Skip to main content

When a semi-detached house near Danforth Avenue in the east end sat on the market for three weeks, some first-time buyers likely hoped it was their chance to make an offer without competing against rival buyers.

Not so fast.

The house, with an asking price of $489,000, received two offers on the same day.

Story continues below advertisement

A similar story played out for a house in the tony Birchcliff neighbourhood. That house had an asking price of $989,000 and also attracted two potential buyers after two weeks on the market.

It's a very unpredictable market in Toronto right now, says real estate agent Irene Kaushansky of Keller Williams Advantage Realty, who represented the sellers in both deals.

"Some people think it's falling apart, which it isn't," she says of the market. "Some people think it's still moving at the same pace it was in the spring, which it isn't."

Setting a date to review offers is becoming increasingly less common during this chilly fall market.

Some sellers still want to establish a deadline in the hopes of sparking a bidding war – and sometimes it still works – but the strategy is risky.

Robert Hogue, senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada, says that the sales-to-new-listings ratio fell noticeably in Toronto to 0.48 in September from 0.54 per cent in August.

"The sharp drop in Toronto's ratio indicates that sellers' earlier grip on the market has slipped," Mr. Hogue says in a note to clients.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Kaushansky and her team had open houses at four listings last weekend.

Traffic was brisk but not overwhelming, she says.

In Mineola, a house with an asking price of $1.4-million attracted 12 groups. That's a good number for a house in that price range but back in the heady days of the spring it wasn't unusual to have 50 groups pass through on one afternoon.

She says she tries to educate sellers about the changing dynamics she is seeing.

"We make sure we tell them their offer date might come and you might not get any offers."

She adds that some potential buyers and their agents were weary of the practice of setting an unrealistically low asking price in the hopes of stirring up competition and were refusing to play along even before the market slowed in September.

Story continues below advertisement

But inviting offers at any time doesn't necessarily mean that contestants won't emerge, as the two examples in the east end indicate.

Sometimes sellers who are willing to review offers any time stipulate that the offer should be irrevocable for 24 or 48 hours.

That may allow the seller's agent time to drum up another offer or two.

Of course some potential buyers will refuse to play ball. They may make an offer that's good for only a few hours and therefore put the pressure on the seller.

Ms. Kaushansky hasn't seen that tactic yet this fall but it's more likely to happen the more confident buyers feel.

Tell us what you think: Are sellers losing their hold on the Toronto real estate market?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.