Brian O'Donoghue

Sales Representative

Direct 647-405-3126 | bodonoghue@bosleyrealestate.com

 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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