It is the end of January 2021 when I write this. I’m asked a lot by my clients, “So, where are we at with the current pandemic real estate market in the GTA?” Well, at the time of writing this we are still in “lockdown 2.0” as the numbers are still too high with those infected by COVID-19. We have an expected end date of September 2021 when most, if not all, should have the vaccine (*fingers crossed*). The conversations I’ve had with other realtors has been that once the herd is immunized the borders should reopen and the expected yearly influx of 125,000 new immigrants to the City of Toronto should ramp up our first-time home buyer market as we usually experience.
However, at this current time, we are experiencing quite the opposite. There has been a bit of an exodus from the city, with most people not having to live downtown to go to their offices. Those buyers have left to find more space, and in particular, land. All of those condos have hit the market. The AirBnB owners aren't allowed to make money and no one is coming to the city at this time to see the Raptors or go to a concert on a weekend, so they too have hit the market as well. Inventory is way up and demand is way down.
Most of my business over the last year has been small families who spent the first winter lockdown living on top of their partner, dog and kid in a 600-700 square foot, 1 bedroom plus a den condo. Their experience has led them to flee out of the city or to a larger freehold home with a back yard in Toronto.
Prices have been going steadily up in the freehold market despite the pandemic.
Last week I helped some clients of mine make an offer on a fixer upper in North High Park (Toronto). There were 6 offers and we offered $200,000 over the list price, which we thought was an amazing price for this home. Turns out someone thought $400,000 over the list was the amazing price to offer. That was a $2,000,000 renovation project that someone just bought.
On the flip side, last week I helped a young lady buy her first condo. It was located by the lake at Parklawn (again, Toronto). We bought this beautiful unit, without any competition, for a price that had not been seen for over two years in this particular complex. We got it for $520,000 when less than a year ago they were selling for over $600,000.
Right now, in the condo market, inventory is up, and the demand is down.
But over in the freehold market, inventory is down, and demand is up.
I know what you are thinking. “Ted, what does this all mean for me, a retired Baby Boomer thinking about moving out of my family home in the not-so-distant future?”
Here’s my advice: If you are wanting to find the right time to cash in on the big family home and downsize to the next stage of your life, this might be the most opportunistic time we have to do so. The window, in my opinion, will close once the snow melts in 2021.