Market Notes: How has the Toronto real estate market held up?

How has the Toronto real estate market held up? 

The market has held up well so far and there have been a decent number of quality listings this week. In my newsletter today, I feature one example of a property I wouldn’t expect to be listed right now. It is my ‘Unique Home of the Week’ (newsletter subscribers only) and if you are familiar with Crawford Street, you may recognize it.

It is the height of the pandemic and the owner of 387 Crawford Street has decided to list their house today (on a Friday), substantially underprice it, and not accept offers for an extended period of 12 days. While a bit unusual, this strategy is indicative of the times. For what is sure to be an in-demand property, the seller wants to get it on the market asap, have the price attract as many people as possible, and give everyone a long time to get in to view it. They are also entertaining pre-emptive offers, of which I expect this house will receive.

Moving forward, a seller’s willingness to entertain a pre-emptive offer is something we will see more of, especially as more inventory comes on the market. Many buyers and sellers have put their plans on pause and active listings have been receiving fewer offers on offer night. By accepting a pre-emptive offer or a bully offer as it is known, the seller skirts some risk of buyers not wanting to compete in this environment for fear of not knowing what may happen next. The hope is that the first few people to view the property, who are usually the most motivated, will submit an aggressive offer immediately. 

Right now, sellers who have the flexibility to move out during showings or are unconcerned with the virus, are trying to get ahead of the market. This is bringing much-needed new inventory. Looking at MLS it may seem like there is a lot for sale, but very few are investable properties. Many listings are overpriced or simply undesirable. The demand for homes best suited for re-development has dried up, while thus far sales of single-family and multi-family homes have stayed relatively strong considering the volatility in the stock market.

In terms of logistics for selling, buying or viewing a property, much has changed. To give you an idea, here are the instructions I received while viewing a house with a client this week. I also received other instructions similar to this:

 

Thank you for scheduling a showing. The health and welfare of our clients and community is our priority as such we are taking additional precautionary measures: 1. Please confirm that no one attending the showing (i.e. your clients, you) have recently travelled outside of Canada (including the US) or been in close contact with someone who has travelled to China, Italy, Iran or Spain. 2. Please confirm you have NOT had any of the following: Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing in the last 14 days. 3. Please confirm you have NOT come in close contact with anyone with a confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days. 4. Please limit touching as much as possible. We have asked our sellers/landlords/tenants to leave interior doors open and lights on and ask you to leave them as they are. 5. Please do not use the washroom facilities during your viewing. 6. We ask that showings be limited to only the buyers themselves and are discouraging additional family members, children accompanying showings. 7. Please practice good hand washing or sanitize your hands prior to entering the home and touching the lockbox.

In addition, some condos downtown have enacted policies to prevent showings during this health crisis. 

I hope everyone is staying safe. If you need any help or assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Take care.

-NH

Nick Horton, salesperson.