COVID-19 impact on local real estate still to come

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland. Labeled for reuse on Google images.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarnia-Lambton’s real estate sales hit an all-time record high of $50.7 million in March.

Real Estate Board President Donna Mathewson said 138 properties sold last month.

“We still saw good numbers in March, largely due to the fact that there were already sales and purchases that were in transition in the first couple of weeks,” said Mathewson. “Because we didn’t go into a serious lockdown until the middle of March, a lot of people saw the writing on the wall and made sure to get their properties on and off the market before there was a shutdown.”

Mathewson said that will certainly change this month.

“We have been mandated by the government to reduce the amount of purchases and sales that we have to only those that are considered to be essential. Examples of essential sales or purchases are court-mandated sales due to separations or divorce, an estate sale that was already in progress, job loss, job transfer, foreclosure, bankruptcy pending.”

Mathewson said sales will also be facilitated if a buyer has previously sold their home and needs to purchase a home.

“The government recognizes that we need to assist in these essential sales or purchases because if we didn’t people would not be able to close [the sale] and it would be a domino effect.”

Mathewson said realtors are facilitating transactions online and have been told not to have in-person showings or open houses.

Over 50 per cent of sales in March were homes in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range.

The average sale price so far this year is just under $360,000.