The Saskatchewan Realtors’ Association (SRA) is temporarily stopping all open houses under its watch until the new year.
The decision started Nov. 19 and the association said it will continue to take the lead when it comes to safety protocols so the housing sector can continue
The SRA took similar action in March, making Saskatchewan the first province to shut down open houses in the country because of COVID-19.
“We want the consumers to feel comfortable that they can continue with their home buying or selling plans and not put themselves or their family at risk. We feel that we’re able to do that earlier this year,” CEO Jason Yochim told Global News.
This comes as Saskatchewan’s real estate market is seeing gains in some areas compared to 2019.
A report by the SRA shows sales increased by 38.4 per cent in October 2020 compared to October 2019.
The average sale price also grew by 7.8 per cent over the same time period.
Earlier this year, the province was close to setting records for the number of properties sold in June.
Regina saw a 50 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2019 while Saskatoon saw a 37 per cent increase.
One real estate agent we spoke with is on board with the changes and said she hasn’t been to or hosted an open house since the pandemic started.
“If a buyer is serious about a property, they have their realtor and they’re inquiring about it through their realtor or they’re seeing it online and they’re reaching out to me and booking a private appointment,” Ashley Turner said.
She noted that if someone is generally interested in a property, they should look at all factors before deciding to enter it like aspects of the neighbourhood or whether it backs on to rail lines.
The SRA said things like virtual open homes can continue to take place and tours made by appointment should be limited to two people with an agent.