all home types reached $612,563 in April 2020, just slightly higher than the average sale price of $612,195 in April 2019. In Clarington, the average selling price was $584,000 in April, up slightly from $572,595 in April 2019. In Oshawa, the average selling price was $517,738 in April, also up slightly from $502,803 in April 2019.
Those numbers mean Clarington and Oshawa remain among the most affordable municipalities in Durham and an attractive option for homebuyers. Brock Township is the only Durham municipality where home prices are lower.
When looking at home prices, it’s important to remember the pace of price growth is dictated by the relationship between sales and listings, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board – which encompasses Durham Region – reminds. Sales in the Greater Toronto Area may have dropped 67 per cent in April but listings also dropped 65 per cent, so that means COVID-19 hasn’t created any imbalance in the market.
We know a key factor in the housing market recovery will be a broader reopening of the economy because it will pave the way to an improving employment picture and a resurgence in consumer confidence. In a housing report released on May 4, RBC Economics suggested the worst may have passed, with April being the low point for housing resales now that the economy shows signs of starting back up.
If the economy continues to re-open this month, both buyers and selling could start engaging with the housing market again, leading to an increase in sales, it says. (https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/super-quiet-april-in-housing-market-could-be-the-cyclical-low-point/)
Spring, Summer Markets Show Promise
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (www.trreb.ca) has predicted the market will improve this spring and summer and continue to accelerate through the fall as social distancing measures relax and more and more people return to work.
Homebuyers are expected to take advantage of very low borrowing costs that will remain in place to boost economic recovery. A lack of inventory that was a serious problem before the onset of COVID-19 is likely. Some industry experts are even advising first-time buyers to get their financial ducks in a row so they’re ready to jump in when the market picks up again.
Meeting Your Real Estate Needs Safely
While realtors have been deemed an essential service during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it’s been business as usual. I want to assure you that I am continuing to meet your real estate needs in a safe and responsible manner by taking all necessary precautions as recommended by our public health officials.
That includes using communication tools like Zoom, texts, phone calls and emails to limit contact with the general public. I have embraced tools like virtual tours and am using electronic forms and signatures to close transactions.
As you weigh your options when it comes to buying and/or selling, please know I am here to help you make an informed decision that’s best for you and your family. My strength continues to be knowing and being part of this wonderful community. We’re all in this together!