Ontario Real Estate and COVID-19: New Rules In Effect
For those doing business in the Ontario real estate market, you may be wondering what is, and more importantly, not allowed under the new Stay-at-Home regulation that went into effect this morning. To clear things up from a real estate perspective, buyers and sellers need to know this.
Why were new rules imposed?
The new rules aim to reduce mobility and contain the spread of COVID-19. As the number of positive cases in Ontario continues to grow, Prime Minister Doug Ford declared the province’s second state of emergency earlier this week, imposing stricter restrictions on businesses and congregations, a “home order” and increased enforcement measures. The move was triggered by new modeling data released by the COVID-19 Advisory Board in Ontario that included a warning: “Without a significant reduction in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the total number of first waves before a vaccine time has to take effect. “
The new measures apply to all of Ontario and are expected to last until at least Thursday, February 11, 2021.
What is the impact on real estate activity?
There have been no significant changes from a home buying or selling perspective. However, the state of emergency means the following two changes in terms of real estate:
- Short-term rentals for recreational purposes are off the table from January 12, 2021. Bookings made prior to January 12th may continue.
- Renovation work started before January 12th can continue. However, if the shovels are not in the ground yet, your Reno project will have to wait.
Real Estate in Ontario and COVID-19:
It’s no secret that the global pandemic has dramatically affected the Ontario real estate industry, from the way real estate agents go about their day-to-day duties to the way consumers engage in the marketplace. The pandemic has been a fixture since the spring, so many of the rules and “best practices” set at the time remain in effect as we move through this second wave:
Masks are now required in indoor and outdoor public areaswhen social distancing is not an option. This is a new recommendation under this final round of restrictions.
Real estate remains an essential service This means that transactions can continue under strict guidelines. While agents advise customers to “hold back” the sale of their homes now if they can avoid it, it is important to realize that delaying the transaction is not an option in certain circumstances.
Open days are prohibited. There are no exceptions to this rule, and it will remain in effect until the province lifts lockdown restrictions.
Personal demonstrations are only permitted by agreement if required. According to the Ontario Real Estate Association, a maximum of two visitors are allowed at any one time, plus the agent. Masks must always be worn; and surfaces / hands must be disinfected before and after the demonstration.
Virtual real estate transactions and digital tools replace personal contact whenever possible.
The good news for Ontario real estate
Canadian real estate has been surprisingly resilient to this public health crisis and economic impact. The government and other organizations moved quickly to provide financial relief to Canadians affected by the pandemic, and the Bank of Canada cut its base rate to an unprecedented 0.25% to stimulate the economy. Despite a deep but short-lived decline in property market activity last spring, residential property sales and prices rebounded rapidly from coast to coast, with Ontario real estate seeing record growth.
RE / MAX continues to advocate secure transactions. Government recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels are constantly changing. At RE / MAX, we aim to provide stability and convenience to home buyers and sellers, knowing that your property needs are still being met in a safe and responsible manner. REMAX.ca continues to provide up-to-date listings, accurate home estimates, and the latest valuable real estate news on the RE / MAX Canada Blog – especially important at this time. While RE / MAX remains open for business, our agents and brokers are taking all necessary precautions as recommended by the various health authorities and the government.