Archive for March, 2020

Commercial investments poised to weather COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

A market expert says commercial real estate still active

Gerv Tacadena
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Despite the uncertainties the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing to Canada’s economy, the commercial real estate sector is positioned to weather the effects of the pandemic, according to a market expert.

Mark Paterson, vice president at Marcus & Millichap, said that activity in the commercial real estate sector is slated to grow despite the volatile times.

“We’re still doing trades. People are buying and selling. Everything is worth less today. But it’s more about fear and caution than reality. There are still buyers out there, and there’s opportunity,” he told Bisnow.

A market study by Marcus & Millichap said commercial real estate offers buyers stability despite the uncertainties. It said that while the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to moderate the economy, some fundamentals remain strong.

“While the coronavirus will weigh on the Canadian economy through the second quarter, a recession is not imminent. Expectations of weaker exports, reduced tourism and supply chain-related shortfalls will moderate the pace of economic growth, but low unemployment and comparatively strong consumption levels should offset the headwinds,” the study said.

However, a separate analysis by Vishesh Raisinghani, researcher and representative at MarketCurrents, said commercial property is particularly vulnerable to economic shocks brought about by the spread of COVID-19.

“Unlike residential real estate, commercial properties like factories, retail stores and office units are much more exposed to economic cycles. Commercial property owners and real estate investment trusts already pay higher interest rates for borrowed capital,” he said in a commentary for The Motley Fool Canada.

A CBRE report released last month said Canada could potentially break the record for commercial real estate investment this year, hitting the $50bn mark.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

Properly launches home price predictor in Calgary

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

ProperPrice – an online prediction of a home’s selling price


Calgary-based Properly, a real estate technology company and one of the first Canadian ibuyer firms, recently launched ProperPrice, a free online tool that provides homebuyers in Calgary with an on-demand prediction of a home’s selling price. The company says it is “the most accurate home price prediction tool in Canada,” using machine learning to look at hundreds of influencing factors, including historical sold data, property details and proximity to services such as schools, hospitals and other facilities. The company says the tool predicts selling price with 99-per-cent accuracy.

“We believe the real estate process should be empowering and predictable, not stressful,” says Anshul Ruparell, CEO of Properly. He says the tool ensures that consumers “can negotiate with confidence and never overpay for real estate. Access to this kind of information used to be restricted to industry professionals, but we’re pulling back the curtain on true selling prices.”

Properly, which also has an office in Ottawa, enables homebuyers to tour homes on demand with a dedicated client advisor, who is a full-service Realtor, and to make competitive offers based on the home’s ProperPrice. For existing homeowners, Properly offers to buy their home on a closing date of their choosing.

The company says it plans to bring its search and price prediction tools to cities across the country.

© 1989-2020 REM Real Estate Magazine

Pent up housing demand during COVID-19 may lead to summer market rebound

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

China’s private housing market is springing back to life

Sean MacKay

As Canada prepares to weather the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are already hopeful signs emerging from China where the novel coronavirus originated months ago.

China is maintaining a long streak of reporting no new local COVID-19 infections as its economy is gradually ramping back up after coming to a screeching halt earlier in the year. With it, the Chinese housing market is experiencing a sharp rebound in March, in what could be a bellwether for anticipating Canada’s own market trajectory once the pandemic’s impact subsides in the country.

“China’s private housing market is springing back to life as more sales offices reopened across the country following a nationwide shutdown, saving home builders from a deeper financial slump this year,” wrote South China Morning Post reporter Iris Ouyang in an article published today.

Ouyang cited home transaction volume in eight large Chinese cities that has eclipsed levels observed in the final quarter of 2019. She also noted that property sales in 30 tier-1 and tier-2 Chinese cities tripled in March from February, a sign that the coronavirus crisis was waning. South China Morning Post uses a four-tier system to rank cities in China using GDP, population and political governance data.

“There’s a release of pent-up demand from the Spring Festival and the coronavirus lockdown period in February,” Yang Hongxu of E-House China Research and Development Institute, a Shanghai-based real estate research firm, told South China Morning Post. “Thus we are seeing partial warming up of the property market.”

While nothing can be guaranteed during these extraordinary times, many economists believe that the experience of China and other Asian countries that were first hit by the virus early in the year will largely mirror the experience of Western countries now facing the full brunt of their outbreaks.

“If the dynamics seen in Asia repeat (and we have reason to believe it will) we are about 3 to 4 weeks away from the global pandemic inflection point,” wrote Tamara Basic Vasiljev, senior economist at Oxford Economics, in a research note published today.

“True, the numbers of coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply and western economies have been unable to repeat the success of Asian quarantine and containment policies. But the dynamics of COVID-19 deaths in the West are similar to patterns seen in Asia, pointing to a near turnaround,” she continued.

When this turning point is reached in Canada and new infections begin to ebb, there is promise that pent up housing demand in the country’s major markets will be unleashed in the second half of the year.

The conditions are certainly right for a reinvigorated market in the summer and fall. BMO economist Priscilla Thiagamoorthy wrote earlier this month that Canada’s housing market “found a solid footing in the first couple of months of 2020” before being derailed by the unprecedented disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the pandemic’s wide-ranging economic impacts, the Bank of Canada slashed its key interest rate to a historic low last week.

With strong housing demand in the months prior to the pandemic and all-time low mortgage rates expected when Canada emerges on the other side of its COVID-19 crisis, there are plenty of reasons to expect a housing rebound in the subsequent months.

China is seemingly following this trajectory as its outbreak wanes, bolstering the case further that Canada’s market could bounce back rapidly if it follows the same path.

© 2019 BuzzBuzzHome Corp.

Big Six banks cut prime lending rates yet again

Monday, March 30th, 2020

Canadian banks slash rime lending rate

Duffie Osental
Mortgage Broker News

Canada’s largest banks have slashed their prime lending rate to 2.45% from 2.95%, matching last week’s move by the Bank of Canada to slash the overnight rate by another 50 basis points.

RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank), BMO Bank of Montreal, and CIBC have announced that the new rate will be effective today, March 30. Meanwhile, National Bank of Canada will reduce its prime rate effective tomorrow, March 31.

This is the third time this month that the big banks have cut their prime lending rate. The Bank of Canada slashed interest rates late last week, saying that “decisive fiscal policy action in Canada” was necessary to “support individuals and businesses and to minimize any permanent damage to the structure of the economy.”

“The bank is playing an important complementary role in this effort,” BoC said in a statement. “Its interest rate setting cushions the impact of the shocks by easing the cost of borrowing. Its efforts to maintain the functioning of the financial system are helping keep credit available to people and companies. The intent of our decision today is to support the financial system in its central role of providing credit in the economy, and to lay the foundation for the economy’s return to normalcy.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

COVID-19: More Support Coming for Canadian Businesses

Monday, March 30th, 2020

Feds setup a wage subsidy program for businesses


To help negate some of the impacts Canadians and our economy will face resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government unveiled additional support through a wage subsidy program for businesses on Friday. Earlier in the day, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25% in an unscheduled announcement. These measures come on the heels of the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), aimed at providing relief for Canadian workers who have lost their income.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, CREA has been in ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies. We have had meaningful conversations about the unique challenges facing REALTORS® and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to their day-to-day business.

While working to secure financial help for REALTORS®, we also focused on the needs of small businesses. We have and continue to analyze the measures announced by the government, as well as programs implemented in other jurisdictions, to find innovative solutions relevant to our industry. We discussed possibilities with stakeholder groups across the country to align and coordinate on proposed government action that would provide meaningful assistance to struggling businesses. 

The federal government responded to calls for significant action by announcing the following measures:

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, a 75% wage subsidy for non-profit organizations, charities, and businesses both big and small, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Companies whose business revenues have decreased by at least 30% can apply, while their number of employees has no bearing on eligibility. For those employed by companies affected by COVID-19, the government will cover 75% of their salary on the first $58,700, which is up to $847 per week. More information about the eligibility criteria is expected to be announced by Ministers Morneau and Ng tomorrow. We will update members as information becomes available.
  • The Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25.
  • A deferral of GST and HST remittances and customs duty payments for businesses, including self-employed individuals, to June 30, 2020.
  • The launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs. The program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).
  • EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions can extend to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), up to $6.25 million.
  • A co-lending program for SMEs where the Business Development Bank of Canada works with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Additional details about these measures can be found on the websites for the Prime Minister of Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, and the Bank of Canada.

The new measures announced are expected to complement the CERB, a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. 

The government has said the CERB will apply to contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance. The CERB will also be available to workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19. The new benefit will be available through an online portal that is set to launch on April 6, with funds expected to flow within 10 days of applying. More information can be found in last week’s News2Me.

CREA is monitoring the implementation of these programs and will continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®. Please monitor your inbox for more important information from CREA.

COVID-19 Showing Waiver Form

Monday, March 30th, 2020

Property Viewing COVID-19 Protocol

The Vancouver Sun

PROPERTY ADDRESS:_______________________________________________________________


Please understand that with the outbreak of the recent COVID-19 VIRUS, there is a risk associated with you entering this home for a showing.

By entering, you assume all risk and liability with regard to the COVID-19 virus and will hereby waive all liability and responsibility of the sellers, RE/MAX Crest | Masters Realty and (REALTOR®) ____________________________________ in this matter.

All Government Health Regulatory protocols have been followed to the best of the above mentioned parties’ ability.




Children must always be held during your viewing. If you are unable to maintain constant contact with all children, we would ask that children not be brought into the showing.


NAME:___________________________________________ DATE: ____________________________ SIGNATURE(S):_____________________________________________________________________ NUMBER OF MEMBERS IN VIEWING PARTY:_____________________________________________ NAMES OF MEMBERS IN PARTY _______________________________________________________

REALTOR PRESENT?   YES   NO      REALTOR NAME: _____________________________________

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Meter parking temporarily suspended in City of Vancouver

Monday, March 30th, 2020

Vancouver responding to demands for parking


The City of Vancouver is making changes in its parking restrictions in an effort to support essential workers and frontline staff.

In a statement to Daily Hive, the City of Vancouver says it is “responding to the changing demands for parking” by temporarily suspending enforcement for the following:

  • Metered parking
  • Rush-hour zones
  • Residential permit-parking zones
  • Parking time limits, including three-hour parking restrictions

With Vancouverites doing their part to stay home as much as possible, the city says both “traffic volume and parking demand have dropped significantly.”

“At the same time, many essential workers, including healthcare professionals, are working longer and more frequent shifts. The suspension of these parking-enforcement services will support the people who are working hard to keep our community safe and healthy,” the release stated. 

In order to ensure frontline workers have access to these parking spaces, the city is asking residents to avoid street parking if they have off-street options.

“This will open up spaces for the people who put themselves at risk every day to keep others safe and the city functioning.”

The city is reminding residents that these temporary changes are not applicable to all parking spots, as enforcement officers will continue to monitor the following:

  • Parking in spots designated for people with disabilities
  • Safety violations (e.g., parking too close to a crosswalk, intersection, or fire hydrant)
  • Impeding the movement of others (e.g., blocking a driveway or lane)
  • Special zones that must remain open for other purposes (e.g., goods-delivery loading zones, bus zones and bus stops, passenger pick-up and drop-off zones)

Province suspends pay parking at all BC hospitals, health authority facilities

Pay parking will be also suspended at all BC hospitals and health authority owned and operated facilities, the provincial government announced on Monday.

“In an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission, we are suspending pay parking for the patients, staff, and visitors at all health authority owned and operated sites. Effective April 1st until further notice,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix, in a press conference on Monday.

Dix added the change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touch screens and buttons on parking kiosks and will support physical distancing measures mandated by the province.

Daily Hive is a Canadian-born online news source, established in 2008

Vancouver April Market Report

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Canadian businesses will be supported by deferring income tax payments to August 31st


The CoStar Canada Market Analytics Team recently released its April newsletter update focused on Vancouver. Check out the team’s assessment of performance across all Vancouver market segments, and its forecast for the days and months ahead, below. As the world comes to terms with a new way of life, the Canadian government has announced over $200 billion in emergency response benefits to help workers and businesses cope with the massive economic impact caused by the spread of the coronavirus. An array of programs have been introduced, designed to support Canadians and businesses, as well as provide liquidity during this difficult time.  As the economy comes to a grinding halt, Canadians directly impacted by the coronavirus will see immediate support in the form of a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to four months.  Canadian businesses will be supported by deferring income tax payments to August 31st and by introducing the Business Credit Availability Program which will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to provide more than $10 billion to help small-to-medium sized businesses obtain financing and remain resilient over the coming months.

Even with the robust aid package, there is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic will cause the largest detrimental impact on the Canadian economy in modern history, ultimately leading us into an official recession by the start of the third quarter.  The Federal government estimates that nearly four million Canadians could apply for unemployment benefits throughout this downturn, and early estimates indicate that the Canadian unemployment rate could jump from 5.6% at the end of February 2020 to approximately 10% in the second quarter of 2020, before falling back down to 7.5% at year-end 2020.  It is clearly evident that this will have a major impact on retail sales, tourism, and businesses in general, with landlords of all assets types clearly concerned that tenants may not be able to make rental payments in the coming months.  Correspondingly, GDP forecasts have seen rapid downgrades, with the current average among major Canadian banks estimating that Q1 2020 GDP will contract by 2.9%, followed by an incomprehensible contraction 21.6% in the second quarter, before rebounding to positive 13.7% and 7.0% GDP growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, respectively.

The provincial government is also stepping in to support British Columbians during this difficult time with a $5 billion aid package which includes a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income due to the coronavirus while businesses will have their tax payments deferred until September 30th.  One key area of concern for BC residents is the issue related to meeting monthly rental payments as over 36% of households are renters in the province.  The provincial government has responded by initiating a new rental supplement of $500 per month, halting evictions and freezing rent increases during the state of emergency, while landlords in the City of Vancouver will be able to defer property taxes for 60 days.  This combined with federal initiatives should provide most residents with temporary relief over the next four months, however, further injections will likely be required as health officials try to combat the spread of the virus.

As we all stay home to contain the spread, activity in the commercial real estate market has been adversely affected to varying degrees.  Property showings have come to halt, however, for the office sector, much of the leasing activity over the past few months has been primarily concentrated in pre-leasing activity and thus prospective tenants have relied heavily on floorplans and renderings of the finished product to make leasing decisions.  With the office vacancy entering this downturn at historic lows, current available space represents a very small percentage of the overall leasing volume in Metro Vancouver.

One area where the impact will be felt to a greater degree will be within the co-working domain, where many small businesses, freelancers, and independent contractors typically lease space on much shorter terms than a traditional lease.  For those with cash-flow, they should be able to weather the storm, however, for those that don’t, expect to see leases not being renewed.  Despite the current situation, acquisitions still continued in March with Allied Properties REIT agreeing to acquire The Landing, a historic office building at the entrance of Gastown.  Once finalized, the acquisition will add to their growing portfolio of 11 existing properties across Metro Vancouver.

The industrial sector will play a key role during these unprecedented times as demand for e-commerce logistics and distribution space is expected to significantly increase due to consumers transitioning to online deliveries.  Now more than ever, firms will need to increase warehouse capacity to meet the surge in consumer demand for various household and medical necessities.  Flex spaces are also expected to see increased activity as their versatile nature can temporarily serve as warehouse space before transitioning back to other uses once the coronavirus pandemic resides.

The current situation is also likely to fuel further demand for manufacturing facilities across the Lower Mainland as the country shifts to a “Made in Canada” approach to combat shortages of critical medical supplies.  For those manufacturing businesses that have been adversely affected by the pandemic, expect to see these businesses transition to produce other vital goods in the short-term.  For example, BC distilleries have now been permitted to manufacture hand sanitizer to aid in the fight against the spread of the virus and fill the need for critical supplies for our front-line workers.  Furthermore, expect many companies to at least rethink their supply chains, by geographically diversifying and potentially moving away from the globalization idea, even if just partially, in efforts to secure local production.

There is no doubt that the coronavirus has had the greatest immediate impact on the retail sector.  Thousands of retailers across Metro Vancouver, and Canada, have closed their doors, while only essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out restaurants, and gas stations remain open.  With retail trade activity accounting for over $37 billion and employing over 230,000 people in Metro Vancouver, it will truly impact many livelihoods.  Although the federal government has announced that it will provide business owners with wage subsidies to avoid layoffs, the 10% remuneration provides little to no impact as the majority of businesses have seen all revenues wiped out.  Luckily, other segments of the retail sector have picked up due to increased demand including Walmart Canada announcing 10,000 new jobs across the country along with increases in demand for employment in warehousing, security and delivery services.  These newly created positions will not replace those that were lost, but will at least ease the blow as people come to terms with the reality of the situation during this historic time.  Do not be mistaken, this could very well be a mass extinction event for smaller retailers and restaurants, which will have repercussions for the businesses that support them. Furthermore, tourism will be heavily impacted for the year, which will severely impact Vancouver, which saw over 1.5 million cruise passengers pass through the city in 2019.  Landlords that can offer rent deferrals will be well placed to benefit when the economy returns, as they will have tenants that hopefully can resume operations.  Unfortunately most landlords are unable to offer rent deferrals, and these landlords risk having properties with tenants that have gone dark.

© 2020. CoStar Realty Information Inc. 

The Impact of COVID-19 to the Real Estate Market Vs the 2008 Financial Crisis

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Comparing COVID-19 to 2008’s financial crisis can give you some insights

Justin Kerby

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting markets around the world, including here in Canada. New developments are coming out every day, and it can be hard to predict where things are headed. The Canadian real estate market faces uncertain times, with many drawing comparisons to the 2008 financial crisis. Though it did not hit Canada as hard, or last as long as the recession in the United States, 2008 was a time of uncertainty for the Canadian real estate market and the economy as a whole. 

Given that RBC and CIBC are now predicting that Canada will slump into a recession in 2020, it’s worth taking a look at the last recession we entered and how it affected the Canadian real estate market. While nothing can predict what will happen during and following the current crisis, seeing the similarities and differences laid out next to each other will present readers with the challenges ahead. 


Fear and Uncertainty

While the types of fear and uncertainty may be different, the 2008 financial crisis and 2020 COVID-19 pandemic are both great examples of how fear and uncertainty can affect the real estate market. Buyers and sellers were, and are, asking themselves similar questions: 

  • Will the market pickup after the crisis subsides? 
  • How long will a recession last? 
  • Will interest rates stay this low for much longer? 

These kinds of questions may give buyers and sellers pause, as they did in 2008. 

Potential Deposits Could Be Tied Up in Financial Markets

In both crises, stock market investors faced significant losses. The TSX Composite Index has fallen over 5,000 points since February 20th, and in 2008 it faced even greater losses. If investors have lost money that could have been used to purchase property, the market could see less buyers. In 2008 resale housing prices fell by roughly 9% across Canada, with the financial market turmoil playing a significant factor.  

Job Losses

Another contributing factor to the decline in prices for resale and new homes in 2008 was job losses, as exports fell due to a truly global financial crisis. The coronavirus pandemic is also global, and though job losses are mounting quickly, Ottawa expects as many as 4 million Canadians to apply for emergency job loss funding. 

While both crises saw job losses, the emergency response benefit is a major difference in policy. Justin Trudeau announced a streamlined application process on Wednesday, to make it easier for people to receive federal money. Workers will be able to receive $2,000 per month if they’ve lost their jobs due to COVID-19, a move that will help keep both renters and owners from missing monthly payments. 

Low Interest Rates

Similar to in 2008, interest rates have been slashed in Canada in an attempt to help the economy during these challenging times. As of today, rates have been dropped to 0.25%, a measure which also took place on April 21, 2009. The Bank allows a 0.25% deviation above or below its target rate, which means that a target of 0.25% a lower bound of 0.00%. 

One slight difference between 2008 and 2020 is how quickly the Bank of Canada took interest rates down. In 2008, the first rate drop took place on October 8, with a move to 0.25% taking over 6 months. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen rates go from 1.75% to 0.25% in just a few weeks. Historically low borrowing costs help keep the real estate market steady and give new buyers an opportunity to get in the market. 


Health Issues

The biggest difference of course between the 2008 financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic from a Canadian real estate perspective is the health aspect, which obviously was not a part of the 2008 predicament. To stop the spread of coronavirus Canadians have been encouraged to enact social distancing and self isolation measures, which has a ton of implications for buyers and sellers. Open houses have been banned due to social distancing requirements, and showings are being conducted by appointment only at this time. Sellers looking to downsize may choose to wait for such measures to be relaxed if they (understandably) don’t want multiple buyers walking on the property they currently occupy. 

We’ve yet to see what kind of effect this will have on the market, but it’s not hard to imagine older sellers holding off for a few months, even if this is a seller’s market in many areas of the country.  

Delayed Mortgage Payments

In 2008, Canada entered the global financial crisis better prepared than most other countries. The housing inventory in Canada was much lower than in places like the United States, which had experienced a cycle of low-interest rates from a previous recession in the early 2000’s and invested heavily in new home starts. In addition to less inventory, Canadian lenders also had stricter conditions than their American counterparts, which helped prevent a larger housing crisis from occurring. This kept the government from taking more drastic actions. 

During the current crisis, more action has been required due to the sudden and severe loss of jobs. Delayed mortgage payments are being offered by all of Canada’s six big banks, in an effort to keep Canadians in their homes and to help stabilize the market. 

A Potential End Date

The last major difference to mention that could affect the Canadian real estate market is that COVID-19 likely has an expiry date. The estimated timeline for a vaccine is still 12 to 18 months away, and there are suggestions that if the spread of coronavirus is flattened, self-isolation measures will be relaxed. In this scenario, the real estate market would likely see more buyers take advantage of low-interest rates and a postponed new stress test which could be implemented soon after normalcy returns to the country. A post COVID-19 world awaits us, and it could certainly bring a lot of buyers off the sidelines.

© 2020 REW. A Division of Glacier Media

B.C. real estate market frozen over COVID-19 uncertainty

Friday, March 27th, 2020

Fears of spreading COVID-19 and less job security are contributing to frozen market

Joanne Lee-Young
The Province

The local real estate market is mostly frozen as fears about the spread of COVID-19 have halted most home showings and there is uncertainty in the market for buyers and sellers.

The list of causes for this uncertainty is long, from personal health well-being to job security to newly announced policies such as the B.C. government’s ban on rental evictions, according to real estate agents.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said Wednesday that a temporary renters’ supplement of $500 a month will be paid to landlords and that it should be used by renters who have seen a drop in their work hours or layoff notices.

This will help renters who have lost jobs and wages, but it will also squeeze some mom-and-pop investors, said Vancouver real estate agent Steve Saretsky.

Saretsky is worried that the ban on evicting tenants might “green-light renters into thinking, ‘I don’t have to bother paying.’

“To me, it’ll be a bit of relying on the honour system,” he said.

Saretsky thinks small, individual landlords will have trouble making their mortgage payments if rent payments, even with the government supplement, are forced to be smaller.

Meanwhile, since earlier this week, there is no longer an option on the Multiple Listing Service to register an open house, so Vancouver real estate agent Justin Smith has been offering quick walkabouts via his Instagram live video. He’s offering it as an option and there have been times in the past when sales were easily sealed with a video tour, but “not right now.”

“No one is eager to buy. They (buyers) just are seeing what comes of it,” Smith said.

In recent weeks “there had been a small bounce in sentiment (in sales), depending on how you were priced and what you offered,” said Smith, but word of sales that have closed this week are being seen as the last for a while.

On the flip side, Saretsky said there are still some private showings that are happening, even though most real estate agents aren’t doing them to cut down on social interactions that could spread COVID-19.

The ones that are still happening, he said, come as real estate agents are being pressured by sellers to meet with potential buyers. He explained that as these sellers see a fast-closing window for getting out of the market they’re telling agents that if they don’t show a property, then they’ll take it to another agent.

© 2020 Vancouver Sun, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.