What will Moving Day look like during the COVID-19 pandemic?
With less than two months to go until Moving Day, Montreal's prospective renters and buyers are having to find new ways to check out property during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to new rules, in-person visits are now only permitted for transactions deemed a priority. Real estate broker Mark-Andre Martel said that's led to some people buying houses after taking only a virtual tour.
For those in-person visits that do take place, both buyer and selling must declare their health status. No children or people over the age of 70 are allowed to attend and the physical distancing rule of two metres of separation must be respected.
Martel said the pandemic hasn't hurt business particularly badly.
“My month of April for this year is actually better than my month of April for last year,” he said.
However the Canadian Real Estate Association said the number of sales and listings throughout the country were down more than 10 per cent in March.
The lowered amount of inventory on the market could make a competitive market like Montreal even more difficult.
“That just means if you're a buyer and you're looking for something specific and it comes on the market, you better jump on it,” said Martel.
Ted Wright of the Westmount Legal Clinic said the pandemic is raising concerns for tenants looking for new homes.
“The people that are moving out, they don't want unknown numbers of unknown people coming in,” he said.
Hans Brouillette of Quebec's landlord association said while most visits to rentals take place in March and April, he expects many to be closer to Moving Day this year.
“Now, it's going to be more active in the market,” he said. “We see more ads, more visits are being done. We believe it will increase in the coming weeks.”
Wright predicted this year's Moving Day will look very different from prior ones.
“It's going to be masks and gloves, people are going to be worried and people are going to stand further back,” he said. “People are going to make demands of the people moving out, demands of the people moving in.”