COVID-19 prompting real estate agents to do virtual showings - InfoNews

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COVID-19 prompting real estate agents to do virtual showings

The COVID-19 pandemic's effect on local real estate markets aren't apparent in March statistics from the South Okanagan Real Estate Board, but realtors have since noticed a slowdown.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Assessment
April 12, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The South Okanagan real estate market continued its robust pace in March, with buyers and sellers clearly unaware of the economic turmoil ahead, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic.

March saw current sales of $63,796,185 compared to $48,054,136 in February.

There were 140 sales compared to 102 in the previous month and 447 new listings, compared to 301 in February.

The average sale price also rose from $451,512 in February to $455,687 in March.

That activity has since changed, however.

Penticton Royal LePage realtor Dori Lionello says the industry is “definitely feeling it” as the industry works to protect people from the novel coronavirus by limiting showings and introducing virtual tours and online marketing.

“There’s been an overall slowdown, especially in physical showings of property. We’ve launched a virtual showing that allows the seller to walk a potential buyer remotely through their property,” Lionello says.

She says the program is available through realtor.ca and allows a homeowner who has a property listed to activate a virtual portal.

“It’s like a Zoom call, with audio muted. The seller uses a link from an agent to open it up and do a walkthrough, so the buyer doesn’t have to physically walk through the home,” Lionello says, adding the program was activated this week.

Lionello says her office continues to conduct individual showings, with precautions and disclosures signed.

She says there is still interest in the market, but that interest is tempered what she calls a ‘hesitation.'

“People are in a hold pattern. They’ve adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude,” she says.

Lionello says she is conducting virtual showings with her clients in Alberta and on the Lower Mainland.

“They are excited to come down here, but they obviously have to wait to make that move,” she says.

Lionello says the chief economist for the British Columbia Real Estate Association is predicting 'pent-up demand' once this is over.

— This story was corrected on April 15, 2020 to note realtors continue to conduct individual showings with precautions.


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