Open houses could be off the table for the near future for realtors across B.C. (Langley Advance Times files)

Open houses could be off the table for the near future for realtors across B.C. (Langley Advance Times files)

Call off open houses to combat COVID: B.C. real estate groups

With numbers rising, real estate associations are calling for a temporary halt

Open houses might be cancelled for locals looking to sell their homes, after B.C.’s real estate associations all recommended against the practice due to rising COVID-19 infection rates.

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC), the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) all strongly advised realtors in the province not to hold open houses for either sales or rentals as of Thursday, Nov. 5.

“RECBC, BCREA, and OSRE share the position that open houses should not be held at this time,” said Erin Seeley, CEO of RECBC. “Protecting the public during the pandemic remains our top concern. Real estate professionals in BC have been very successful in using virtual tools to limit in-person interactions with clients, and we encourage them to continue those innovative practices to keep themselves, their clients, and community members safe.”

The recommendation comes on the heels of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s directive last week to limit the number of people in any private residence to six or fewer.

In the Fraser Health Region, where the bulk of new COVID infections have been turning up over the past two weeks, local health officials advised people to not see anyone outside of their household without physical distancing.

“Even small gatherings are risky right now,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, speaking just before Halloween. “To keep our communities safe, we are urging the public to refrain from holding parties, celebrations or any gatherings.”

The recommendation to end open houses is temporary, and realtors are being advised to recommend virtual tools to their clients.

The Fraser Valley-area real estate market has been doing extremely well since early summer, after a dismal few months that began in March, when sales dropped dramatically. Driven by pent up demand and low interest rates, sales have hit records in most months into the fall.

READ MORE: Fewer homes for sale as buyers swoop on Langley properties

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