Many real estate agents are holding off on launching new listings onto the Toronto-area real estate market as mid-December approaches, but some agents rebel against the notion that buyers vanish during the holiday season.
Tam Boyko, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Solutions, had seven bidders vying for a house in Long Branch in the first week of December.
The three-bedroom detached house at 43 Thirtieth St. sold for $1,075,000, or $96,000 more than the asking price of $979,000.
“I know there were several others who decided not to enter the fray,” Ms. Boyko says of the potential buyers who circled the property. “Saying you are offering is not the same as actually registering an offer.”
There were not many comparable listings for sale at the time, Ms. Boyko says, and the open-house events were busy.
Elli Davis of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. chose the first week of December to list a condo unit in the financial district with an asking price of $2.15-million.
The two-bedroom unit is on the 39th floor of the St. Regis at 311 Bay St., which is the former Trump International Hotel and Tower. The residences and the attached luxury hotel took on a new appearance and marquee name after Donald Trump took office as President of the United States.
“It looks lovely. They’ve really done a good job with it,” Ms. Davis says of the transformation.
Ms. Davis adds the residences share the amenities of the St. Regis Hotel.
The 1,863-square-foot unit is listed with an asking price Ms. Davis calls “realistic” after the rebranding. U.S. president Donald Trump never owned the building, but his organization licensed the use of his name and operated the hotel.
Ms. Davis says the suite has high ceilings and a lovely view of the CN Tower and downtown.
Ms. Davis believes it’s smart for sellers to list during times when there are fewer competing properties.
“We’re not worried about the Christmas season,” she says of her listing strategy. "You never know – somebody might be in town for the holidays and looking for real estate. If it’s not there, they won’t see it.”
In fact, Ms. Davis would prefer to have more listings at the moment.
She describes the mood of buyers these days as careful and realistic – yet keen to buy.
“I have a lot of buyers looking for things I can’t find.”
In many cases, what they’re looking for is a condo unit with between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet of living space.
Those buyers – who are often empty-nesters looking to downsize – are guarded against overpaying.
“I think you have to caution sellers not to be too aggressive in their pricing,” Ms. Davis says. “At this time of year, most agents are sold out of good listings and looking for good things to sell.”
Sales in the Greater Toronto Area in November rose 14.2 per cent from the same month last year, according to the latest data from the Toronto Real Estate Board. New listings, meanwhile, dropped 17.9 per cent last month compared with November, 2018. Active listings shrank 27.2 per cent in November compared with the same month last year. That lack of inventory put upward pressure on the average price, which ended November at $843,637. That marks a 7.1-per-cent increase from November, 2018.
“Strong population growth in the GTA – coupled with declining negotiated mortgage rates – resulted in sales accounting for a greater share of listings in November and throughout the second half of 2019,” Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) chief market analyst, said in a statement. “Increased competition between buyers has resulted in an acceleration in price growth. Expect the rate of price growth to increase further if we see no relief on the listings supply front.”
The price of a detached house rose 4.3 per cent in the 905 area code and 4.9 per cent in the core 416 area code last month compared with the same month last year, according to TREB. The average price of a condo unit jumped 12.2 per cent in the 905 and 11.1 per cent in the 416 in the same period.
Last week the Bank of Canada left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at its most recent policy-setting meeting.
Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, believes policy makers at the Bank of Canada will remain focused on the resurgent housing market. Mr. Brown says signals from the central bank suggest it has little intention of cutting interest rates.
Mr. Brown points out that central bank Governor Stephen Poloz, who plans to step down from that role when his term expires in June, 2020, has repeatedly argued that financial stability risks will worsen if the bank loosens policy in the face of Canada’s strengthening housing market.
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