A Toronto Real Estate Crash? Not Likely!

There was much worry after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty instated new mortgage rules that summer, that there was going to be a real estate crash throughout all of Canada – and that Toronto would be the area hardest hit. But take a look around the city. Speak to a few realtors and other professionals within the industry. They’ll tell you that the market’s definitely not crashing. Even if they can’t tell you exactly what’s happening.

The numbers are in from the Toronto Real Estate Board and it turns out that there was a 2.4 per cent increase in home sales in the GTA during the first half of January 2013 when compared with January of 2012. The selling price, the factor in which everyone predicted would plummet, also grew during that time period, by about 4 per cent.

But just because numbers are up, doesn’t mean that there’s a buying frenzy happening on the market. And it also doesn’t mean that there’s isn’t a frenzy going on. It’s this instability, and unreliability, that Toronto realtors are finding the hardest time dealing with. It’s simply becoming harder and harder to know what to tell their clients – whether they’re buying or selling.

One Toronto realtor gives the example of a home in the west end that had an asking price of $550,000. He advised his clients to review the offer they were submitting on the last night of reviews, but found out before they could even submit it that the home had been sold. And for much less than his clients would have been prepared to make – $580,000.

“I would have bought that house at that price and I’m not even in the market,” says Mr. Fleming. “My clients are crushed.”

They were prepared to offer anywhere from $610,000 and $620,000.

Mr. Fleming also speaks of a home in Moore Park that different clients were interested in, and that he never even had a chance to show them. That one sold for $2.375 million, which was $176,000 above what the owners were asking.

“Here I was telling [my client] that I didn’t think the property would move,” says Mr. Fleming.

But, he says, the confusion also comes over the fact that as much as properties are getting scooped up without giving people much of a chance, there are other properties that are shown very little interest, and that end up sitting on the market for weeks or even months.

“There are a million cookie-cutter condos out there that no one cares about,” he says.

And it’s no wonder why. With there being a known (and big) overstock of inventory on the condo market right now, buyers don’t need to get caught in a bidding war for one unit when there’s one just like it around the block, or even in the same building.

But the big question is whether or not Toronto’s market is going to start seeing some stability. With more buyers coming out of the woodwork, hoping that prices have finally gone down; and sellers trying not to lose too much money, while still being able to sell their home, at this point it doesn’t seem very likely that the market will return to a predictable level any time soon.