REALTORS® Are Facing Significant Hardship Due to COVID-19
The vast majority of BC REALTORS® - 91 per cent - have faced either a decrease of income or no income from transactions since the provincial state of emergency was announced on March 17, 2020. The reported loss of income was consistent among all boards, licence categories and both commercial and residential practice. The data comes from over 1,900 Realtors that responded to BCREA's survey between May 19 and May 25.
Apart from difficult market conditions, many Realtors face other disruptions to their work such as additional childcare responsibilities, challenges finding access to safety equipment and needing to take on a second job to support their families. One Realtor said "I have not been able to do any business as I am a single parent with no childcare because of the pandemic. I am home schooling two children."
Many Realtors have relied on government financial aid programs. Nearly three in four respondents - 73 per cent - applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Many others have applied for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers (22 per cent); the Canada Emergency Business Account (10 per cent); and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (five per cent).
Respondents provided many practical recommendations for provincial and federal governments to reduce the social and economic disruption. Several suggestions include:
- "make home ownership within reach for first-time buyers,"
- "get rid of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax,"
- "[provide] support for developers that are bringing new projects to market,"
- "relax property tax deadlines," and
- "[provide] some easing for the [mortgage] stress test."
Despite the hardships, many Realtors are using the pandemic as an opportunity to help others in need within their communities. "[We are] communicating with Realtors in my office, conducting education sessions, providing advice on day-to-day practice, and working with other managers on resolving problems," said one Realtor. Others are "helping tenants and landlords figure out how they will receive and pay rent."
Thank you to all who participated in our survey.
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