Brian O'Donoghue

Sales Representative

Direct 647-405-3126 |

The Holiday Season is upon us, and we have almost made it to the end of one of the most challenging years any of us can remember. When we felt we could control so little, we at least needed to control our space. Our homes have become our refuges, as we spend more time there. We’ve adapted our homes to be our offices and our schools, our restaurants and retreats. We’ve started to think more deeply about what home means and how to create it. 

After briefly being put on hold during the outbreak this spring, Canada’s housing market has seen record-breaking growth since the summer. Record-low interest rates and strong demand for more spacious accommodation are pushing prices and sales to near record highs. It will be a photo finish, but it’s looking like 2020 will be a record year for home sales in Canada. And, as we look forward to the new year, 2021 looks like it could be shaping up to be another unprecedented year, based on new housing market predictions. The strength of demand, particularly for larger single-family homes, will drive the average price higher as buyers compete for the most desirable properties. 

Have we ever been more primed to say “so long” to one year and welcome in a new one? Although things are still far from perfect, we’re feeling a renewed sense of hope for the future with the turning of the calendar page and looking forward to setting the reset button on life. It will be a holiday season unlike any we have known before, but it is still a time to celebrate those we cherish, even if it’s not how we did it last year. If there are any positive takeaways, it’s having time to pause and feel gratitude, as well as having a deeper appreciation for home, our greatest place of comfort. Let’s raise a toast to one another and to our hopes for the new year to come.

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November brought a sense of urgency to the Toronto real estate market, where Covid has people buying and selling homes for completely different reasons than before the pandemic. Data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board showed that November home sales in the Greater Toronto Area were up 24.3% compared with last year, as demand for single-family homes continued to surge ahead of condos.

There were 8,766 homes sold in November up from 7,054 in November 2019. The average sale price is $955,615, up 13.3% from $843,307 a year earlier. 11,545 homes were listed for sale in November, up from 8,651 in November of last year, as the market catches up from spring’s slowdown. While detached home prices rose to an average of $1,202,281, up 15.2% from November 2019, average condo prices fell 2% to $605,863. The number of condos that hit the market this November was almost double that of November of last year. There has been a total of 150,913 listings in the Toronto area so far this year, compared with 149,241 at this time last year.

But regardless, our inventory is still low. The search for more living space continues to take buyers to the suburbs and beyond. In the suburban areas, we are still seeing bidding wars. It’s highly competitive and properties are not sitting long. Several Canadian economists recently surveyed believe that record low interest rates have been keeping buyers interested and prices high in Canadian real estate. With low inventory and growing demand, they expect that housing values in Canada’s largest markets could see a 5% increase in 2021. The conclusion is that home and work will become entwined more intimately in the future and that living space needs to be reviewed to accommodate such a future.

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The Toronto region had its fourth consecutive month of record sales volumes in October with 10,563 homes sold, up 25% from October 2019 and the Toronto Real Estate Board is forecasting record or near-record sales to continue through the balance of the year. The average sale price for the GTA was up 13.7% to $968,318 and for the City of Toronto it was up 10.8% to $1,025,925. Detached homes led the way, with sales up 33.9% and an average sale price of $1,204,844, an increase of 14.8%.

New listings for all categories of homes rose to 17,802 across the GTA, up 36% from October 2019. Condo listings more than doubled to 6,193, compared to October 2019. Sales of condominium apartments fell 8.5% in the City of Toronto compared to the same month in 2019, with prices up just .8% to $668,161. Active listings are up 158% in Toronto to 5,719 units. As the pandemic slowed economic development and halted tourism in the city, the short and long-term rental income many investors relied upon dried up. If you are looking to buy a condo it’s a buyer’s market now and you will benefit from more choice available

The strongest gains across all re-sale housing categories occurred in the 905 communities outside Toronto, where buyers can often afford a little more space. Suburban areas that once lagged desirable city addresses are now roaring hot as home buyers wearied by lockdowns seek bigger yards and larger living spaces. Tight downtown condo markets that previously commanded expensive rents are now thick with supply. And the flow of immigrants that typically fuel demand for housing of all types has slowed to a trickle.

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Housing lot sizes continue to shrink. There are many attractions of suburban houses, but one of the key selling points was that as you move out of the city you will get more land and more backyard. Think again. That metric is under stress in Canada’s most populous region, and new buyers are finding that the average lot size is shrinking. 

For single-family detached homes, the average lot size offered by Greater Toronto Area builders was in the average range of 40 to 41 foot lots over the past five years. But in 2020, that number dipped sharply – to 37 feet on average – and the average of all ground housing frontages (which includes townhouses and detached homes) dropped from 29 feet in 2019 to 25 feet in 2020. 

The frontage number can be misleading because for decades it assumed the average lot depth might be 100 feet at least. But in recent years some builders, led by Canadian mega builder Mattamy Homes, have innovated on lot shape by shrinking that depth to 70 or 80 feet while keeping a more standard frontage. These stubby lots can pack in more housing on a given land parcel while maintaining the curb appeal of more spacious developments. 

Ontario’s 2006 growth plan helped raise prices for raw and developable land, but other pressures have also raised the costs of building the actual homes. One example pulled out of MCAP’s data shows two phases of a North York detached development, the first one in 2015 and the second one selling in 2020. The price per house on generous, 45 foot and larger frontage lots jumped from $1.68 million in 2015 to $2.76 million in 2020. But at the same time, the costs to service the lots nearly doubled, from $737,000 to $1.4 million; the hard construction costs on each house went up close to $100,000; the HST bill almost doubled; and the soft costs (sales/broker commissions; marketing/sales office and maintenance, architects, design, and other consultants, construction loan interest and fees) went up $135,000. 

The result was that even though the 2020 house sold for $1 million more, the 2015 profit of $164,250 was virtually the same as in 2020, at $166,650. The rising costs of doing business for the same profits could explain why there were more than 11,000 ground-related houses launched for sale in 2015 and 2020 will end with only 5,200 units.

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Thanksgiving marks a special time of year in which we express gratitude and something to be thankful for. This year is going to be a little different. Gathering around a table with loved ones to enjoy a bountiful feast will have to wait. We have to plan to make sure this year ’s Thanksgiving holiday is safe during this pandemic, Canada’s top public health officer has urged, as case counts continue to soar in several parts of the country, especially Ontario and Quebec.

Toronto’s housing market soared in September. Another month where sales and prices hit record highs, with historic low mortgage rates enticing buyers despite the worsening virus crisis. Last month, 11,083 homes sold in the Toronto region, a 42-per-cent increase over September of last year, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), with the biggest gains in the 905 and regions surrounding the City of Toronto. That was the third straight month of record sales volumes.

Competition for detached and semi-detached houses helped send the average selling price across all types of properties up 14 per cent to $960,772, compared with the previous year. For the City of Toronto, the average sale price is $1,022,051. Prices have been climbing month over month since May, after the slowdown in April. Despite the new listings, competition is fierce for low-rise properties, where there is more square footage and easier access to outdoor space. The regions surrounding the city of Toronto experienced the steepest price increases.

Meanwhile, demand for condos in downtown Toronto has softened as the normal cohort of renters, including post-secondary students, shrinks because of the pandemic restrictions. One-bedroom rental rates have declined by at least 20 per cent since the start of the health crisis, according to local brokers. Having said that, the average price of a condo in the city of Toronto was $686,191, up 7 per cent from September of last year. The average detached home in Toronto saw a 9 per cent increase to $1,487,122 and semi-detached homes were up 7 per cent to $1,145, 559 .

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 Now that fall is here the real estate market is sending us puzzling signs. The GTA benchmark house price has continued to rise; however, condo prices are beginning to drop, and the market is running into strong headwinds.

Homebuyers were sidelined March through May, but in June through August, they jumped back into the market with both feet. House purchases in July and August were the highest ever for those months. Is the market settling into a ‘new normal’? We are watching several key risks:

• A record number of condo apartments for sale and supply is trending higher at an alarming rate. A flood of supply could cause an acceleration of price declines.

• In early September, new cases of COVID-19 were low but rising toward a possible wave 2.

• How well the U.S. manages the pandemic - roughly 25% of the Canadian economy relies on exports south of the border. As well, the US presidential election is just weeks away.

• The CERB and the mortgage payment deferral programs expire at the end of September. These have delayed the full impact of the pandemic on housing.

The frenzy of the last couple of months has calmed somewhat but many pockets of Toronto are still insanely competitive. New freehold listings have been increasing weekly. Sold listings were up 32% last week and of those 74% sold at or above the list price. Hot neighbourhoods like Riverdale and Leslieville had 66 sold properties last week and 56 properties sold above the list price in competition.

The condo market is seeing a record number of new listings come to market. Last week in the downtown core we saw 714 new listings. That is the highest amount we have seen all year. Sales did improve, up 27% from the previous week and the activity was strong with 42% of condos selling at or above the list price. Condos selling below $700K lead the way.

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As of June 30th, banks have provided help through mortgage deferrals to more than 760,000 Canadians, which represents 16% of the number of mortgages in bank portfolios. The banks were so inundated with requests when the initial announcements were made, that roughly 90% of customers seeking a mortgage deferral were approved. By total volume of mortgages deferred, Quebec, Alberta, and Ontario are leading the country. Quebec represents the largest segment, at 27% the mortgages on deferred payment plans. Alberta is second with 26% of the insured payment deferrals. Ontario comes in third with 21% – just over one in five. Pricey BC is in a distant fourth, representing 7% of the pool.

The next great test for banks will be the looming expiry of these payment deferrals expiring before October 31st and won’t be renewed, raising the risk of defaults. If people on deferrals can’t resolve payment issues before the end of the term, they may be forced to sell. Which brings up a whole other set of problems if you only had 5% equity.

There is some good news. BMO and Scotiabank reported this week that so far, at least 90% of clients at both banks whose deferrals have already expired are making normal payments again. The chief risk officer is cautiously optimistic that the rate of recovery will continue. They believe that only one to five percent of deferred mortgages may become delinquent as the grace period expires.

Even though its late August the freehold market is still going strong, with sold properties up last week 13%, compared to the week before and of those properties sold 68% sold at or above the asking price. Again, it’s a shortage of listings that is causing this frenzy. So far this month the condo market has seen a massive increase in new listings, up 11.5% from July. Sales were up moderately 5% last week from the previous week and of those condos sold 38% sold at or above the list price.

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The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) recently retained Nanos Research to do a survey among Ontarians actively in the real estate market. The takeaway was that despite economic uncertainty due to the pandemic, homeownership is seen as a good investment. Here are some of the results:

• Six in ten Ontarians active in the real estate market consider buying a home a very good investment even in the current environment.

• Four in ten who are active in the housing market say they would be open to buying a house if they could only view it virtually.

• Eight in ten say it would be important to use a Realtor to help with the purchase of their home, and this is consistent across all age groups.

• Six in ten Ontarians who own a home and plan to sell in the next two years are not sure when they will list their home (61%), while 28% say they will list as soon as the pandemic is over, and 11% say they will list in the next few months.

• A majority of Ontarians say being in isolation at home has not changed their view of what they want in their next home (74%), while 26% say it has changed what they want in their next home.

• Nine in ten who own a home and are active in the real estate market report they have not refinanced their home or used a home equity line of credit to cope financially during COVID.

• Residents of the City of Toronto are most likely to report they plan to buy a home in the next two years (59%), and younger Ontarians (18 to 34) are more likely to report they plan to buy (59%), than those 55 plus (23%). Renters are significantly more likely to report they plan to buy in the next two years (87%) than homeowners (27%).

• Four in ten Ontarians who own their home have taken advantage of the pandemic to renovate, repair or upgrade their home. Asked for the approximate value of the renovations and repairs, $18,960.

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 It’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through 2020 and in the middle of a pandemic, with unemployment at an all time high, millions of people without a job, and the Toronto real estate market couldn’t care less. If you are looking for a Covid-discount you’re not going to find it here. What you will find, just weeks after the worst month of sales, are multiple offers and buyers and sellers with more and more confidence. No one expected the market to take off like this. Buyers were on pause for a couple months, but they seem to be jumping back in with a frenzy. Case in point – we have a listing in our office in Bloordale Village that has 139 booked showings and offers are on Monday. You’re lucky if you can even get in to show it now. No double bookings and only a few time slots left!

Could this be that HSBC just lowered its five-year fixed mortgage rate to 1.99%, becoming the first bank in Canada to crack the 2% barrier? It comes down to supply and demand. With a low supply of available product in the marketplace, the activity taking place is still a sellers’ market. Even though CMHC forecasted housing prices across the country to drop between 9 and 18% over the next 12 months, the 416 does not represent the entire country and the Toronto real estate market doesn’t seem to be adhering to many of the forecasts and predictions. You have to be thinking about where prices are going to be in 10 years, not just in 6 months from now.

Last week the freehold market saw a marginal 6% increase in new listings and of those, 51 listings were listings over 3 million dollars. Sales surged by 41%, and of those sales 57% sold at or above the asking price. The condo market is also seeing an uptick in activity with 22% more new listings last week and sales were up 16%, with 39% selling at or above the list price and the majority of the sales were under $700K.

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 Open houses have been suspended throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and while real estate services were declared essential and have continued uninterrupted, agents have innovating methods for home-showings like Facebook Live, 3-D video tours, Zoom and a good portion of real estate transactions including paperwork occurs electronically. Consumers are adapting during this extraordinary time, and their willingness to embrace new tools tells us that the Canadian dream of home ownership remains strong, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though there has been a drop in listings, the prices in the GTA have largely been unaffected by the global pandemic so far. Nearly half of Ontarians who plan to buy a home in the next two years say that they are willing to consider going ahead with a purchase even if they can only view the property virtually, according to a new poll commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association. The poll also revealed that there is a portion of prospective sellers that have held off on listing their properties for sale due to COVID-19, but 54 percent of them are willing to consider virtual showings or somewhat open to the idea. The poll conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of the OREA found that 48.9 percent of prospective buyers are either open or somewhat open to buying a house virtually compared to 46.6 percent who say that they are not open to the idea.

Meanwhile, about 26 percent said that they would buy a home as soon as the pandemic concludes. About 61 percent of prospective buyers and sellers, meanwhile, said that the pandemic did not have an impact on their decisions to list or buy properties.

Meanwhile, last week we saw another 23% jump in freehold listings and a slight increase in sales but of those, 75% sold at or above the asking price. The condo sector also saw a 29% increase in listings and the sales were up 18% with 42% of those selling at or above the list price. While continued tightening of mortgage lending continues, it has not put a damper on the market.

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Home sales are showing signs of improvement in the Toronto real estate market, but economists say it’s far too early to feel optimistic about the possibility of recovery from the devastating effects of COVID-19. Activity in the region improved in May compared with April, according to figures the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board released Wednesday. But it remained less than half of what we saw a year ago. “The pandemic knocked the wind out of what was expected to be among the strongest spring seasons in home-sales history, said Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending.”

There were 4,606 sales in the Greater Toronto Area through the board’s MLS system in May. That’s down 53.7 percent compared with a year earlier. However, sales in May were up 55.2 percent compared with April. The number of new listings totalled 9,104 - down 53.1 percent compared with May 2019, but up 47.5 percent from this past April. The average selling price for the GTA rose three percent from May 2019 to $863,599 and the average sale price for The City of Toronto also rose almost two percent to $955,273.

The buyers are back out and the sellers are getting their asking prices, in some cases, more. Deal hunters may have been hoping to take advantage of a down market, but there is enough demand to keep prices up. It looks like there will be a prolonged spring market and possibly a busier summer. Low interest rates may be drawing people into the market.

Last week we saw a 30% increase in freehold listings come to market. The largest increase since February and sales doubled week-over-week, with more than half selling over the asking price. The condo market also saw a 30% increase in new listings and a 28% increase in sales last week. It seems home buyers and sellers are adapting and becoming more comfortable with the physical distancing requirements.

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As we navigate through these uncertain times, we are wondering what condo life will look like in the future. To illustrate how quickly the condo market changed as a result of COVID-19, resale activity was up 25% year-over-year during the first half of March 2020 and fell 21% year-over-year in the second half of the month, with even steeper annual declines of over 70% reported for April. However, the GTA market was exceptionally tight leading into the COVID-19 period, creating spillover demand that has enabled the limited number of units on the market to continue transacting. In fact, the average sale price-to-list-price ratio has remained near 100% through April, and the average days on market was unchanged at 18 days.

As sales have declined by a much faster pace than new listings, resale condo prices have experienced some reduction. Preliminary resale data for April reported a 2.2% annual decline in average resale prices for condos, and most of the decline has occurred for higher-priced units. Overall, industry experts feel that resale values might be down by 5% at the end of 2020 compared to the end of 2019. Again this is all speculation as no one has a crystal ball.

Toronto rents were also down on all fronts. In April, the average one-bedroom rent in Toronto dropped 2.2% month-over-month to $2,200 and two-bedroom rent fell 4.1% month-over-month to $2,830. The decline in rental transactions can clearly be related to the impact of the protective measures and economic uncertainty stemming from the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, with renters less willing or able to take on a new lease at current rents, as well as the closing of Canadian borders and the challenges with showing units and planning for a move in the current environment.

Of importance, rental supply did not experience the same degree of decline as leases, with new listings decreasing by a more modest 7% in the post-COVID-19 period from a year earlier. The relatively more stable level of new listings may be attributed to a rise in condo completions in the first quarter, tenants unable to pay their rent providing notice to vacate, and some short-term Airbnb units becoming available in the long-term market.

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 In the early stages of the lockdown, most of us were in a state of shock. That has changed as time has gone on. People now realize it will not be the same moving forward, so we are starting to plan for life after the lockdown.

Toronto real estate sale numbers may be down overall, but homes in certain neighbourhoods of the city are attracting avid interest. This week we know of a couple of properties that went wild. A two-bedroom semi in Danforth Village listed at $799K attracted 12 offers and a detached in prime Riverdale listed at $1.8M got 8 bully offers. The hottest-selling price sector in April was the $750,000-$999,000 range for freeholds, which includes semis and townhouses. With 184 sales, it was three times higher than the next price tier which is between $1 million and $1.25 million that saw 61 transactions.

The lowest point for sales was the week ending April 11, with 557 sales in the Toronto region, but the numbers have steadily increased since, to 909 in the first week of May. That is still half of what the sales were in mid-March, but it does represent 63-per-cent growth since the recent lockdown shock. Because active listings continue to decline, the competition for the few houses out there seems to be supporting prices.

It’s hard to see it now but the dust will settle, and we will be left with a new world to navigate for our clients. We do know that whatever the outcome, it will be different than it was before and there is no going back. The pandemic will leave behind the largest consumer shift in world history. People will spend differently, people will have different tolerance levels for risk, and people will need to transact real estate.

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The April stats were released this week from the Toronto Real Estate Board and as bleak as it may look with sales down 67%, home prices remained at April 2019 levels. There was also a report put out by CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing) that suggested Canada’s real estate prices probably wouldn’t return to pre-covid levels until the end of 2022. The experts reject that bleak outlook suggesting national outlooks do not necessarily reveal regional, municipal, or even neighbourhood distinctions, and some experts say Toronto’s prospects may not be so bleak.

RBC Economics suggested that the worst may have passed with April being the low point for housing resales now that the economy is showing signs of starting back up. If the economy opens up, buyers and sellers might start engaging with the housing market again, bringing an uptick in sales. For some, the prospect of waiting to move is not an option. Whether they’ve already sold a home pre-COVID-19 and need to buy, they need to access their home equity to keep their business operating, or they’ve been laid off and need to pay the bills, the property market will need to continue operating in order to serve these individuals.

While people may fear that the resources for purchasing or selling a home won’t be available, this is not the case. Homebuyers and sellers will have the support needed during their real estate process. As a result, a lack of resources will not be a factor in slowing down the market. The Bank of Canada has announced a decrease in its benchmark interest rate, putting the current rate at 0.25%. Buyers can now borrow a larger amount of money for mortgages and pay less interest over time. For those who have retained their jobs and have a down payment on hand, they will be in a strong position to leverage lower interest rates to make a down payment on a home. While markets have shifted, the long-term impacts on Toronto real estate prices remain to be seen.

Don’t forget its Mother’s Day this Sunday. In these challenging times and thanks to modern conferencing apps it's possible to stay connected and spend time together even if you can't be in the same room. To all the moms, thank you!

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 Awh…the month of May when spring gradually blooms into summer and finally some good news to report. Some economists apparently predict home prices to rise 6% this year and we can expect to see rapid price growth once the outbreak passes, several recent forecasts have predicted, even amid massive job losses. Despite a steep drop in sales this year, the average home price in Canada will be 6.1% higher at the end of this year than it was a year earlier, TD Bank said in a forecast issued this week.

Given that incomes are unlikely to rise much during this crisis, affordability will deteriorate when you look at house prices. Sales may be falling, but the supply of homes on the market is falling with them which means the market balance isn’t shifting much. The country won’t see a sudden rush of people who need to sell their homes quickly, thanks to the banks’ new mortgage deferral programs.

And what about the millions of Canadians who have lost work in this crisis? Won’t this affect house prices? Economists think that won’t have as much impact on the housing market as one would think, because, they say the jobs lost in this crisis have disproportionately affected people in service industries ― think customer service reps and Starbucks baristas ― and these people overwhelmingly tend to rent.

TD’s forecast sees Toronto house prices rising 7.8% this year, compared to last year, while Vancouver will see 4.7% growth. Things will look worse out west, TD predicted, where the oil slump will lead to a 4.7% price decline in Alberta. Sales are poised to plunge at a historic pace in April, while gradually recovering in subsequent months as buyers remain cautious, the report states. “We think this recession is going to be deep but quick, and the economy will recover quite quickly as soon as we substantially get through the health crisis”, said chief economist Peter Norman for The Altus Group.

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 The mid-April market update was released from the Toronto Real Estate Board for the first 17 days of April and it provides the first comprehensive look at the state of our market during the government shutdowns. Sales were down 69% compared to the same time in 2019. Most affected were high end ($2 million+) detached homes and the condominium market where sales fell 72% year over year. Condos have traditionally attracted a high share of first-time buyers, who in times of uncertainty can put their decision to purchase on hold.

The number of new listings were also down on a year-over-year basis by 63.7%. Overall, the average selling price across all types of homes fell by 1.5% to $819,665 in the GTA and $885,371 in the City of Toronto. The fact that new listings trended in a similar fashion to sales during the first half of April means that market conditions remained tight enough to provide support for the average selling price to be in line with 2019 levels.

The state of emergency measures currently in place, including the necessary enforcement of social distancing, has impacted the real estate market in many ways. Home buyers and sellers have concerns about the economy and indeed their own employment situations. On top of this, many buyers and sellers are avoiding any type of in-person interaction. In the condo market, some condo corporations have prohibited entry for non-residents making it difficult to show.

All of the COVID-19 related issues and measures have translated into a temporary drop in the number of transactions – a drop that will persist until we experience a meaningful and sustained decline in the number of cases. There is an optimistic view among some industry players that sales will rebound once restrictions on physical distancing are lifted. As we recover from this temporary downturn, potentially later this year, home buyers will move off the sidelines as they satisfy pent-up demand for ownership housing.

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While several businesses have taken a hit with the pandemic, the real estate market is seeing a decrease in home-buying interest both locally and nationally. The overall March sales results were clearly driven by the first two weeks of the month. There were 4,643 sales reported in the pre-COVID-19 period, accounting for 58% of total transactions and representing a 49% increase compared to the first 14 days of March 2019. There were 3,369 sales reported during the postCOVID-period – down by 15.9 percent compared to the same period in March 2019.

For March as a whole, new listings were up by 3% year-over-year to 14,424. However, similar to sales, new listings dropped on a year-over-year basis during the second half of the month (beginning March 15) by 18.4%. The average selling price for March 2020 was $902,680 – up 14.5 percent compared to March 2019. The average selling price for sales reported between March 15 and March 31, was $862,563 – down from the first half of March 2020, but still up by 10.5 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

This price decline may also be due to the types of homes that are now selling. A closer look at the data reveals that there are more lower-priced homes and condos (and fewer luxury properties) selling today than a month ago, which is pulling down the average home price.

In the weeks leading to mid-March, the real estate market was overheating with buyers competing for properties and driving up prices. But now buyers are hitting pause on their home search because of the current public health advice to stay at home. A lower number of buyers means fewer sales of homes are happening. As the pandemic continues, it’s become clear that transitioning into the digital and virtual spaces have become critical for those working in the real estate industry to succeed. Not to mention that because of the state of the market, agents need to be more creative than they’ve ever been to have their listings stay relevant.

We are a human touch business and agents are doing a tremendous job to distance themselves and maintain their business as best they can without the human touch aspect. It’s an unprecedented time for both buyers and sellers.

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 Over the past few days, we’ve seen many changes to our daily routines as a result of COVID-19. We at Bosley feel it’s our duty to give back to the community we love so dearly in whatever way we can, so we’re coming to you! We have gathered together a group of volunteer agents who are available to help you with deliveries, whether it be groceries or any drug store need. Just give us a call at 416-530-1100 and ask for Mary and we will get right on it to help you. Nothing about this time is normal and we’ve abandoned trying to make it so. But we are still reaching for little things that offer support.

We’re only beginning to understand the destructive nature of COVID-19 and the way this pandemic will transform how we work and live together. We do understand, however, that the need to social distance from each other to curb this pandemic is particularly problematic when making the biggest purchase or sale of your life; this decision requires a high level of trust and a high level of interaction and asking you to reduce face time with an agent is a lot to ask.

Bosley Real Estate is one of the brokerages participating in the growing practice of requiring buyers, sellers and service providers to acknowledge the risks to personal health that arise from showing and visiting the property during this pandemic. All sales representatives are dedicated to participating in the global, national and local efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Following the mandate from our government and regulatory agencies, we have pared back our offices and have implemented strict policies to protect both our communities and agents. We have done this, however, without compromising our ability to serve.

We are in uncertain times today, but the values - trust, integrity, knowledge, and discretion, that has defined Bosley Real Estate for ninety-two years remains unchanged. With these values in mind, it is more important than ever that we continue to observe the COVID-19 restrictions so that lives are saved, communities are maintained and, eventually, business, as usual, will be an option.

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If you’re planning to buy a home in the next little while, you will likely have to do it sight unseen. Just a few days after the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) urged its members to cancel all open houses, the group is now urging agents to stop all person-to-person business. That includes “open houses, and in-person showings, particularity of tenant-occupied homes,” OREA said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “While clients who may decide to host private showings during this time are making the decision for themselves, tenants often have no choice in the matter, putting the health of all those involved at risk.”

As part of its state of emergency, the Ontario government declared real estate an essential service, allowing home sales to continue. The move was made primarily to allow those who have already bought and need to sell or those who have already sold and need to buy, to finish their transactions.

We as realtors have a responsibility to protect our own safety, as well as the safety of our colleagues, clients, and the general public. We must adapt our practices to ensure that our professional activities are safe and comply with all guidance provided by Health Canada, the Province of Ontario and medical professionals.

We are monitoring developments by the hour and changing best practices by the day. If we all stay home like we are told and do as much as we can remotely, we can do our best to flatten the curve and get back to normal sooner. Conditions and government measures are changing so quickly that it’s too soon to tell what will happen with the real estate market longer term.

However, the reality is that the fundamentals of the market, particularly in the GTA and other major urban centres, don’t change; pent-up buyer demand has been slowing building as the supply of available homes for sale remains scant. Due to the limited inventory available, combined with the population growth in Ontario’s big cities like Toronto, we can expect market activity to resume and recover quickly once we’ve mitigated the health risks from COVID-19 and the financial markets stabilize

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The Covid-19 has changed the way we live our daily lives, and it has upended countless business sectors, including our real estate market. Real estate agents, buyers, and sellers are struggling to do business when it’s anything but business as usual. This is a day-to-day situation. We are currently living through history. For Canada’s housing market the immediate future is uncertain. We are trying to find solutions in the era of social distancing and mandatory quarantines. However, we are seeing some steady activity as some appear undeterred. In fact, some buyers have taken encouragement from recent rate cuts implemented to combat the crisis. Lower interest rates can serve as rocket fuel for home prices, but that might not likely be the case this time.

It’s the first week of the “new normal” for everyone after it was announced that ‘Ontario is under a state of emergency’ which is currently in effect until March 31st. We are settling in and are adjusting day-by-day. Most real estate companies have put protocols in place.

• Open houses are cancelled

• Strongly advise the Seller to move out during its listing on the market

• One group of buyers at a time and try not to bring your children

• Don’t touch surfaces only if the agent has provided gloves and wipes

• Limit your showings to 30 minutes

Buyers are still out there, but the market could swing either way. If supply falls, prices may be pushed higher. Home sales in the GTA in February were growing by over 40% compared to last year and prices were growing by just under 20%. Even if some buyers decide not to buy right now, we would still have a competitive market with approximately 2.5 months of inventory. Homes are still selling quickly but instead of getting 10 plus offers on offer night, there may only be 1-3 offers. People still need to buy homes to live in and will still buy and sell for the traditional reasons – divorce, death, desire and relocation.

Stay safe everyone.

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