Waiting for the Hot Spring Market? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The Toronto real estate market is a challenging one to hang around in too long. Typically right about now, we’d be heading into the fast-paced busy spring market, which begins in February. But last month Toronto’s sales numbers were down by 15 per cent when compared with last February. And aside from some areas of the city that are seeing bidding wars, things continue to look grim for the most part.

Part of that is because, while sales continued to drop, Toronto home prices continued to edge up 2 per cent when compared with February of 2012. Some buyers are continuing to sit on the sidelines while some sellers are taking their homes off the market if they can’t find buyers willing to match their asking price. Things seem, in many places, to be at a stalemate.

But while this may cause some to panic. David Madani of Capital Economics says that this happened in Vancouver too, before sellers were forced to start dropping their prices. He says it will happen in Toronto too, it will simply depend on how long both buyers and sellers are content to hold out for.

In the meantime Brian Elder, an agent in the city, has some tips for buyers trying to make their way in the market.

“I don’t think anyone should be thinking short-term in this kind of market,” he says.

And he may have a point. Interest rates are bound to rise next year, and that will slow the market even further, and make it even tougher for buyers to afford a mortgage. There will be fewer buyers on the market and so, it will be even harder at that time to sell your home.

He also says that while bidding wars may not be as common as they were in the fall, they are still present – especially on new modern homes that are move-in ready and come with all the amenities such as new appliances. Buyers that want to get the best deal, he says, will look at homes that need a bit of renovation done to them.

Then, “in the end, you’ve got the flashy one,” he says. Plus, one that’s exactly the way you like it!

Mr. Elder also says that the market you’ll deal with will greatly depend on the type of home you seek.

“We’ve definitely got two very different markets right now,” he says, referring to the fact that condos and detached single homes have wide price gaps between them; and that single detached are much more desirable than condos right now.