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Real Estate in the Time of Covid: April sales hit 38 year low

Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation | May 11th, 2020

If you have been following the news, you have likely heard the doom and gloom regarding our current "Covid Market". It is true that our Spring Market is gone and has been replaced with a much less cheery Covid Market. However the numbers at first glance do not tell the whole story.

The numbers show that:

-sales in April 2020 were down almost 40% (39.4% to be exact) when compared to April 2019...and April 2019 was not a great month
-sales in April 2020 were down 56.1% from March 2020.  That number is not as bad as it could have been given the impact of our Covid Market was felt during the last 2 weeks of March, so March sales were only good for the first 2 weeks. Had we had the full month of March with sales like we saw in the first 2 weeks, this number could have been much worse. 
-sales in April were 62.7%  below the 10 year average for April

-sales in April were the lowest they have been in 38 years...since 1982 (before many of our clients were born!)

Obviously the numbers don't lie and there are not as many sales as we would normally expect in Spring. With the uptick we had from November 2019 to mid March, this Spring was expected to have been very strong...until Covid.

There are some key things that the numbers above do not show. Firstly, while sales were down, the average price was up 2.5% year over year. There were MANY homes still selling with multiple offers (one in East Van apparently had 40 offers 2 weeks ago!) and over asking price. As is the case in ANY market, a well priced home will usually sell (not always, but usually). With the very limited number of sales, it is impossible to say much about what prices are doing at the moment; however we do know that in some price points prices are trending downward while other prices and products continue to hold their value. 

The second factor that is not reflected in the numbers above is that there were almost SIXTY percent (59.7% to be exact) fewer homes for sale April 2020 than there were in April 2019 and 47.9 percent less than in March this year. When there are very few homes for sale, buyers often cannot find what they would like to buy....leading to fewer sales.

Finally, there are still a LOT of buyers out there looking to buy. People have to pay to live somewhere and many would prefer to buy a home rather than rent one. For sellers with the type of homes buyers are looking for, priced reasonably, this market has continued to be okay.  

It is not easy to advise people at the moment, but there is a lot of information to assist clients in deciding what to do. Recently I have recommended that several sellers not sell now...BUT I have also recommended that some should. Whether someone should be selling (or buying) in the current market depends on far too many factors to summarize here. The Covid Market does not work for everyone-but it does work for some. Real Estate is an essential service for a reason...some people do need/want to move. 

If you would like to discuss the market and how it impacts your particular situation, I would be happy to provide you with more information.