Homebuyers eyeing P.E.I. as COVID-19 cases stay low: real estate group
'I do feel that the people that are calling us now aren't strangers to P.E.I.'
P.E.I.'s reputation as a place relatively safe from COVID-19 is contributing to strong home sales on the Island, says the president of the P.E.I. Real Estate Association.
"We're not unknown to the rest of the country right now, more now because of our reaction to the COVID crisis and how we're handling it," said Wayne Ellis.
"We're finding a lot of people are starting to think, 'Let's get out of these big cities and maybe move to a more quiet environment where people are being well protected by the Department of Health.'"
P.E.I. has had 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations.
Ellis said he has received calls from people from B.C., Ontario and the United States looking to buy homes on P.E.I. during the pandemic.
"I sold a property to people who live in New Jersey, which is a highly infected area, and they bought a home sight unseen other than through virtual tours."
Ellis said it's not uncommon, given the travel restrictions, for someone from outside the Atlantic bubble to purchase a property based on what they see online. But he points out that many may have visited P.E.I. in the past.
"A lot of people that are calling here [have] probably been here before for summer vacations. And I do feel that the people that are calling us now aren't strangers to P.E.I."
He said some who come from large urban centres like Toronto or Vancouver may have property to sell there, giving them the means to purchase a home on the Island and still be mortgage-free.
"Our prices here are so far below what they would have to pay for in those locations. You know, you can probably buy twice the house for half the money. And even though our prices are starting to climb, they are still nowhere near like the big urban centres in the rest of Canada."
Ellis said while the real estate business did slow down in the early stages of the pandemic, it has picked up again in the last few months.
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With files from Angela Walker