The housing market may ground to a standstill because of concerns over COVID-19.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has strongly advised its approximately 14,000 realtor members to refrain from holding open houses.
Open houses are a way for sellers to showcase their properties.
Open houses also allow prospective buyers to make up their minds about a particular home for sale.
“Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way,” REBGV president Ashley Smith said in a statement by the association Thursday (March 19).
The REBGV covers Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, and Whistler.
“We’ve heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their Realtors are not holding Open Houses,” Smith said in board’s media release.
“To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today,” Smith continued.
In its print edition this week, the Georgia Straight reported on the likelihood that the COVID-19 pandemic could derail the recovery of the real-estate market.
According to the media release, the REBGV’s “explicit recommendation” has the “support of real estate brokerages”.
It was made “after an assessment of the latest information and commentary from public health and other government authorities”.
The REBGV made a number of suggestions:
- Anyone looking to buy or sell a home in today’s environment is encouraged to discuss COVID-19 preparedness with their realtor.
- If you recently travelled abroad or are unwell, do not view a property and stay home.
- If you’re a seller, talk with your realtor about alternative approaches to open houses, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions.
- Limit the number of people viewing a property, sanitize your hands before and after a showing and avoid touching doorknobs and other surfaces in the property