COVID-19 AKA Coronavirus, Status of the Real Estate Industry in Calgary, Alberta
What has happened overall in the economy? We have seen extreme instability in the stock market in the recent weeks, far worse than when SARS or MERS hit the world. We’ve seen record one-day highs, and record one-day losses all within the month of March 2020. We are preparing for the coronavirus to affect the global economy (if not already there) and this will launch us into a global recession in the near future. We are sitting day-by-day, as we honestly cannot predict what will happen to the economy in the short term. In the long term, the economy will rebound, and the real estate market will also rebound in the same way. Many individuals and corporations are cashing out of the stock market, and many others are day trading to profit on the volatile up and down swings. We may be a seeing a significant hit to the portfolio for many Canadians, as many depend on the stock market in part of their wealth management portfolio, whether it be for RRSPs, TFSAs and other vehicles for savings/investing. Many of Albertans rely on the Oil and Gas Industry for work. Crude Oil prices have been in a tailspin, due to the ongoing Oil Price war happening between Russia and USA. Oil prices have been dropping since the beginning of this year, and the COVID-19 is no helping the situation across western Canada. The decline in China’s demand for oil has also been low and therefore causing another reason that people may be worried what will happen to Calgary as well as Alberta and Canada respectively.
With Canada taking pro-active measures to inform the public of social distancing, and self-quarantining at home. This will help lessen the strain on our health care system as more and more people are getting tested for the Covid. The health care system in Alberta has not been fully challenged yet. Last week, they’ve indicated that any large gatherings larger than 250 be cancelled. As of today, we are seeing that Schools, K-12, and Post Secondary, and licensed childcare facilities are now closed in Alberta. Mayor Nenshi and the City of Calgary have taken precautionary measures to put the city in a local state of emergency. This allows for emergency measures to be taken and allowing for capital for emergency situations be released. They have now halted many city of Calgary funded operations such as recreation centres as well as libraries to close for 2 weeks as they learn to sort through all the global media and be on alert to help flatten the virus curve.
Real Estate update: Technology becomes strategic and crucial in real estate searching. Individuals and Realtors are using more technology to communicate and show listings virtually. We at Calgary Infills Guide will have hygiene protocols for hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, practice social distancing to help to combat this virus locally. We are using technologies such as FaceTime, FB Messenger, Skype, Zoom and other digital tools to communicate. We are encouraging anyone want to meet face to face to be mindful not to meet unless absolutely necessary. And we have other tools to share our information such as emails and phone calls.
Why is it a good time to buy in real estate? The bank of Canada has dropped the Policy Interest Rate twice this month. The policy interest rate is currently sitting at 0.75%. What this means is that the national banks follow with the bank of Canada rates for their interest rate and this allows for it to be easier to borrow money. Mortgages become more affordable and the amount to borrow is much more relaxed and it will be an easier time to get qualified. The country needs the money in our economy flowing. The goal for the Bank of Canada is working to preserve the value of money by keeping inflation low and stable.
Technology will be our biggest factor in efforts to keep the contamination to a minimum. Social distancing will be readily practiced until we get a better curve on this virus. We as agents recognize that in order to buy or sell a home, people require to see inside a home before they typically buy. There are many tools that help to give people a better idea of shopping for a house virtually and minimize the need to enter into people’s houses until it’s absolutely needed.
Things that we are doing as agents to help protect our clients. We are asking any of our clients that are not feeling well to stay home. Anyone that has recently travelled or has been near someone that has recently travelled, we ask that they self-quarantine for at least 14 days (or two weeks). We will implement Matterport 3D Virtual Tours to our houses that we are listing to minimize the need to do go into listings unless absolutely need to.
We will immediately stop open houses for the time being with any of the listings that we have. If the client absolutely requires an open house, we expect it to have all the safety precautions needed such as Lysol Wipes, Masks, Gloves or other things to keep the occupants safe.
For home inspections, we will also be doing similar protocols as we would with open houses. We will respect anyone that is self-quarantining at home and can extend condition periods if necessary.
Two weeks of staying at home might seem hard to busy and active families, but it is a good time to stay together so that we have a stronger community! It’s a good time to view homes online and really take the time to research your next home!