Toronto real estate market is changing but still plenty of activity

Although the Toronto real estate market may not have completely fallen off a cliff yet, it is certainly heading in that direction. But, if and when a significant drop does occur, there is also the chance of a quick and strong bounce back depending on the rate at which people begin to head back to work en masse. 

The latest figures released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reported 8,012 home sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in March 2020, which is up by 12.3 per cent from March 2019. Prices grew 11.1 per cent year-over-year as well. 

But, those rosy figures do not tell the full story. 

The average selling price for sales reported between Mar. 15 and Mar. 31, was $862,563 – down from the first half of March 2020, but still up by 10.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“While COVID-19 has clearly had an impact on the housing market, the late March numbers still suggest that there is activity in the marketplace,”  said TRREB CEO John DiMichele. 

Market activity continues apace but with strict recommendations on social distancing measures including no open houses, and increased use of virtual tours and bidding. 

For March, new listings were up by three per cent year-over-year to 14,424. But, TTREB stats indicated that new listings dropped, just like sales, in the second half of the month by 18.4 per cent. 

Overall, the first two weeks were fantastic, and then when COVID-19 measures kicked in, the market dropped substantially beginning Mar. 15 but TTREB chief market analyst Jason Mercer said demand for ownership remains strong relative to listings.

“As we move through April, we will have a clearer view on how social distancing measures and broader economic conditions will influence sales and ultimately the pace of price growth,” he added.

Because the impact of COVID-19 has yet to be fully understood with regard to the real estate market, the board is issuing another report mid-April when there is a clearer picture of what is happening on the ground. It will adjust its prediction of 10 per cent price growth for 2020, which it had forecast before the current pandemic.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of speculation regarding market activity.

 

 

There are also a lot of variables including the possible collapse of the short-term rental market that could possibly have a major impact on the rental market and extend to the condo market as well as the possibility of more extensive mortgage deferral options and interest rates remaining at historic lows. In addition, since the condo market is fuelled at least in part by investors operating on razor-thin margins if there are consecutive months of rent deferral or a mass inability to pay rent, some are speculating about how bad it could get. 

 

 

Many realtors are already switching over to operate virtually and keep up with changes to the market. It is quickly becoming commonplace to offer everything online including virtual tours, home inspections and even bidding wars.

 

 

The days of a dozen cars parked alongside a street on offering night seem to be long gone. But, people are still buying and selling their homes.

Article exclusive to TRNTO