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Vancouver real estate market apparently immune to COVID-19 impacts

Summary

Property prices haven't dropped in Vancouver's notoriously expensive market, but interest rates have

Realtors are either suspending open houses altogether or modifying them to enable social distancing

VANCOUVER (CityNews) — COVID-19 has prompted shutdowns and layoffs, devastating many industries.  But Vancouver’s real estate market–especially when it comes to condos under $1 million–doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

“We’ve seen countless buyers come out for the last several weeks with record open houses,” says realtor Colin Doig.

“Property prices aren’t necessarily dropping but mortgage rates are.”

RELATED: Several banks again lowering prime lending rate, this time to 2.95 per cent

Although the market hasn’t taken a financial hit, concerns over the coronavirus are forcing realtors to change the way they do business.

On Thursday, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver sent a memo to its 14,000 members urging them to forego Open Houses.

“Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way,” said Ashley Smith, president, in the statement.

“We’ve heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their Realtors are not holding Open Houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today.”

 

Doig says so far, Open Houses have been continuing, but with fewer people and more precautions.

“Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes are on site, we’re making sure that the seller is protected from whoever comes into their property,” Doig says.

“We’re asking buyers not to touch anything, we’re also limiting the number of people into properties just to be careful.”

He also says prospective buyers are being encouraged to do more online research before booking a private viewing of any property.