Ontario real estate activity has seen an uptick in recent weeks, as consumers and the industry adopt a “new normal,” which includes strict social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment – if you can get your hands on it. RE/MAX Real Estate Centre, which serves Cambridge, Kitchener and surrounding areas, is doing its part to boost the safety of its agents, clients and even its competitors by sharing “safe home showing kits.” Broker and owner Delio Oliveira says he’s already seen in-person showings more than double in recent weeks. “Our safe home showing kits have certainly contributed to this, as our sellers feel more comfortable with a no-contact showing.”
While April 2020 housing data indicates a steep decline in home sales and listings last month, the Canadian Real Estate Association has highlighted preliminary May figures that show activity may already be on the up-swing. Similar trends have been reported in Ontario real estate markets.
“Many clients start with virtual showings and exclude the homes that don’t meet their criteria,” Oliveira says. “The result is that the buyers who engage in in-person viewings are more serious and qualified, because they have narrowed their search substantially with virtual showings. It has made the showing process much more efficient. This will be a continuing trend post-COVID 19.”
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Safe Home Showing Kits
“There is a tremendous awareness of the dangers of not practicing physical distancing, so buyers and sellers feel uneasy to say the least,” Oliveira says. “Since we introduced our safe home showing kits, our clients have felt a lot safer and have really embraced our brokerage as the safe solution. Consumer awareness of these measures is top of mind as we continue to distribute these kits.”
Within three days of launching the initiative in late April, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre distributed nearly 1,000 PPE kits. To date, they have distributed nearly 4,000 of them to agents, clients and competitors.
“I think we are all better for it. We are truly all in this together,” Oliveira says. “We are fortunate to have the resources of a large brokerage with nearly 1,000 agents and 17 locations, so we felt that we needed to share with those who would not have the same opportunities to enhance the safety of their clients. [RE/MAX Real Estate Centre co-owner] David Medeiros and I are extremely proud of our team who have worked tirelessly to facilitate this initiative.”
Oliveira and Medeiros initially provided the PPE kits exclusively to their agents due to very limited supply. Within days, their supply opened up somewhat thanks to their own in-house design, marketing and print shop. In coordination with their own company courier, they were able to provide the artwork, labeling and distribution, and scale this venture to accommodate demand.
Ontario Real Estate Trends
Ontario real estate had a strong start to 2020, with low inventory and high demand creating the perfect storm for rising prices and a seller’s market. Then the pandemic hit and the world changed, leaving homebuyers and sellers wondering whether now is a good time to get into the market. Many took to the sidelines due to job losses and economic uncertainty. Find out how a variety of factors are impacting Ontario real estate prices right now.