Perhaps the Beginning of a Market Shift

Toronto market can change on a dime… Perhaps we are seeing start of a shift.

In the fall, listings sat on the market with no showings. One was lucky to get an offer. Market was tough. Towards the end of the year and the beginning of 2024 – houses that had been sitting, slowly started selling. Early January, in houses started gating a lot more showings. In many cases, buyers “woke up” and started buying. It appears that to some extent confidence in the real estate market is being restored. In hot areas where there has been little product there is pent up demand – in some cases multiple offers are back. We had a listing in a central area that ended up with 8 offers within 4 days of being listed and sold well over list.

It is not certain how this trend will continue. The high end now has a luxury tax – how this tax will influence the market is still to be seen. It is hard to say how condos will fare.

Hoping for a Brighter Real Estate Market

Hoping for a brighter 2024. This fall has been one of the slowest time periods in the real estate market that we have seen in many years. Showings on listings are down 60% from the previous time last year. As agents – we are feeling it. Homes that should have sold quickly are still sitting on the market with few showings. Buyers are out there but they are hesitant to jump and many are opting to wait to see what the new year brings.

Current Challenges and Opportunities in the Real Estate Market

The real estate market continues to exhibit sluggishness, characterized by a decrease in property showings and diminished enthusiasm among prospective buyers. Presently, only serious and highly motivated buyers are actively engaging in property searches. Sellers, who were accustomed to a seller’s market marked by a robust influx of potential buyers and swift sales, now find themselves facing anxiety as only a limited number of interested parties show interest upon the initial listing of their properties. Achieving a successful sale in today’s market necessitates the establishment of a realistic pricing strategy and, potentially, a willingness to invest time in the process.

Income property sales have been adversely affected by elevated interest rates and the associated carrying costs. A scarcity of buyers willing or financially able to manage income properties under the current interest rate climate has led to a reduction in property values, with income properties now often selling at a discount. While rental rates remain relatively high and the rental market remains robust, these rates may not be sufficiently elevated to fully offset the burdensome carrying costs associated with income properties.

Rediscovered Area

Recreation and cottage markets are following a similar trend to the city market. This may be a good opportunity for buyers thinking of buying a cottage.

Our team works with excellent agents in different parts of the province. I am sharing a blurb by my colleague Mark Veer who‘s team works the Collingwood/Thornbury area.

The Collingwood/Blue Mountains real estate market has slowed a bit over the past few weeks. After two years of record high prices, we’re seeing signs that this upward trend is starting to flatten out.

Our market needed to chill out a bit. An annual 29% price increase for single family homes and 21% for condos is simply not sustainable.

Buyers are exhausted. Many have been through the multiple offer game several times and lost. It gets tiring fast.

The volatility of the stock market and war have also added to the current uncertainty.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Properties here are still selling. We are still seeing multiple offers on some. Two or three will come through if priced properly instead of eight to ten which was common just two months back.

Inventory levels are increasing and supply and demand are starting to equalize. Hence we have a calmer market.

Our area has been “rediscovered” since Covid began. We predict the area will remain a sought-after destination for weekend enthusiasts, retirees, and young families. We are truly a four season destination.

– Mark Veer

Premium Homes

Premium prices for high end turn key homes on premium lots in premium locations. There are not too many homes in the city that have it all and it appears that the ones that do are getting record prices. Last week a home in Baby Point was listed for $8.5 mill and in 3 days attracted 3 bids selling for $9.6 mill. It had a fabulous ravine lot with a large tableland. The house was beautiful and the landscaping was spectacular. This is for sure a record price for the area and shows that if you do it right buyers appreciate it. The cost of building and renovating is so high now and takes so much time that turn key is worth paying up for in some buyers eyes.

Luxury Cottage Rentals

Luxury cottage rentals readjusting post pandemic. When the pandemic started and no one could travel demand for cottage rentals surged. Demand was so high that prices more than doubled. Many who never wanted to own cottages because they wanted to travel bought cottages so prices surged. Now stuck carrying these cottages with higher carrying costs due to inflation and increasing interest rates, cottage owners are trying to subsidize with renting. Also, people are travelling. Hence less demand for rentals, more supply and readjustment of prices.

We will see how many cottages come for sale as those who are not really cottage people decide that owning a cottage is just too much work and too expensive. It’s not for everyone.

Foreign Investors

Will the hot housing market be less hot without foreign buyers. The Liberal government has announced that it will ban foreign investors from buying homes in Canada for two years in order to cool off the hot housing market. In addition the government announced higher taxes for those who sell homes within 1 year. There are many exemptions to this rule and one may surmise that foreign buyers will use loopholes. This rule could potentially affect condo sales especially new construction where foreign buyers have often put their money. Toronto and Vancouver are 2 places that may be affected as foreign buyers like to put their money in these cities. Canadians do need housing for their own. We will see how these rules work to help.

Early Spring Market

Beginning of spring market in Toronto appears to be busy. We are seeing more homes come out. World instability has perhaps pushed those who were thinking of selling to sell. Potentially rising interest rates may also push buyers to buy. Inflation is definitely on its way up and will have to be addressed. Here is the thing – we have no idea what will happen. Any attempts at forecasting are speculative at best.

Real Estate Teams

The concept of having a real estate team has grown in popularity in the past number of years. There are many reasons why it makes sense to hire a team. Firstly, there is always someone there to service the client for whatever need they may have. Agents who are good are busy and it is really hard to be everywhere at the same time. A team who has specialized people for each category is able to move fast and efficiently. There is someone handling home preparation, staging, social media, and advertising. A team can handle all of a clients real estate needs whether it is buying, selling or leasing. We become a group of consultants who are able to service families of different generations with all their needs.

On the other side, younger less experienced agents are able to be mentored by more experienced agents. It is a win win for everyone to hire a team.

House of Cards

Over thirty years ago my grandmother told me that a good friend of theirs who had been very successful in buying and selling real estate said: “Toronto is built on mortgages. If I don’t have a mortgage I’m not making money.” So many years ago he was before his time. Today, the concept of making money on having a mortgage has never been more true.
In many cases buyers are not really thinking about paying off the mortgage when they buy. They are thinking more about borrowing (and in most cases borrowing a lot) to live where they want, then possibly upgrading, and then eventually selling when they need. Or, homeowners are taking equity out of their homes to invest and making money off other investments. Older parents in expensive homes are taking equity out in order to help their kids buy real estate. It appears that everyone has a mortgage. The low cost of borrowing and low inventory are driving prices up in a sharp line. The question is – how sustainable is this and is this a house of cards that will eventually topple over.