By Justin Seward
Like a lot of industries, real estate shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March.
Locally, it was for a four-week period and into April that many changes occurred.
“We did see a few of the listings also get withdrawn off the market. Just sellers not sure, that insecurity, and the unknown as to what COVID could potentially do for pricing,” said Brooklyn Kalista, owner of Royal Lepage Community Realty.
“How long would we be going under this sort of lifestyle, if showings were to be allowed and everything that goes along with dealing with a pandemic.”
However, after real estate was able to survive that period, it was shown as an essential service and some saw light at the end of the tunnel moving forward.
“We got some guidelines and protocols of course to do work out there that is safe not only for ourselves, but first and foremost our clients and the public we deal with,” she said.
“That took up that first four-week period. After that, we started to see some traction in the market.”
Real estate agent guidelines include keeping proper distance between clients and the public.
Within her brokerage, signage was put up at each property, just asking the people coming into a house to be mindful of the space and not touching the surfaces and having hand sanitizer or sanitization wipes available.
“Outside of that we’re asking sellers that they’re turning on the lights and keeping their closets open. If they have unique, intricate spaces within cupboards that they want to show-off, that normally people would have the ability to open without question, just to have those open so the potential buyer walking through can see those attributes of the property,” she said.
An agent and a couple are the most allowed in a house for a showing.
Open houses are allowed again after not being allowed for the first while.
If a viewer is showing up to an open house, they’re to text the agent to make sure there is no one in the house.
Kalista said rural communities are different compared to inner Medicine Hat.
“We have been seeing motion in those areas as well,” she said.
“I know some of the lots out at 40 Mile Park, we’ve seen motion there, where there have been multiple offer situations. I think it’s pretty positive in regards to what many people were expecting or where their concerns were at with what the market would be doing.”
She said across the board, they have not seen a pricing adjustment in the rural area.
“What had happened is COVID hit right in our spring market,” she said.
“We have a lot of people bringing their properties on-market and with COVID hitting, there was little bit of a halt there and our inventory didn’t stack up like it normally would.
“But we still had buyers out in the market actively looking and wanting to make a purchase. Our market did get a little bit picked through in some areas, which was great because it allowed us to stabilize in pricing and not see a big hit.”
She said, “pricing has stayed stable.”
There has been a good mix of first time buyers, people doing a move down and famies, she added.
Going into June, her real estate company was 28 per cent down year-to-date.
She said that was a good place to be considering April was a write-off.