This is clearly an unprecedented time for all of us. We want to start off by stating how we hope that you, your family and friends are healthy and well. It’s in times like these we can clearly see what matters most. This is a time to focus efforts on those aspects that matter most to your heart.
We send out newsletters to our clients but we stopped last month. The reason being is that the COVID-19 news hit Toronto, so we felt it was not a time to appear as though it’s “business as usual.” Despite Realtors being deemed as “Essential Services” by the Ontario Provincial government, it must be made clear that this is for the purpose of ensuring the following:
- Those who have their home/condo closing get services from a Realtor.
- Those without a home can purchase.
- Those who must sell can do so.
This special edition update will cover the following topics:
- What Matters Today
- Sellers Today
- Buyers Today
- Landlords & Tenants Today
- Real Estate Market Perspective During COVID-19
What Matters Today:
We are all in this together. We will get through this.
This is when we see the importance of community and supporting one another. We will get through this together by acting with everyone’s best interests in mind.
We want to be explicitly clear that your health and everyone else’s health are of paramount importance. Please stay home. Please stay a minimum of 2 metres apart. Please follow the Canadian Government’s and top health official’s guidance.
Job/Employment financial and economic support through this time can be found here on the Government website.
Those who have a necessity to sell – we have gone digital. Full virtual tours, extremely restricted showings with strict criteria as to how the space is to be shown. To be clear we are listing homes and condos. We have a new protocol at Sage Real Estate that details how this will be handled. Sage and a select few central core brokerages are leading the industry with best practice to:
- Ensure safety for the sellers, buyers and agents – ultimately the community.
- Maximize the value of our seller’s homes considering the challenging times we find ourselves in.
Those buyers who must out of necessity purchase through this time can be served. Again, we are going as digital as possible. We have always looked to serve our buyers with the best guidance and questions when showing to ensure that we look at what they truly have interest in, properties that they are excited about and can see themselves living in – not it’s all the more important to ensure that this is communicated as our health depends on it.
Here are 3 tips for buying a condo in 2020.
Landlords & Tenants Today:
We are all in a precarious place of financial uncertainty, and the government is doing what it can to assist. For those Tenants who are employed and/or have the money to pay your rent, please honour your commitment. For those tenants that are facing the possibility of not being able to pay your rent, please reach out to your landlord, begin a conversation and see if there can be a temporary agreement put in place. Landlords, we also suggest being proactive with your tenants, have an open, respectful and honest discussion about what you need to happen.
Both landlords and tenants: we suggest keeping a close eye on the short term but also an eye on the long term – we will get through this. We all need to be financially wise through this time. Wisdom and courage through this time is key. The contracts will still be valid, and you will still have a relationship once the COVID-19 pandemic has run its course. Maintaining a respectful and professional relationship will benefit both parties.
Ontario Government summary of the rental process can be found here.
Real Estate Market Perspective During COVID-19:
First and foremost, take a deep breath, get grounded in this time of unknowing. The market is important to all of us on some level. It’s essential to worth noting that nothing matters without the health of ourselves and those we love. To perhaps put it bluntly, without our health, the market is irrelevant. That being said we do want to provide some perspective through this time of COVID-19.
2020 was off the strongest start we have ever seen. Skyrocketing condo and home values. We were perplexed as to how this could possibly slow down. We had no idea what an impact like a pandemic could do to us. In fact, no one and no government had a true sense of the complexity of economic and health implications that could arise.
What is an essential aspect to keep in mind through this time is that we do not know what the future will hold. As much as our human nature may be to see fear and concerns moving forward, we truly have no idea what will happen. We never could predict the future, and now we see first hand how impossible that is. That much being said, we need to acknowledge that in time we will have grown and learned from what has happened. Today, however, is a time to take care of ourselves and others and do what you can to make financial ends meet. With patience, we will navigate this, and we will come out the other end of this.
The real estate market has seen a drop in values and sales numbers as we have progressed in days and weeks since the COVID-19 announcement —no one expected otherwise. With fewer showings, fewer listings it was inevitable. Keep this in mind: a drop in value today is a “paper loss” for those not looking to sell or sell and move up in value. Many of our clients who have purchased over the years are still far above their purchase value. If you aren’t selling and you can make your payments, you will be okay. The market will rebound in time. For those who are perhaps struggling to make mortgage payments, please have a look at the support the Government of Canada is offering in terms of mortgage deferrals. Also, consider asking your bank or mortgage banker for other creative solutions. Perhaps a refinancing or HELOC would be a worthwhile consideration. We will not know the extent of the economic impact on real estate for 6- 12 months. We can assure you that we will be focused and diligently following what the latest insights and research is telling us.
You will see grand predictions in the coming weeks and months both from other realtors and the media. Take a few deep breaths, acknowledge that they are vying for your attention – this is a great way to get it, right? They do not know the future. Reading predictions can cause a lot of anxiety. No one needs any additional anxiety through this time. We suggest that you focus on what you can control today. We also want to remind all of you that Toronto is a world-class city that will rebound in time. We still love what our city has to offer, and so do many others. We believe the leadership that we see at the different levels of Government here in Canada is the envy of many other countries around the world. This will draw positive attention to us, similar to the financial crisis at the end of 2008 – a crisis that Toronto’s TSX & housing values recovered from in short order.
The market report is below. You can read it if you wish, but note that this is a snapshot in time that we are just beginning to wrap our heads around. The COVID-19 situation is continually evolving, and you can imagine just how much the real estate market is changing here in Toronto. We could talk for hours about what we are seeing and the impact this is having on buyers and sellers. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the effect is due to keeping all of us safe and healthy.
Only at the end of this will we know what happened. Be patient and don’t hold too tightly to the statistics during this unprecedented time in our history.
Our collective health and well being is of the utmost importance.
We are all in this together.
We will get through this.
Be safe & healthy.
Our hearts go out to all of you.
We are here should you have any questions, simply call or email us – start here. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
April Real Estate Market Update:
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Michael Collins released the following key housing market statistics for April 2020:
Home Sales and Listings
- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,975 residential transactions through TRREB’s MLS® System. This result was down by 67 per cent compared to April 2019. Weekday sales remained within a relatively steady range during the month, averaging 130 per day.
- New listings amounted to 6,174 in April 2020 – down on a year-over-year basis by a similar rate compared to sales (-64.1 per cent).
- The average selling price for April 2020 transactions was $821,392 – up by 0.1 per cent compared to the average price of $820,373 reported for April 2019. The semi-detached and townhouse market segments experienced annual average price growth above the rate of inflation. The condominium apartment and detached segments experienced year-over-year price declines on average.
- The trend for the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark, which had been on an upward trajectory since the beginning of 2019 flattened in April. On a year-over-year basis, the Benchmark was up by 10 per cent.
- The MLS® HPI indices represent prices for typical homes with consistent attributes from one period to the next. The fact that the MLS® HPI was up year-over-year by a greater rate than the average selling price suggests that the share of higher end deals completed in April 2020 versus April 2019 was down.
March Real Estate Market Update:
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,012 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System in March 2020 – up by 12.3 per cent compared to 7,132 sales reported in March 2019.
However, despite a strong increase in sales for March 2020 as a whole, there was a clear break in market activity between the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 periods. For the purposes of this release, the start of the post-COVID-19 period was the week beginning Sunday, March 15.The overall March sales result was clearly driven by the first two weeks of the month. There were 4,643 sales reported in the pre-COVID-19 period, accounting for the 58 per cent of total transactions and representing a 49 per cent increase compared to the first 14 days of March 2019.
There were 3,369 sales reported during the post-COVID-period – down by 15.9 per cent compared to the same period in March 2019.
For March as a whole, new listings were up by three per cent 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 per cent.
The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark price was up by 11.1 per cent year-over-year in March 2020. The average selling price for March 2020 as a whole was $902,680 – up 14.5 per cent 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 per cent compared to the same period last year.