Online sales are beginning to alter the traditional sales practices for real estate developments. (Contributed)

Okanagan real estate board agrees with provincial call to halt open houses

Board says there are many other way for Realtors to sell the homes that need to be sold

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) agrees with a call to halt open houses for real estate sales and rentals in B.C.

This morning, the Real Estate Council of BC called for the temporary halt of all open houses across the province Thursday (Nov. 5) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s always up to the sellers if they do want to do an open house or not, but we just strongly recommend they don’t, especially during a time when the public health officer says it would be prudent not to,” said OMREB president, Kim Heizmann, Thursday afternoon.

With the rising COVID-19 numbers, Heizmann said the OMREB believes this to be the right decision until coronavirus numbers change.

READ MORE: B.C. realtors asked to halt open houses due to spike in COVID cases

READ MORE: B.C. breaks records with 425 new COVID-19 cases; test positivity rate of 3.8%

In terms of how this new recommendation may affect the local real estate market, Heizmann anticipates it will be fairly seamless. Since the beginning of the year, realtors have been utilizing a new live-streaming tour tool, developed by Realtor.ca and the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“I think there’s lots of ways for realtors to still utilize technology and tools in order to get the properties sold that need to be sold.”

This new recommendation by the real estate council does not prevent realtors from hosting in-person tours. Sanitizing, social distancing, masks, and ensuring everyone is healthy before a tour begins are all things realtors have been doing since March to help prevent the spread of the virus.

In the Okanagan, the real estate market is booming. In the Okanagan-Shuswap region, 70 per cent more homes sold in October of this year, compared to 2019. This is just slightly down compared to September, where 78 per cent more homes sold in September 2020, compared to 2019.

Additionally, the time it takes for homes to fly off the shelves is decreasing.

Heizmann referred to these recent market statistics as ‘shocking’, adding they haven’t seen increases like this since the 1980s.

“No one knew that COVID would have this kind of an effect on the housing market,” she said.

READ MORE: Demand continues to drive Okanagan real estate markets

READ MORE: Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues to rebound

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

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