The day after Thanksgiving, real estate agent Graham Connaughton was helping a young couple negotiate the purchase of a house in Toronto's west end.
The back and forth with the sellers was fairly leisurely because the buyers had no competition for the house. The couple are relieved, says Mr. Connaughton, because they had already lost out in three bidding competitions on properties. Their target neighbourhoods of High Park and the Kingsway have experienced a noticeable cooling, the agent says. "They're very happy not to be bidding up."
Mr. Connaughton, a broker with Sotheby's International Realty Canada, also noticed that appointments for showings at his downtown condo listings were a little light over the holiday weekend.
There's no doubt the slight chill that some agents were reporting in the Toronto real estate market last week was more pronounced over the weekend and into this week. Coolness encompasses the surrounding Greater Toronto Area as well, agents in those areas say.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported Wednesday that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, national home sales fell 1.4 per cent from August to September, although actual sales were up 10.6 per cent in September, year over year. The average sale price was up 5.9 per cent.
Also Wednesday, Teranet said its Teranet-National Bank composite house price index rose 0.3 per cent in September for the country as a whole and 0.7 per cent in Toronto.
Agents say sales were unusually hectic in the summer market. Without a summer pause, some buyers may be weary of competition. Add a slight uptick in listings in September and prospective buyers may be feeling less pressed.
"After you've bid on your second, third and fourth house and lost, you get a little bit of fatigue," says Mr. Connaughton.
Offer night for the laneway house I wrote about last week came and went without drawing the flurry of bididng the owners were expecting. They relisted the house at 25 Skey Lane with an asking price of $925,000 – up from $874,000 – and are now accepting offers any time. A stream of traffic moved through a second open house on the long weekend, the owner reports.
Mr. Connaughton says that rents in the luxury condo market, meanwhile, are edging up. Units in buildings such as Spire and the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton rent for $4,000 to $5,000 a month, Mr. Connaughton says, and they are going quickly.
While some people moving to Toronto for business are choosing to rent, he expects sales of high-end condos to remain strong.
As long as interest rates remain low, Mr. Connaughton adds, buyers will continue to circulate. "I think it still has a lot of legs, this market."