The pandemic situation has hit a number of sectors in the Battlefords hard, but one area has escaped relatively unscathed in the community: real estate.
Professional appraiser David Fortier, of Fortier Mattila Appraisals Inc. is saying that Battlefords real estate sales are up, despite the increased economic uncertainty and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortier said in correspondence to the News-Optimist there are a number of reasons for this:
Relatively low COVID-19 infection rates:
“The province of Saskatchewan managed the pandemic relatively well with one of the lowest infection rates among Canadian Provinces. Furthermore, as the Battlefords and area is more sparsely populated than larger Canadian centers, locally there were relatively few confirmed cases.”
Decreases to interest rates:
“Starting in July 2017 the Canadian Prime Overnight interest rate has been increased five times peaking at 1.75 in early 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the rate has dropped down to 0.25 per cent as the Bank of Canada attempts to encourage economic activity. The current rates are the lowest rates on record, equaling those during the 2009 global financial crisis.”
“March and April of 2020 were accompanied by a lot of anxiety, stress and uncertainty – whereas typically there would be an uptick in spring sales activity. As the area weathered the storm, purchasers who would have likely bought a property in March and April, if not for the pandemic, opted to purchase in May or June or July.”
Uptick in recreational sales:
“Given uncertainty with respect to recreation (ie. camping, travel, international travel, sports, etc.) many families who had been considering a recreational property purchase within the next few years have opted to purchase now instead of waiting. Furthermore, due to the COVID19 pandemic many employers have mandated or provided an option to work remotely and as such many employees are working from home or from the lake.”
Increased renovation activity:
“Many property owners have chosen to spend the spring and summer months completing renovations to their properties. These typically have included flooring, interior paint, as well as fencing and decking. As a result, a number of properties that have sold or are on the market are upgraded and require fewer immediate upgrades for prospective purchasers.”
“More appropriate and at times aggressive pricing strategies by home owners/investors, banks wishing to dispose of foreclosed properties, and some sellers motivated by market uncertainty, has resulted in increased sales activity as well.
In closing it has been an interesting year to date for Battlefords real estate. If you are considering buying or selling insist on a local realtor, home inspector, and appraiser. Stay safe!”