A The Star Article
Hull said COVID-19
deepened the pool of potential home buyers beyond the lawyers and knowledge workers because suddenly it has become acceptable to make a big presentation or sales proposal on video chat.“Now, not only can you work from home, you can sell from home. I think that’s the breakthrough,” he said.
North of the city, prices have been climbing all spring but they were up 10.5 per cent in June over May, said Catharine Inniss, of Johnston and Daniel in Port Carling in Muskoka.
“People are coming up in droves. They are buying everything,” she said.
“COVID brought home that (people) wanted more space. Also employers are embracing telecommuting much more now that they know it works just fine,” said Inniss, who is the president of the Lakelands Association of Realtors.
Even the recent stock market turmoil has helped, she said.
“People are deciding it’s a much safer bet to invest in real estate. You can enjoy your money in real estate,” said Inniss.
Lake Simcoe real estate was sizzling at the start of 2020, even with 2.5 ft. of ice on the water, said Barrie based realtor Rick Laferriere of Re/MAX Hallmark Chay Realty. His business, based entirely on waterfront properties, went cold the last two weeks of March but then the phones started ringing again.
Laferriere said the first six months of the year saw a 25 per cent year over year increase in sales and he says it’s all “healthy” family business compared to recent years when buyers were purchasing lakefront homes to earn short-term rental income.
With no day camp or sleepaway camps for their kids, “a lot of families that are just biting the bullet,” he said.
Normally after Canada Day, the real estate season starts to slow, but the pandemic appears to have stalled and sped up the usual spring search for vacation homes, said Troy Austen, of Re/MAX Team Haliburton Highlands.
As city folks hunt for year-round homes in cottage country, the Ontario government’s commitment to high speed internet in rural areas, can’t come soon enough, he said.