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How to win a bidding war in Toronto

With Toronto being one of the hottest real estate markets with a level of demand that the supply can’t seem to keep up with, there’s no surprise that buyers often end up in a bidding war against other buyers.

I often tell my buyer clients that buying a home in Toronto is a process, one that involves more than just one attempt at finding the right house for them and sometimes involves some disappointment when one gets away.

How to win a bidding war in Toronto

Unfortunately, the Toronto real estate market is heartless; it doesn’t care about your feelings or your dreams, and it most definitely doesn’t care about how many homes you’ve missed out on. Most of the time, the only thing that Toronto real estate cares about is how much money you will pay for it.

Although offer price is usually the driving force when it comes to selecting the winning bid in a multiple offer situation, there are other deciding factors that come into play and which can work in your favour when putting together your offer.

As a full time Toronto real estate agent, I’ve had plenty experience with assisting both seller and buyer clients over the years. This has allowed me to view the deal from both sides of the table and to pick up on tactics and strategies that have resulted in a winning bid. I’ve also had the opportunity to see what doesn’t work.

How to win a bidding war in Toronto

Below, I’ve provided some of the strategies that have worked for my clients in the past in order to hopefully help you if you’re ever involved with a bidding war in the future.

Strategies:

Submitting a “Bully Offer” – This strategy typically only works if you are willing to pay an amount well above the list price and possibly slightly higher than market value. You essentially should be submitting an offer that the seller would be foolish to refuse. This offer would need to be completely clean and not include any conditions and with a limited number of clauses. This offer should also include the seller’s desired closing date.

Submitting a personalized letter with a photo – Although some may disagree with this strategy, I have seen personal letters work for both my buyer clients as well as for buyers submitting offers on my listings. I’ve personally been in situations where my seller clients were ready to take a lower offer price for their home simply because they liked the offer with the letter from the buyers as it felt more personal. It probably wouldn’t have been the wisest financial decision to accept a lower offer price due to a nicely written letter but it does go to show you that a personalized letter has the potential to sway a seller’s decision as to which offer to accept.

Submitting an offer with the desired closing date – One small way to help increase the odds of your offer being accepted is by matching the seller’s desired closing date. This is a very minor thing and likely won’t be the only thing that makes or breaks the deal, but if you can match the desired losing date, you will be that much closer to having your offer accepted.

Submit a clean offer – If you are up against other offers, the last thing you want to do is submit an offer with a bunch of conditions, reps and warranties and clauses. I realize this can be scary and you must make a decision that you feel comfortable and confident with but you may need to remove any home inspection or financing conditions or clauses you were planning on including. Based on years of experience with dealing with bidding wars, I can guarantee that the odds of your conditional offer being accepted are extremely low. However, if you are considering removing any conditions, make sure you are in a financial position to deal with any unexpected surprises that you may run into down the road.

Make sure your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – I often receive incomplete offers with missing information, sometimes important information such as the names of the parties to the agreement along with other very important information. Make sure all sections of the offer are filled out fully and accurately. The last thing you want to be doing is submitting an incomplete offer in a bidding war as this will not only result in the sellers potentially feeling uneasy with your offer, it may even result in you missing out on the home.

Don’t expect more than one chance – For some reason, some buyers and agents think that they will be guaranteed a chance to improve their offer after it has been submitted. This is not always the case as the seller is not required to provide additional opportunities for buyers to improve their offers. Do not go into a bidding war expecting a second, third or fourth chance to improve your offer as you may not get it.

Make sure to check in with the listing agent – Many agents simply submit an offer on offer night and wait to receive a yes or no answer. If you are working with an experienced and reputable Toronto real estate agent, they won’t stop at simply submitting your offer. Once your agent has submitted your offer, they should be checking in with the listing agent in order to see how your offer is doing compared to the others and to see if there is any way that you can make your offer stronger, whether that be financially or otherwise.

At the end of the day, bidding wars are complex and each one is different from the other depending on the different parties involved, including the the sellers, buyers and agents. A good real estate agent will be able to guide you through the process and help ensure that your offer stands out from the competition as much as possible while protecting your rights and working in your best interest throughout the process.

Are you thinking about making a move or do you have questions about the current market?

Contact me any time with your real estate questions or to discuss your real estate plans. I’m happy to help and to answer any questions you may have.

Toronto real estate market (July 2022)

For the fourth consecutive month the Toronto and area resale housing market produced declining sales and lower average sale prices. The housing market peaked in February for average sale prices, in March for monthly reported sales. In February the average sale price for the greater Toronto area came in at an incredible (and unsustainable) $1,334,000. Sales in March hit 10,881, which was not a record. The record for March sales was achieved in 2021 when an unbelievable 15,627 homes of all types were reported sold.

In July the average sale price came in at $1,074,754, a 19 percent decline compared to February’s peak. It should be noted that July’s average sale price was still 1.2 percent higher than July 2021’s average sale price of $1,061,724. Sales in July were more than 47 percent lower than a year ago. There were 4,912 properties reported sold throughout the greater Toronto region. Last year 9,339 homes were sold. Compared to the 10,881 properties reported sold in March, sales in July have declined by almost 55 percent.

There is no mystery as to why the market has changed so dramatically in such a very short time period. The housing market, not only in Toronto and surrounding areas, but universally in North America, was supercharged by pandemic forces (the need for space and safety and the ability to work remotely) and historically cheap money. Money is no longer cheap and with society returning to a form of normalcy, the housing landscape is, compared to February and March and all of 2021, unrecognizable. The Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate is currently 2.5 percent. In March it was only 0.25 percent. In only four months it has increased by 900 percent! Mortgage interest rates have correspondingly also increased (although not as dramatically) from approximately 2 percent in March to close to 6 percent today. With the inflation rate in Canada at about 8 percent, it is anticipated that when the Bank of Canada meets in September, another rate hike is expected.

Toronto real estate market (July 2022)

Contrary to the commonly accepted view, the declining average sale prices that the market is experiencing are not making housing in the greater Toronto area any more affordable. In fact, rising financing costs are making buying a home in Toronto less affordable. A recent Ratehub study has indicated that with the stress tests and the higher borrowing costs, a buyer in Canada needs $18,000.00 more in household income per year to buy the average priced house than they would have required in February when the average sale price was $1,334,000. That number is even higher in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

Two market sectors in the City of Toronto are, to some degree, operating contrary to overall market conditions. Firstly, condominium apartments. Notwithstanding declining average sale prices, condominium apartments continue to sell for strong prices. Overall condominium apartment prices were 7 percent higher than last July – 12 percent higher in the 905 region and 4.3 percent in the City of Toronto. The explanation is obvious. In an increasingly unaffordable housing market, condominium apartments remain the most affordable housing type. In July the average sale price of all condominium apartments sold was $719,000, somewhat higher at $744,000 in the City of Toronto.

Secondly, the City of Toronto’s eastern districts. In July all properties in Toronto’s eastern districts sold in only 15 days and for 102 percent of their asking price. The overall market saw properties selling at 99 percent of their asking price. Also, all eastern district properties sold after only 15 days on the market. This compares very favorably with the 20 days it took properties to sell in the overall Toronto and region marketplace. The explanation for this market phenomenon is less clear. It isn’t price. The average price for all properties sold came in at $1,014,000, marginally less than the overall average sale price of $1,019,000 for all City of Toronto properties reported sold. It would appear that the eastern districts, particularly Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches, are viewed as more desirable than other parts of the City by buyers.

Looking forward we should anticipate that this cycle of declines in sales and average sale prices to continue, however not as dramatically as the declines we have experienced since February and March. Until inflation stabilizes and the Bank of Canada stops increasing its benchmark rate the prevailing housing landscape will remain unchanged.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Toronto real estate market (June 2022)

Not unexpectedly June produced a substantial negative variance when compared to the numbers that the Toronto and Region residential resale market produced in June of 2021. Rising mortgage interest rates have over the last three months caused sales to drop fairly precipitously, and although sales prices are off from their high of February of this year, they remain higher than average sale prices achieved last June.

In June 6,474 properties were reported sold, a 41 percent decline from the 11,053 properties reported sold last June. The average sale price came in at $1,146,254, more than 5 percent higher than the average sale price of $1,088,991 achieved last June. Having said that, a review of what’s been happening since February, both as to sales and average sale price, gives a more accurate description of where the Toronto and Region residential sales market is going.

In February 9,044 properties were reported sold achieving an eye-popping sale price of $1,334,142. One could safely say that February was the height of the pandemic, liquidity-induced resale market. March produced more sales (10,902) but could not sustain the unprecedented average price. March’s average sale price dropped to $1,299,468. Higher mortgage interest rates kicked in April and since then both sales and average sales prices have declined dramatically.

Toronto real estate market (June 2022)

As the above-noted chart indicates, since February the average sale price has declined by $185,000, or 14 percent, and since March, sales have declined by more than 40 percent. These declines can be charted in direct relationship to the increase in mortgage interest rates. Although declines in both sales and average sale prices will continue as the Bank of Canada raises its benchmark rate in its effort to fight inflation, those declines will be more moderate going forward, unless the Bank of Canada raises rates so high that it tips the Canadian economy into recession.

Interestingly, June’s numbers continue to demonstrate that the demand in the Toronto and Region resale market has not dissipated with rising mortgage interest rates. In June, all properties (on average) sold in just 15 days, only 2 days more than the 13 days it took last year. (This number may not be entirely accurate since it does not reflect properties that were listed and cancelled, then re-listed at a lower price). Also, all properties reported across the region sold for 100 percent of their asking (also not an entirely accurate number) and in the City of Toronto at 101 percent of their asking price.

Regardless of the precise accuracy of these numbers they clearly demonstrate that there are many buyers in the marketplace searching to buy homes. As more immigrants settle in the greater Toronto area the demand will continue to grow and create the same market pressures that manifested themselves before and during the pandemic. They won’t be fully apparent until the Bank of Canada has inflation under some control and mortgage interests rates stop rising.

It should be noted that whereas during the pandemic (not that it is no longer with us) properties in Toronto’s 905 region sold faster and at higher prices than homes in the City of Toronto. That pattern has been reserved. As health and travel restrictions have eased, buyers are no longer looking for the space and safety that ground-level properties in the 905 offered. In June every housing type in the City of Toronto – detached, semi-detached, townhouse, and condominium apartments – achieved average sale prices substantially higher than corresponding counterparts in the 905 regions. Secondary markets – markets within 200 kilometers from Toronto – are similarly experiencing downturns both in average sale prices and sales.

The number of new listings coming to market will also have a substantial impact on both sales and average sale prices. In June 16,347 new listings came to market. This compares favourably with the 16,193 that came to market last year. However, due to declining sales, we enter July with 16,093 properties available to buyers, 42.5 percent more than June last year. If this continues buyers will have more choice, sale prices will be negotiated in the buyers’ favour, and more properties will languish on the market until they are sold or the listings cancelled.

Early indications in July are that the slide in sales and average sale prices will continue. Buyers are waiting to see how high the Bank of Canada will raise rates, and as a result how much lower prices will drop.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Toronto real estate market (2022)

As forecast, the rising mortgage interest rates (not to mention other factors at play, like the war in the Ukraine, inflation, and ongoing supply chain problems) had a direct impact on the number of residential properties reported sold in April. At the end of April, the five-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.19 percent. In February the five-year rate was 2.79 percent, an increase of more than 50 percent in a mere two months. Coupled with the mortgage stress test that all borrowers must undergo when qualifying, it is not surprising that many buyers, particularly first-time buyers, have been forced out of the market. Those who qualify may have had to lower their price-point expectations.

One should not interpret the decline in sales as an indication that the Toronto and area residential resale market is softening or becoming more affordable. Properties sold at lightning speed in April and at strong prices. Prices were lower than the record achieved in February ($1,334,408), but still 15 percent higher than the average sale price of $1,090,414 delivered last year. This April the average sale price came in at $1,254,436, a 6 percent decline from February’s record number.

In April 8,008 properties were reported sold, down 41 percent from the 13,613 properties that changed hands last April. Sales reported in April 2021 remains the second highest monthly total on record, only behind the 15,613 reported in March of last year. It is important to note that since last April’s reported sales, no month has come close to April’s numbers. The best month after April last year was May, reporting 11,903 sales, and 10,939 properties reported sold in March of this year. Most months reported sales well under 10,000. This April’s sales are consistent with reported sales since the record peak early in 2021.

Days on market and sales to list prices are the litmus test of the strength or weakness in the market. April’s results clearly demonstrate the continued strength in the Toronto and area marketplace. In April all properties reported sold, including 2,173 condominium apartments, sold in only 11 days. Depending on housing type and location, properties were reported sold in even less time. For example, all detached properties throughout the greater Toronto area sold in only 10 days, while all semi-detached properties sold in only 9 days. Semi-detached properties in Toronto’s eastern districts continued to amaze, selling in only 7 days.

Toronto real estate market (2022)

Not only did all properties sell at the speed of light, but they did so at prices substantially higher than their asking price. All properties were (on average) sold at 107 percent of their asking price. In the City of Toronto, sales came in at 108 percent of their asking price, including condominium apartments. In Toronto’s eastern districts all properties sold at 113 percent of their asking price.

The clearest indication that the Toronto marketplace has not weakened and has not become more affordable is the performance of the condominium apartment sector. In April 2,173 condominium apartments were reported sold, 65 percent of them in the City of Toronto. The average sale price for all condominium apartments sold was $780,000. In the City of Toronto, the average selling price was $820,000, and in Toronto’s central districts, where 64 percent of all condominium apartment sales take place, the average sale price came in at an eye-popping $881,451. With average sale prices well above $1,000 per square foot, a buyer should expect substantially less than 800 square feet of living space for $881,451.

Rising mortgage interest rates should not cause market observers to lose focus on the fact that resale inventory levels remain historically low. In April months of inventory were only 0.9 for the entire greater Toronto area, and as in the case of days on market and sale to list price performance, even less depending on location and property type. Last year’s months of inventory were 1.3 months. With large numbers of immigrants making their homes in the greater Toronto area, the demand side of the market will continue. Almost 50 percent of more than 400,000 immigrants coming to Canada in 2021 relocated in Ontario and the greater Toronto area.

As we move into the late spring and summer months, and as interest rates continue to rise, we can anticipate negative variances compared to corresponding months in 2021. Notwithstanding these variances, and as this report has pointed out, the resale market will remain strong and as unaffordable as it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Toronto real estate market (March 2022)

In the face of daunting obstacles, the Toronto and area residential resale market produced stellar results, albeit not the stratospheric results achieved during the same period last year. In the face of rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and its global consequences, government legislation primarily directed against foreign buyers and investors, and a desperate lack of inventory, the Toronto and area market produced the third-best March and the second-best first quarter on record.

Any comparison with March 2021 is almost pointless. During the first quarter of 2021, the resale market was being driven by the frenzy of the pandemic, causing indiscriminate buying, particularly in suburban and secondary markets. Even without all the obstacles, the market is currently experiencing that level of activity was unsustainable.

In March, 10,955 properties were reported sold, almost 30 percent fewer than March of last year, but as indicated above, still the third-best March on record. As a clear demonstration of how strong the market was in March, the average sale price came in at $1,300,000, not far from the record price of $1,334,328 achieved just last month. March’s average sale price is almost 20 percent higher than the average sale price of $1,097,351 achieved last year.

Toronto real estate market (March 2022)

Given rising mortgage interest rates, it is not surprising that average sale prices have plateaued. The trend of constantly rising average sale prices is at an end and will stay steady until the current cycle of rising interest rates is at an end. Rising rates have the immediate effect of removing fringe buyers (often first-time buyers) from the market and lowering the price-point expectations of others.

If there was any doubt about the strength of the Toronto and area marketplace, two statistics dramatically prove the opposite. In March, all properties that hit the market (on average) sold in only 8 (unbelievable!) days. To emphasize this point, all 10,955 properties that sold in March were listed, marketed, negotiated, and sold in only 8 days. Even last year during Toronto’s strongest market in history, it took 10 days for all properties to be sold.

Not only did all properties sell in only 8 days, but they sold for an eye-popping 113 percent of their asking price, and this included 3,154 condominium apartments. In Toronto’s eastern trading districts all properties sold at 121 percent of their asking price. If a buyer were to go further east into the Durham region they would find that all properties that hit the market in March sold for 123 percent of their asking price. Semi-detached properties in Toronto’s eastern districts close to the central core continue to defy all market obstacles selling at almost 130 percent of their asking price. These statistics do not reflect a weakening market.

Despite the obstacles faced by the Toronto and area market, the growth in average sale prices was stronger in the 905 region as compared to growth in the City of Toronto. This continues the pattern that started during the pandemic, where less expensive homes offering more space were available.

Toronto real estate market (2022)

Overall prices in the City of Toronto increased by 15.8 percent and by almost 27 percent in the 905 region.

High-end luxury properties continue to sell well. In March 1,165 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Year-to-date 2,841 properties in this price category have been reported sold, 93 percent of these sales being detached properties in the City of Toronto and the 905 region. Last year only 982 properties were reported sold in this price category.

As the market moves into April, supply shortages continue to be a problem. In March a little over 20,000 new properties came to market, almost 12 percent fewer than the 22,747 that came to market last year. As we enter April, buyers’ choice remains limited. At month end there were 10,167 available properties for sale, down over 4 percent compared to the 10,603 available last year. Based on the pace of sales, there were only 0.9 months of inventory in the entire greater Toronto area. The supply was marginally better in the City of Toronto, primarily because of the availability of condominium apartments, coming in at 1.1 months of inventory. Given the population of the greater Toronto area (approximately 6.7 million) a healthy, balanced market requires at least 20,000 properties monthly on a continuous basis available to buyers.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Toronto real estate market report

It’s now official, the most expensive city in Canada, at least from a housing perspective, is Toronto. February’s resale market performance pushed Toronto prices to new records, breaking records achieved only last month in January.

The reasons for this unbelievable increase in prices have been historically low interest rates, a lack of supply, continued growth in population (in 2021 the population of the greater Toronto area is estimated to be 6.4 million, which means that more than 1 in 6 Canadians live in the region) and the fact that there is now a prevailing view that a home is not merely bricks and mortar, where families live and grow, but the most important asset in the accumulation of wealth. The asset valuation affect at play is very similar to why people invest in the equities market, particularly when interest rates are exceptionally low, as they have been.

Toronto real estate market

In February 14,147 new properties came to market, a sharp improvement from the 7,979 properties that came to market in January, but almost 7 percent fewer than the 15,146 new listings that became available to buyers last year. Consequently, heading into March there were only 6,985 available properties in the entire greater Toronto area, 20 percent fewer than at the same time last year. These are critically low numbers. To put these numbers into perspective, the available inventory today is only about a third of what was available at the beginning of 1997. With 430,000 new immigrants expected in 2022, many of whom will end up in the greater Toronto area, there is no immediate relief expected.

Average sale prices continue to be higher in the city of Toronto as compared to the 905 region, but as has been the pattern since the beginning of the pandemic, the gap between the two is narrowing.

Toronto real estate marketIn a month that was full of new records, the time that available properties spent on the market before being reported sold can only be described as startling. In February all properties (on average) that hit the market were reported sold in only 9 days. Single digit time periods on the market have been the norm in some trading areas, but never for the entire greater Toronto area. There were 2,772 condominium apartments sold in the greater Toronto area, 1,842 of them in the city of Toronto. They all sold after spending only 11 days on market. There are no longer any meaningful superlatives to describe what is happening in the greater Toronto marketplace.

 

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

best toronto real estate agents

There were a few surprises and once again a number of new records established by the Toronto and area residential resale market in January.

First, and very noteworthy, was the average sale price for all properties reported sold. It came in at an eye-popping $1,242,793, surpassing the previous record of $1,163,210 achieved in November of last year. By contrast, last January the average sale price came in at only $966,068, a year-over-year increase of almost 30 percent. This is not supposed to happen in January, historically a quiet month, and it happened during a snow filled month making access to properties extremely difficult.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the increase in the Toronto and area average sale price was 905 driven. As the chart below indicates, year-over-year price increases in Toronto’s 905 region averaged almost 34 percent and only 24 percent in the City of Toronto.

As a result of these increases, the 905 has dramatically reduced the gap in housing prices between the City of Toronto and the 905 region. With more people working from home and needing more interior and outdoor space, this pattern will continue throughout the foreseeable future.

A trend that began in the second half of 2020 has now become common place, namely the disparity between list and sale prices. Throughout the entire Toronto and area marketplace all properties sold for 113 percent of their asking price, including 2016 condominium apartments. The most startling disparity was the reported sale of semi-detached properties in Toronto’s eastern districts. All semi-detached properties throughout the eastern districts sold for 127 percent of their asking price, and astoundingly in the neighbourhoods of Riverdale and Leslieville the sales to list ratio was 134 percent, another market record, and a buyer’s nightmare. This discrepancy will only get worse. At the beginning of February there were only 26 active semi-detached property listings for the entire eastern trading area.

Toronto real estate market

The luxury market has also undergone a major transformation over the past few years. In January, 590 properties were reported sold with a sale price of $2 Million or more. This compares with only 331 in January 2021, 130 in 2020, and a mere 76 in 2019 – a 676 percent increase in three years. This is also, no doubt, a record. Clearly the definition of “luxury” will have to be redefined.

The other end of the market spectrum, condominium apartment sales, continue to increase in price. A year ago, condominium apartment sale prices in the city of Toronto resulted in a negative variance, down 8 percent compared to 2020. This January condominium apartment prices rose by almost 22 percent to $760,643. But the real story is in Toronto’s central core. In January, 966 apartments were reported sold with an average sale price of over $800,000. Considering that central core sales account for almost 70 percent of all City of Toronto apartment sales, what used to be the most affordable housing type is starting to become quite pricey. What’s worse is that in one year the available supply of condominium apartments has declined from 2,360 to 1,095, a 53 percent decrease.

Supply generally will be the driving – rather inhibiting – market force in 2022. Supply was at an all-time low at the end of 2021, with no improvement in January. January saw 7,979 properties come to market, a decrease of almost 16 percent compared to the 9,438 that came to market last year. As buyers venture into the February market only 4,140 available properties await them, a 44 percent decline compared to the 7,396 (also extremely low) available last year.

With this shocking low level of supply, it is not surprising that reported sales were down in January compared to last year. There were 5,636 sales in January, down over 18 percent compared to the 6,888 property sales last year. Notwithstanding this negative variance, it must be remembered that January’s numbers are very robust compared to what used to happen in January before the pandemic. For example, in January 2020, the month that Covid-19 became part of our vocabulary, only 4,546 sales were reported, and the year before that only 3,968.

Looking ahead all eyes are on the Bank of Canada and when it will raise interest rates. Given the level of demand and the lack of supply the impact of higher mortgage interest rates will likely be moderate. Those buyers struggling to qualify today will be forced out of the market, especially first time buyers, but for every one of them there are still many who are intent and capable (if they can find one) on acquiring a house.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

The Beaches Real Estate Agents

With one month still remaining in 2021, November’s reported sales brought the total year-to-date sales to 115,716 residential properties sold. We will finish the year with approximately 122,000 sales, eclipsing the previous annual record for properties sold in 2016. In that year 113,040 properties traded hands. As will become evident, given the supply problems the market is experiencing, 2021’s record-breaking accomplishment is not likely to be surpassed for some time, and definitely not in 2022.

In November 9,017 residential properties were reported sold, also a record number for any previous November. Last year 8,728 properties were sold, 3.3 percent fewer than this November. The big news coming out of the November data, aside from the new records achieved, was what’s happening to prices and the region’s disappearing inventory.

 

In addition to being the strongest November on record, and breaking the annual record for total sales, November saw the Toronto and area average sale price climb into record territory. The average sale price for all properties reported sold came in at $1,163,323, almost 22 percent higher than last year’s average sale price ($955,889). November marks the sixth consecutive month of monthly increases. This streak started in June when the average sale price was a “mere” $1,089,135, 7 percent less than the average sale price for November. The pace of these monthly increases in average sale price began to accelerate in September when it became evident that the Toronto and area supply problem was moving from chronic to dangerous.

The supply problem became even worse in November. Only 10,036 new listings came to market in November, 13.2 percent fewer than the 11,556 that came to market last year. Given the absorption rate – 9,017 properties were reported sold, almost the same number as came to market – combined with the few listings that realtors were able to bring to the market, we find ourselves entering December with only 6,086 properties available to buyers, an eye-popping 56 percent fewer listings (13,798) than at the same time last year.

As unbelievable as these numbers are, depending on housing type and neighbourhood, the situation is even direr. For example, there were trading districts that reported no sales of semi-detached properties for November. The reason no sales were reported is due to the unnerving fact that no semi-detached properties came to market in November in those trading areas.

Toronto Real Estate

No surprise that sales of all types of properties were happening at lightning speed. In the City of Toronto, all detached properties were reported sold in just 13 days. Semi-detached properties sold in just 11 days. In the 905 region, all semi-detached properties that came to market in November sold in a mere 8 days with some trading areas reporting sales at an even faster pace. All sales of semi-detached properties in Halton, which includes Burlington, Milton, and Oakville, were processed in only 4 days!

Another milestone that was achieved in November was months of inventory. Given the data in this report, it won’t surprise anyone that for the first time months of inventory for the greater Toronto area dropped below one month. For the entire region, months of inventory came in at 0.9 months.

In some trading areas, this number was, unbelievably, even lower. Durham region, which includes Ajax, Uxbridge, Oshawa, and Pickering ended the month with only 0.5 months of inventory. As this report is making clear, the 905 region is even more active than the City of Toronto. This is also evident in what’s happening to prices in the 905 region. In November, average sale prices increased much more dramatically in the 905 region than in the City of Toronto, including condominium apartments.

Toronto Real Estate

Prices continue to be lower in the 905 region compared to the City of Toronto, but as 2021 winds down that disparity is beginning to diminish. In the City of Toronto the average sale price for detached properties reached record territory at $1,808,000 and similarly for semi-detached properties, with prices coming in at $1,432,000. As we move into the last month of 2021, condominium apartments are the largest housing type available to buyers, but that supply is also declining, while average sale prices for condominium apartments continue to rise.

At the beginning of December there were 2,689 active condominium apartments available to buyers. These 2,689 condominium apartments represent more than 44 percent of the entire available stock of all property types. At the beginning of October, there were 3,440 condominium apartments available for buyers, a shocking decline of 22 percent in only one month. With these dwindling numbers it is no surprise that the average sale price for condominium apartments in the City of Toronto’s central core (where most of the supply is located) is now over $800,000.

Given the enormous demand, stimulated by the expectation the mortgage interest rates will rise, perhaps as early as the first third of 2022, December, which is historically a slow selling month, to the extent that low supply will allow it, will emulate November’s activity – average sale prices will increase; inventory levels will continue to decline, especially for detached and semi-detached properties; sales will take place at the speed of light, the 905 region will outpace the City of Toronto in sales and price growth; and, as has been the case since September, average sales prices throughout the greater Toronto area, will all exceed asking prices, on average by about 110 percent.

The tension in the Toronto and area housing market (demand struggling with supply leading to record-breaking average sale prices) will not miraculously resolve itself. In order to increase supply all three levels of government, and particularly at the municipal level, must work co-operatively to intelligently free up land, increase density by filling the missing middle, and reduce regulatory and planning red tape and bureaucracy so that more housing can be built to satisfy the ever-growing demand at something approaching affordable levels.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

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Toronto Real Estate Questions and Answers

Whether you are selling or buying real estate in Toronto, the real estate world can be a confusing place for those who aren’t already familiar with it.  Below is a list of the top 25 real estate questions I receive from both buyers and sellers on a daily basis as well as the answers to each question.

 

Q #1: Who pays the buyer’s agent?

A: This is a common question from both sellers and buyers. The commission is paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale.

 

Q #2: How much does it cost to list and sell a home in Toronto?

A: Although there is no standard amount for commission, the cost of listing and selling your home in Toronto is typically 5% of the sale price plus HST.

 

Q #3: Does a seller have to accept my offer if I offer more than the list price?

A: No, the seller is never required to accept an offer, even if it is for an amount higher than the list price.

 

Q #4: Will I automatically get a chance to improve my offer in a multiple offer situation? 

A: No. Although some listing agents and sellers will give buyers the opportunity to improve their offers, it is not guaranteed that buyers will be given a chance to do so. There are no rules or regulations that state that buyers are to be given such a chance when involved in a multiple offer situation.

 

Q #5: When do I have to provide the deposit when submitting an offer on a home in Toronto?

A: This all depends on how the offer is written. In most cases, you have 24 hours from the time that your offer is accepted to deliver the deposit to the listing brokerage. In some cases, the deposit is delivered in person with the offer and in other cases, the deposit may be delivered at a date later than 24 hours from the offer being accepted if all parties agree to such an arrangement.

Q #6: How much does my deposit have to be when buying a home in Toronto?

A: The typical minimum amount that sellers expect is 5% of the purchase price or more. As a buyer, you will also want to consider whether you will need to pay CMHC mortgage insurance in addition to your mortgage payments which is discussed in further detail in the answer to question #7 below. You will need to provide at least 20% down on a property if you would like to completely avoid paying mortgage insurance. When in a multiple offer situation, it is common for buyers to offer larger deposits that exceed 5% of their offer price in order to help their offer stand out from the other competing offers.

 

Q #7: What is mortgage insurance? 

A: If you want to buy a home without putting down at least 20%, you will be required to get mortgage insurance through CMHC. Such insurance allows you to get a mortgage of up to 95% of the purchase price (as of December 2021). In order to obtain mortgage insurance, you will need a minimum down payment. The amount depends on the final purchase price of the home and is broken down below:

  • If the purchase price is for $500,000 or less, you will need a minimum down payment of  at least 5%.
  • If the purchase price is over $500,000, you will need 5% down on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remainder.
  • If the home costs more than $1,000,000, mortgage insurance isn’t available.

Your mortgage insurance is typically added to your monthly mortgage payment. You can learn more about the cost of CMHC mortgage insurance HERE.

 

Q #8: What forms of payment are acceptable for a deposit when buying a home? 

A: Bank draft, certified cheque or wire transfer are the most common forms of payment. Payment is made out to the listing brokerage’s name. It is always recommended to include the wording “In Trust” after the brokerage’s name to clarify that the funds are to be held in the brokerage’s trust account.

 

Q #9: How much is land transfer tax in Toronto? 

A: Anyone that purchases real estate in Ontario is required to pay provincial land transfer tax on the purchase price of their new home. In addition to the provincial land transfer tax, anyone purchasing property in Toronto is required to pay both provincial and municipal land transfer tax. For example, if you are NOT a first-time buyer and you buy a home in Toronto for $1,000,000, the provincial land transfer tax would be $16,475 (as of December 2021) and the municipal land transfer tax would be $16,475 (as of December 2021) for a total of $32,950. As of December 2021, if you purchase property outside of Toronto, you are currently only required to pay provincial land transfer tax.  You can use TRREB’s land transfer tax calculator HERE to calculate how much land transfer tax you will need to pay on your purchase price. This calculator also applies first-time buyer credits to the calculation if you are a first-time buyer.

Q #10: When does land transfer tax need to be paid? 

A: “Ontario’s land transfer tax is payable when the transfer is registered. If the transfer is not registered within 30 days of closing, you must submit a Return on the Acquisition of a Beneficial Interest in Land form to the Ministry of Finance, along with the payment of tax within 30 days after the closing date.” (source: Ontario.ca)

 

Q #11: Can I add the land transfer tax to my monthly mortgage payments?

A: No, this is not an option. The land transfer tax is paid when the transfer is registered, typically on the closing date.

 

Q #12: What is the foreign buyer tax? 

A: “The Non‑Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) is a 15% tax on the purchase or acquisition of an interest in residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region (GGH) by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations (foreign entities) and taxable trustees.” (source: Ontario.ca)

 

Q #13: What is the average sale price in Toronto right now? 

A: As of October 31, 2021, the average sale price for Toronto and the GTA was $1,155,345. This average sale price was up 19.3% from $968,535 in October 2020.

 

Q #14: What is causing the drastic increases in home values in Toronto?

A: Toronto has been facing a supply and demand crisis for quite some time. There simply aren’t enough affordable homes to keep up with the amount of demand. The lack of supply and a growing population, as well as more properties being purchased as investment properties (which are typically held as long-term investments), has been fuelling the drastic growth.

 

Q #15: Should I stage my home before listing it for sale? 

A: This all depends on your current local market as well as the condition of your home. If your current market is considered a “seller’s market” (more demand than available supply) and your home is in overall good condition, clean and decluttered without any major repairs needed, you may not need to stage your home. If your home desperately needs some TLC and repairs, you may want to invest in completing the necessary repairs and staging your home. When listing in a “buyer’s market” (more supply than demand), you will likely want to invest in fixing as many repairs as you can financially afford as well as staging your home. A “buyer’s market” typically requires more work on the seller’s end in order to stand out from the competition. Your agent should be able to provide you with advice on what makes the most sense based on your home’s condition and your current local market. Most reputable agents will provide the service of staging your home when needed.

Q #16: When is the best time to sell my home in Toronto? 

A: Historically, Toronto’s real estate market has been pretty predictable as it tends to follow the local weather patterns. We tend to see more buyers looking to purchase homes in the spring, late summer and early fall. It is ideal to showcase your property when it looks its best, which usually isn’t during the winter months.

 

Q #17: Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage? 

A: Yes! It is definitely in your best interest to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Without knowing your limitations/maximum budget, you will likely waste a lot of valuable time looking at properties that you can’t actually afford. It is best to get pre-approved and to know your numbers so that you can make an offer quickly if needed. The last thing you want to do is find your dream property, then wait to get approved to then find out that your dream property is no longer available because someone else bought it while you were arranging your financing. You need to be prepared to make an offer at any time in Toronto’s current competitive market.

 

Q #18: Can the listing agent tell the buyer agents the price and details of the other offers in a multiple offer situation? 

A: No. The listing agent is strictly prohibited from sharing the list price or details of the competing offers. An agent sharing such information could lose their license if they do this and a complaint is filed with RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario).

 

Q #19: What are my options if my home doesn’t sell?

A: If your home doesn’t sell, you have several different options:

  • You can leave your home on the market at the current list price.
  • You can either reduce or increase the list price depending on your local market and which strategy makes the most sense depending on your original strategy (your agent will be able to provide you with guidance on this).
  • You can cancel the listing and try re-listing it at a later date.

 

Q #20: Am I required to install a “For Sale” sign in my lawn? 

A: No, you are not required to have a sign in your lawn. However, it is in your best interest to allow your agent to install a sign as it ensures that your property receives the maximum exposure it needs in order to sell for the highest price possible.

Q #21: What is a status certificate? 

A: The status certificate is a document that each condominium has which includes essential information relating to the financial status of a condo unit and building, the rules and bylaws, planned maintenance fee increases as well as any ongoing litigation or special assessments and more. It is highly recommended to arrange for a real estate lawyer to review the status certificate before submitting an offer on a condo. It is common for a listing agent to have a copy of the current status certificate available when listing a property below market value in order to make the offer process smoother should they receive multiple offers. This gives all of the buyers the opportunity to review the status certificate in detail before they submit an offer. A new status certificate is made available to owners and agents each month for a fee which is why it is essential that you review a current status certificate for the current month. If  your agent needs to order a status certificate, they can usually speak with the property manager to either request it through management or through a website such as condocafe.com.

 

Q #22: Should I buy or sell first? 

A: The answer to this question all depends on the market you are currently living in as well as the market you are looking to buy in. Depending on the current market conditions (amount of supply and demand, current interest rates, etc.), you may need to arrange bridge financing if you buy first and sell after. Keep in mind that there are risks to buying first should your local market conditions change and the amount of supply suddenly outweigh the amount of demand as you could get stuck with two homes. It is best to discuss your options with both your agent and your lender before making a decision on this.

 

Q #23: What is a “CMA”? 

A: CMA is short term for Comparative Market Analysis. This is a document that is typically provided to sellers by their listing agent when determining an appropriate list price for their home. This document typically includes details about other comparable homes that have recently sold within the local market, up to date real estate market stats as well as some calculations to determine an appropriate list price.

 

Q #24: What is a Buyer Representation Agreement (B.R.A) and am I required to sign it? 

A: A Buyer Representation Agreement is an agreement between the buyer, their agent and the agent’s brokerage. In general, by signing this agreement, a buyer is committing to using the agent and their brokerage for the purchase of their property and the agent and brokerage are committing to providing the buyer with service. You are not required to sign this form; however, some agents may refuse to work with you if you decline to sign it. There have been many cases of buyers using multiple agents at one time which has resulted in agents not being compensated for their time.

 

Q #25: How do I know how much my home is worth? 

A: Everyone wants to know how much their home is worth and many unfortunately make assumptions about this based on inaccurate online estimates which tend to be on the higher end compared to the true market value. It is always good to have a sense of how much your home may be worth in today’s current market so that you can be prepared to make a sudden move if needed and to know how much equity you have built up in your home. The best way to determine the value of your home and the amount of equity you have built is to receive a complimentary home evaluation from a reputable real estate agent. I would be more than happy to provide you with a no obligation, complimentary home evaluation if you are interested. Contact me below at any time to request your home evaluation; it’s 100% free with no strings attached.

 

Do you have any real estate questions that weren’t answered here?

If you do, feel free to contact me any time with your questions. I’m always here and happy to help.

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If the last year has taught us anything, it’s the 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. With so many meetings, gatherings and even family holidays turned into virtual events, we’ve missed out on the sights, the smells, the noise, and the handshakes and hugs. We’ve missed out on these experiences. Technology just can’t replace personal connection.

Similarly, in real estate, so much about a home has to do with the “experience.” The views, the impact of noise from a busy road, the neighbourhood, the smells – all have an effect on the way a house feels. This just doesn’t translate into data and algorithms. 𝗢𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝘆 𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗯𝗲 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟬% 𝗼𝗳𝗳, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲! which could cost you a lot of money should you decide to work off of the estimate provided.

For accurate information, you need an in-person valuation with someone who knows the local market. You need someone who will actually walk through your home with you, and take the time to understand what you love about your home, updates that you have done over the years, how your home compares to other recently sold homes in your area as well as other details that make it a wonderful place to live. Although technology has taken off over the last decade with video and 3D virtual tours, there is still no better way to get the true feeling of a home without seeing, smelling, and touching it in person. If you’re wondering what your home may be worth in today’s market, don’t hesitate to reach out, even if you are just thinking about making a move. I would love to give you all of the information you need to help you make an educated and smart decision that will help you get top dollar when you decide to sell.

 

 

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