Ontario Real Estate Association calls on agents to stop open houses amid COVID-19 outbreak
The association's president is asking realtors to shift their practices online
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has asked all of the province's realtors to immediately stop hosting open houses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"I am calling on all realtors to cease holding open houses during this crisis and advise their clients to cancel any that are planned," said Sean Morrison, OREA president, in a statement.
The call comes as a response to Ontario's State of Emergency and the provincial and federal governments' continual encouragement for social distancing.
Morrison said he understands realtors will continue to receive requests from clients but asks them to shift their practices online, including hosting virtual tours of properties, video calling, and using digital signatures, for the time being.
"My message to my fellow Ontario realtors is clear: you are trusted advisors and professionals. Encourage your clients to use technology that facilitates remote interactions and especially avoids large groups that can happen during open houses."
Future of real estate
As with many industries in Ontario, Morrison said the housing market is already feeling the impact of these changes, but how it will play out in the future is still unknown.
"As far as long term effects, I don't think anybody has a crystal ball on that," he said.
But as the stock market crashes, those looking to invest might do so through hard assets.
"I think people naturally look to housing as an investment. It's what we call a tangible asset," said Morrison. "There will also be a degree of people who keep their money in the stock market, I would imagine and hope for recovery there as well."
The OREA board will be meeting virtually in April to discuss how to assist the real estate sector in their recovery.