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Real Estate Market during COVID-19 pandemic

What had been an exciting sales year for real estate in the Central Okanagan is suddenly expected to endure a turbulent summer.

Industry professionals across the valley are bracing for the drastic economic impact that is predicted to come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s estimated that real estate sales in the Central Okanagan could be down more than 50% as potential buyers grow increasingly uncomfortable with job security or something as simple as viewing a home.

According to the Okanagan Real Estate Board (OMREB), despite not having the official numbers yet, April has already seen a downward trend in both listings and sales.

There’s been a drop in sales directly related to a dip in the number of active listings, however, it does vary depending on the sub-regions within OMREB.

The first-quarter data shows that most of the OMREB area experienced a big slow down, while sales for the Central Okanagan region actually increased by almost 15% over that period, which includes March when self-isolation measures first came into play.

According to new data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) – and the average price in BC was up nearly 8 percent from a year earlier.

However, with the number of active listings seeing a dip alongside sales numbers, it remains to be seen whether the Okanagan will shift into a buyer’s market. A buyer’s market refers to a supply in demand scenario, where if listings shoot up and sales decline it will shift demand.

If that’s the case, you will begin to see prices change, but we’re currently seeing both listings and sales drop so it’s hard to tell what prices will do.

Part of the struggle is realtors having to switch to showing methods such as virtual tours that adhere to physical distancing recommendations.

The economic climate brought on by COVID-19 also has a chance to escalate the plans of Albertan and Saskatchewan residents planning to retire in the Okanagan.

But with no crystal ball, it’s hard to tell where the economic fallout of the pandemic will lead the local real estate market.