So the Toronto real estate market was humming on all cylinders in September. But October has been a different story, at ground level. We’ve hit some real COVID-related bumps. Stage 2-modified restrictions are impacting residential sales figures.
There has been some real COVID-related bumps. Stage 2-modified restrictions are impacting residential sales figure
I am looking back now at September’s sales figures with some wonderment. Total residential transactions that month rose by 42.3 per cent compared to the same month in 2019. However those numbers decreased 5.3 per cent compared to August.
Toronto real estate: September market was bullish
The average selling price in September compared to the same month in 2019 was up 14 per cent. The sales-to-new listing ratio was four per cent compared to September 2019. And listing days on the market in September was between 16-22.
I keep pointing to TREB president Lisa Patel, for her comments on what was propelling sales that month:
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“Increased demand for ownership housing has been based on improving economic conditions,” she said. “That’s in terms of monthly GDP growth and job creation, and the continuation of very low borrowing costs.
“In addition, fewer households have chosen to go on vacation as a result of COVID-19. And instead, the have remained in the GTA and been active in the Toronto real estate market, satisfying pent-up demand from the spring.”
COVID restrictions have slowed the Toronto real estate market in October
Currently, I have three listings. Two listed in mid September and the third this month. And I have one more coming up – a beautiful 13 acre-parcel of land with 2,000 square foot home overlooking a small lake in Stouffville. Looking at it, the location is truly great. It’s near the future GO station and Highway 404.
Overall, my current listings are in different price ranges and demographics, when talking potential buyers.
Toronto real estate: Buyers are more cautious
There were showings, but now things have dwindled down. The predominately Chinese market in the area seems to have halted as investors are cautious of the second stage shutdown again.
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Even at a reduced price, offer dates were bringing in offers at asking or slightly below. There is no more above-asking offers in Markham, Unionville, the home has to be immaculate for higher sale and even then it’s a hard sell.
The home at 49 Spanhouse – asking $1,918,000 (with late August prices, it should have gone in the mid to high $1.9Ms).
Then there is the home I am selling at 27 Andover Cres, in Toronto’s West Hill neighbourhood. This is a quiet street. The house is a three-storey freehold, three bedrooms plus finished basement, with the largest yard in the area, and no backyard neighbours.
Multiple offers below asking
I had a very interested buyer for Andover from someone on the street. I showed it to them. One of the offers came in from an unknown agent (he had never shown the place). He wanted 2.5% commission (.5%) over listed commission.
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This went back and forth a few times. There was no way my client was underselling then dishing out $20k (plus HST) on someone who just stepped in for the paperwork. Why would someone do this and not work with listing agent? Good riddance. The seller I am working with will wait for the right buyer.
My advice, overall, right now? If you don’t have to sell, hold the property for a bit. It’s a good time to buy – don’t let me mislead you – but not everyone has to sell.
Hold your property for a bit
Yes, it’s a great time to purchase if you are comfortable with the deal. Just don’t expect everyone to bend so much for you on price.
When it’s time for them to buy, they’ll obviously require the funds to do so. So don’t buy before you sell. It’s a bit of a gamble unless you’re getting multiple showings and interest in your property now.
It’s an interesting game out there now. Different areas of the Toronto real estate scene are garnering different results. Remember, the price brackets also give way to more competition.
Buyers heading to the ‘burbs
There are more people able to afford in the $600-700ks (pre-approved) than in the $1.5M bracket.
There is a reason why the detached, semi-attached and townhouse market has been doing well, overall, over the past few months. A price difference from $700k to $723,000 at 2.14% interest rate is approximately $80-90 extra dollars a month. It is much better to pay if you can for a freehold than a condo with $400 monthly maintenance fee and no yard for the kiddies to play!
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The third property, at 164 Glasgow Cr., in South Keswick, just sold, over-asking (asking was $629k). It didn’t even make it to an offer date (Oct. 27), sold firm in three days flat at $675k. It’s a three bedroom, detached link house, on a corner lot, attached by a garage only, just minutes to the beach. The owners just put in $50k in renovations.
Within three days listed it had over 40 showings seen with more booked.
Renovations made a difference
Before the renovations this house would not have had so much attention. So what is the lesson here? It really pays to paint. On top of that, if you can put in a new kitchen go for it. And while you are at it, yard clean-up is key. And organize things within the house (move-in ready, get to those nagging little items you wanted to fix but never got around to).
So first impressions are key. In one case an agent mentioned the rough condition of the neighbour’s yard without realizing they too were in renovations. If you can, be a good neighbour and help them to tidy up their yard. Its only beneficial to your curb appeal, especially on a townhouse or semi.
Work-at-home is here to stay
Remember, more people are buying and moving outside the city core. The pandemic has changed lifestyles. Work from home is here to stay. Buyers want space for each family member. In terms of the Toronto real estate market, homes are less expensive the further you go from the city. So if you’re not commuting anymore it may make sense for you to go for it!
If you need to save for a while longer, don’t be hesitant to look at new builds. And work with an agent to truly understand how those deals work. After all, there are a lot of options there. Maybe you can look at an assignment sale should you decide not to close on it when the time comes.
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Why not live near a beach, walking trails, closer to more outdoor sports and hobbies? Enjoy your space and live in a less cluttered environment.
Katherine Minovski is a Broker with Royal LePage. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 416-816-7850.