Pandemic effects waning amid strong fall market in GTA

by Corben Grant on 13 Oct 2021

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is reporting a busy fall market, as sales and average sale prices rose from August to September, although new listings declined.

While activity increased in September from a month earlier, sales decreased by 18% year-over-year. Davelle Morrison, a broker with Bosley Real Estate, is confident the market is healthy and considers last year’s statistics “a bit of an anomaly.”

“I feel that last august was really inflated because we’d just all come out of lockdown and people were making decisions to move simply because they were out of lockdown and they could. The results of last august are really an anomaly because of what we were going through at the time, so it's almost like you have to skip a year and look at what the results were back in 2019,” Morrison said.

With her knowledge of previous years’ activity, Morrison forecasts few surprises for the coming months, predicting a strong market for the remainder of the year.

“I feel like right now things are pretty stable,” Morrison said.“Fall is here and I don’t see anything really changing. Rates are still low, even if they bring them up by a quarter of a point. Our federal election is now over, so people don’t have that hanging in their heads, wondering what various governments are going to do. I would expect that next year the January, February, March markets will be similar to what it’s done in previous years.”

Also predicted to continue is demand for work from home spaces and the role it will play in buyers’ decisions.

“I think that's one of the biggest things that's changing the dynamic. As long as people are going to be working from home, they need more space, and this is the same reason that drove the market up last year,” Morrison said. We've got a lot of corporations who at first thought people were going to go back to the office in September, and they’re pushing that back to November or even February, which just exacerbates that need for home office space.”<.p>

Despite the growth in work-from-home positions, Morrison ponders the effects of a workforce returning to offices in the city and how this change could further drive the condo market. Condos were the only market segment that saw an increase over September 2020, with TRREB data indicating a 13% year-over-year increase in sales

“One of the things I wonder is that when some of those people that moved out of the city realize they actually have to work from the office, they may need to get a condo downtown so that they can actually work from the office, let’s say three or four days a week before they go out to the place they bought outside of Toronto. To me, that’s the next trend that I’m waiting to see because I feel like that was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to our lifestyle last year and our lifestyle is going to go back to where it was before.”

For current property owners considering selling this fall, Morrison offers a few pieces of advice.

“We’re not seeing the crazy prices that we were before, so I think that anybody who’s looking to sell right now just needs to temper their expectations in terms of the price that they hope to get. They will get market value but I don’t see them getting anything crazy above them at this point,” says Morrison

And despite a fall in listings, buyers may be gaining more leverage in the offers they tender. Even with tight demand, Morrison says buyers are more cautious than before.

“I will say that some of the offers we’re seeing now are conditional and that’s something new. Before we weren’t really entertaining conditions and now we have to. That’s definitely a change I’ve seen in the market.”

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