Real estate markets in the first quarter of 2020 in Squamish started off robustly. Leading up until March 15th, there was a lower supply of inventory and plenty of buyer demand leading to multiple offers on many properties, and prices were starting to move upward. Then the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy, and new social distancing guidelines changed all of our normal routines. For most of us we are feeling somewhat helpless, and making major decisions at this time seems far less important than getting control of our health. A snapshot look at the market from the first quarter of this year when compared to this time last year may be interesting, however it may not be as significant as it was prior to March 15th and what will happen with real estate moving forward.
For the first quarter of 2019 there was a total of 112 sales, this year we had, one less, with 111 transactions. When you break down March 2019 compared to March 2020 you get a clearer picture of the drastic change. Last year, there were 50 sales for the full month of March. This year, there were a total of 35 sales with business coming to a virtual standstill as new government regulations on Covid-19 began. If you took the volume in 2020 it is down 30% from last year, but if the pace had continued it would have been an increase of 28% -provided all things remained the same. As we are now into the first two weeks of April, it is a little more clear that real estate has been affected by the pandemic for many reasons which all of us are acutely aware. This 2-week period in April 2019 saw 20 sales and so far, this month there have been a total of 6, that is a reduction rate of 70%.
Compared to the turmoil we experienced with the financial problems in 2008, which for Squamish real estate did not begin to see a major recovery until 2011, the fundamental this time is not financial. While all of us, some more than others are experiencing economic changes, real estate still remains a necessity for many people which means that over time this area will see a rebound. There will be people even in this confusing time that may have to buy or sell property for a variety of reasons, so transaction will occur however it will be at a much lesser volume. What the effect on prices might be will have to be assessed over time. On the bright side, interest rates are below 3% for a 5-year fixed and 2.45% on 5-year variable mortgages.
The Real Estate community is also adapting and coming up with new ways to work safer and smarter in these challenging times. Viewing homes online with enhanced virtual tours, or even hosting virtual open houses. If for whatever reasons you have to sell your property, we can help you in preparing for a showing. If you are in the buying process, we can help with navigating the viewing of homes to keep you safe. Of course, we are always available for a chat just to touch base, and are here to answer any questions you may have.
Information deemed to be accurate, all information taken from the MLS Database, April 2020