The PMA Management Team met yesterday and had to edit our Update as Premier Ford announced new Province-wide business policies, just as we were about to hit the send button…. the following reflects our REVISED UPDATE on the Housing Market for today, Tuesday, March 24.
- Breaking News….Real Estate declared Essential Service
The Premier announced several economic and social services that can remain open…real estate is one of them ( click here for the full list)
Mattamy Homes appear to be the only major Builder who has shut down sales offices and construction completely. The Big M took an all-encompassing position and closed their sites and stopped construction, even before the Premier’s announcement. They created a communication network for prospects, purchasers and trades. Appointments online or phone are available.
Most of our sites remain open by appointment. Doors are generally locked; traffic is allowed in one person or couple at a time. Traffic is required to sign a disclosure re Covid-19 and site personnel are practicing safe distancing, ie. 2 meters apart…. if site staff feel uncomfortable for any reason appointments online or over the phone are initiated right on the spot. Brochure material and price lists are commonly available at the door. Make sure all sites have e-communication for both Brokers ( the portal without the commission structure) and the general public, so it’s a simple click to info….prices, plans, features etc…remember this information is being sent electronically around the world….meet with your ad agency to make sure you have simple, concise, and complete packages available for e-transfer. The Resale industry has mostly stopped Open houses, but showings are still being done, however, digital showings are being encouraged. Social distancing is being practiced….and although my Mother would never approve…people are keeping their hands in their pockets!!! Except to sign an APS of course. Common sense prevails and in-person showings are being denied if there is any Covid-19 suspicion …. the switch to digital is everywhere…make sure you adapt….it’s a great time for follow up…even just to ask your customer and prospect how they are coping….and that your lines of communication are open…invite your prospect into the conversation.
- Resale market experiencing an uptick in Listings
PMA will have a complete report for you by Friday but TREB reports an uptick in condo listings from investors that had been supporting their units with Airbnb….we will monitor and study listing supply and report trends and aberrations in the coming weeks. We don’t expect significant changes in supply in the next two weeks as the ‘unknown’ impact of Covid-19 should move people to inaction and await the downside of the curve. Stay tuned for our resale updates.
- Municipal Inspections are not happening…will cause completion and closing delays.
Every new home requires code compliance inspections, ie: foundation, electrical, plumbing, and most important Final Occupancy. These Inspections have been interrupted. New home construction will be affected in the next 30 days and closing will be delayed. Trades are concerned about social distancing and this will put additional pressure on-site construction. On-site residential construction will continue but with a much greater awareness of social distancing. Inspections that do occur may have to be done by lockbox to avoid direct contact.
- Tarion and Force Majeure…
There is a provision in the Tarion Warranty concerning “Unavoidable Delays” and what’s called a Force Majeure….” unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract” …that is Covid-19. Once a determination is made of a Force Majeure. Please review with your legal counsel…the Vendor has 20 days to send out the first notice of potential delays. Expect this to be commonplace in the next week from most Builders. Check with your lawyer to get a clear understanding of the Tarion rules and wording of the notice. If you need advice, connect with Leor Margulies at Robins Appleby at email@example.com or through BILD.ca
- Will you need an Occupancy Permit to close?
The first legal interpretation I have is yes, this is required by the municipality to close….common sense may apply here and it might be possible to close as long as there is a mutually signed amendment by Builder and Purchaser that provides an undertaking to complete both PDI’s and minor items to complete after Occupancy …it would seem to me you might be able to still close….the Purchaser might enact a modest ‘holdback’ in order to leverage completion. Please discuss this with your legal counsel.
- Registry Offices still Open
Both the registry office and online closings are still ongoing, and deals are closing. The Land Registry is an Essential Service. Here is an excellent summary of ‘protecting your deals during Covid-19…prepared by Mark Weisleder at Realestatelawyers.ca…much of Mark’s focus is on Resale transactions but some of the clauses are very applicable to the new home industry….even as an amendment to existing transactions….review with your legal counsel.
- What about extensions on deposits and closings?
So, this will vary by each Builder’s policy, in some cases, extensions to a deposit schedule are NOT being granted and in other cases, some are …. generally, a 30-day extension. This on a case by case situation. Closings in the next 30 to 60 days are NOT being extended. Longer-term closings, beyond 60 days are being notified of possible extensions now as per force majeure provision. Each is measured on a case by case basis. Communication with your customer is critical…both good news and bad!!!
- Great News from Paradise!!!
As noted in our last Update Paradise went to an appointment program on the weekend for the release of 85 lots in Brampton. It should be noted that Paradise has an exceptional long-term record in the community, a strong local following and had been outreaching to their prospect list for several weeks. They went to their registration List and generated significant appointments. Enough to connect and go to a sales process. The weekend outreach to each appointment was by phone or online and an APS was created online or delivered to the prospects home. There was no direct contact with the prospect, even with the delivery. Their response was strong, and we will await the paper chase to see how many stay firm…that may take several days in this process. …. but if they convert half…and given Paradise’s history I believe that’s quite possible…it will be a great story. Congrats to Paradise and Ryan Design for a real confidence booster amid this Corona Calamity!!! Stay tuned for the results.
Lianne McOuat of Partnership Marketing sent over an Online Selling Guide…it is an excellent outline to create connectivity with prospect and purchaser – she is just finalizing this document and we will include it with Friday’s update. PMA is already connected to Zoom, a long time user of Calandly.com (appt process) and of course Docusign. PMA has just completed a virtual sales office at our Head Office that will now be available to launch projects online and by appointment. The first launch will be a Bazis townhouse site at Victoria Park and Eglinton in North York…coming in April. PMA also secured the web address of Ubersales.com which we will use for outreach and delivery of an APS.
So it appears we can adapt digitally and still do business…Proper attention to social distancing is critical, stay online wherever possible, wash your hands…mine have never been cleaner and when in doubt keep your hands in your pockets…just don’t tell my Mom!!!
BREAKING NEWS: The COVID-19 news is very fluid and changes every day. We will try to keep you tuned to the impact on our industry as frequently as possible and leave you with a positive message each Update. Amidst the fear and concern generated by this contagion each and every day remember to always …” try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”. There are two cornerstone characteristics that are essential today for your survival…. Patience and Courtesy….you will need an abundance of both!!!