2020 has been an absolutely strange year. At the beginning of the year (in Winnipeg) at least there were rumblings of the Coronavirus in Asia and I don’t think we were prepared for what the next few months would bring. With early spring/summer seeing the first cases in Canada and Manitoba there were predictions for the Winnipeg real estate market of a complete decline in sales and home values. From this REALTOR®’s perspective that couldn’t have been further from the actual scenario. With homes consistently selling for over list price in multiple offer bidding wars throughout the city it became clear early on that this year would not be the same as many previous.
As an observation on the market I believe a large proportion of the reason for these bidding wars has been a higher number of people who are currently in a smaller property, whether that be renting an apartment, or just living in a smaller home have realized that they wanted something with some more space to allow for working from home, home schooling and general isolation due to our situation with the coronavirus. This has brought out a massive demand for similar property options around Winnipeg, while the amount of homes actually going up for sale has decreased approximately 30% on average compared to 2019. This has limited the amount of options available to the people looking to purchase and has created our heated bidding and offer system, and also increasing home prices significantly versus the same time last year.
That being said we have also seen issues with appraisal values due to the overpayment of properties, we have seen plenty of banks who offered pre-approvals not give financing to the same clients after an offer was presented on homes. It seems like even though there is demand for homes there are still barriers to entry into the market during this pandemic.
Some things to note during this pandemic are that the real estate industry is listed as an essential service and as such we are still operating, but not as usual. Some of the new systems in place during this pandemic include new guidelines and rules for how to view a property, who can view a property and also when you can view a property. Below are some guidelines for potential purchasers or sellers that have changed due to the Coronavirus:
- If you want to tour a property, ensure you have a valid, recent (withing the last 1-2 months) pre-approval in place. Agents are required to pre-qualify buyers before showing them a property and it is in your best interest to know what you can afford especially with all of the bidding wars happening on properties
2. WHO can view a home?
- The Winnipeg Realtors rules for viewing homes have changed and only 2 people (not including the realtor) are allowed in a home at a viewing. Also, only the people who are going to be on title for the home should be viewing the property.
3. When can you view a property?
- With the new COVID-19 rules we as realtors are not allowed to overlap any showings with other groups. This means that now you are required to book a viewing (in 30 min intervals) and to go through the property as quickly as possible. The goal is to limit the amount of touching and overlap between people in any given property.
4. Additional requirements
- Some additional requirements for viewing properties include a requirement to fill out a COVID-19 declaration form. This for is required for EACH viewing of any home. If you view 5 homes you need to complete 5 disclosures. These ensure that you are healthy, have not had an opportunity to trace infect yourself or anyone else if you have been exposed to the coronavirus.
The big things to take away from this new system is to get yourself pre-approved prior to any requests with a realtor, ensure that if you are sick you are not viewing properties, and to not unnecessarily tour properties during the pandemic.
If you have any real estate related questions about the new rules, or want to know any other information on the current market feel free to contact us.
Tel: (204) 226-1261