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Coronavirus and the London Real Estate Market After 3 Weeks

In addition to being stuck at home, learning a whole new set of social habits, many of you are wondering how the shut downs and social distancing have affected the real estate industry.  We have been declared an “essential service,” so real estate buying and selling is continuing.  In the latest round of updates and restrictions set out by the Ontario government (see the full update here ), the sale and marketing of homes through organized real estate is still considered essential, but open houses have been forbidden.  The residential construction industry has been told that new permits will not be issued and new home renovation projects should not be started.  Existing work can be completed.  In addition, most real estate companies have been working on best practices guidelines for showing homes in terms of limiting showings to one group at a time, pre-showing screenings of buyers, sanitizing and the like to help reduce the risk of viral spread through the listing and showing process.  Video showings are starting to be a thing.  It is not something I would recommend, as a camera, even a video camera, hides a lot of things, even unintentionally, that are only seen by walking around in a home.  Plus, the nose and our sense of smell can tell us a lot of things that even our eyes cannot see.  So, with caution and care we move forward.  Personally, I have been involved in several transactions since the virus has arrived.  Again, with care, it is still possible to buy a home, sell a home, and do so safely.
The next question everyone wants to know, especially those of you who purchased a home four or five weeks ago and have yet to even take possession, is the market cratering?  Have sales and listings dropped off?  The answer is no.  The market snapshot below gives an encouraging picture of the market:


The stats graphic is saying that we are still very much in the middle of a seller’s market.  At first, many of us thought that things were slowing down, but after three weeks of social distancing, nearly the whole month of March, it turns out that this year’s March was better than March 2019.  There has been more listings and more sales.  Demand still exceeds supply.  And London still remains undervalued relative to the rest of the province, especially the GTA.  Values continue to rise.
As prices have risen in the city, buyers have been continuing to look for value.  As the graphic shows, that means that people have been shopping for homes, and shopping heavily, in London’s east end.  A 20% rise in prices in just the first three months of the year is significant.   The numbers above combine both detached homes and condominiums.  The percentages are similar when you break out condos from detached, with a notable exception.  Overall the average detached home in the city is now $506,253.  The average condominium is $344,119.   While the north of London seems to have leveled off, when you look at condo sales, they remain stronger in terms of price growth.  The average north end condo sells for $413,096, an increase of  6.85%.  Buyers looking for homes close to or just below the average price for the city, your classic “starter” home, and looking to live in the north end, are increasingly turning to townhouse condos as a first home alternative.
Again, if you are thinking of buying and selling this spring of 2020, even with all the challenges of Coronavirus, give me a call or send me an email/message using one of the many links on the site, and we can discuss all that is involved and what you can expect with the process these days.