March was a month of two markets.It began with a bang and ended with a fizzle. The difference? The impact of COVID-19 and social distancing.
March was a good month in comparison to a year ago. The first two weeks built upon the strength of the last couple of months. Demand was strong, sales were brisk and prices were being pressured upward.
But then the risks of COVID-19 became very real. The increased uncertainty resulted in a significant dampening of the market. Some buyers and sellers decided that it was not the best time to act.
Yet others still needed to buy or sell…or they sensed an opportunity in the market. So while the volume of sales declined substantially in the second half of the month, properties ARE still moving.
A few weeks on and the market is adapting. There is less uncertainty. Agents have adapted their business practices to limit risks both to themselves as well as their clients (eg using technology to reduce the requirement of face to face activity).
Our market will remain subdued so long as COVID-19 is at the forefront of our minds. However, as it continues everyone is adapting. Those that need to be active in the market are finding that they can do so safely.
There are opportunities out there both for buyers and sellers. As buyers, the competition isn’t as fierce. They are able to take their time to find the right home and can usually negotiate reasonable terms. On the selling side, attractive properties stand out. If they are well priced and positioned they are still selling quickly.
So far, prices remain stable. If COVID-19 remains an issue for a long period of time, we may find that will change and downward pressure could result. But so far, that’s not the case.