Fall real estate market in Toronto area off to slow start as homeowners seem hesitant to sell

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The rush of new listings that usually signals the start of the declining real estate market in the Toronto area is behind schedule this year.

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Agents say homeowners are hesitant to list their properties for sale, and potential buyers looking for new supplies are not seeing the influx they were expecting.

A week after Labor Day, Christopher Bibby, broker of Ray/Max Hallmark Bibby Group Realty, sold a downtown condo unit that was listed for 45 days. The unit, with an asking price in the $1.5 million range, is located in a luxury building in the King Street West neighborhood.

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Mr Bibby says the deal could indicate that buyers may be willing to take a re-look at properties that weren’t taken over before the long weekend.

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In Oakville, Ont., the second Monday in September was surprisingly quiet, says broker Adrienne Lake of International Realty Canada at Sotheby’s.

“The sales I was hoping for in September weren’t as great as I had imagined,” she says.

An agent in his office has been working with a foreign buyer with a budget of more than $5 million for about 18 months. The agent has been sending listings online, but when the client was finally able to visit Oakville after travel restrictions were eased, the agent wasn’t able to line up any suitable properties to show her, Ms. Lake says.

Below the $1 million mark, competition remains fierce, says Ms. Lake.

Ms. Lake points to a detached home listed in Grimsby, Ont., priced at $777,838 that sold for $825,000.

She says the agent had set a date for the proposals to be reviewed, but a buyer pre-empted that process with an offer after only a few days.

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One reason for the slow start is that homeowners who are considering a move are reluctant to list the next property before they line up, Ms. Lake says.

“Sellers who want to put their home on the market are nervous about where they’re going next. We still see this as a big, big problem.”

She says some homeowners will be waiting to see the election results before listing. She recalls past years when the market was too quiet to vote in the United States or Canada.

“I think people are nervous,” she says. “People hold their breath just before the election.”

Ms. Lake says sellers that list in the fall are usually motivated by typical life changes: parents needing more space when they have another child or less when older kids move out on their own. want to do. An estate sale occurs when an elderly relative dies.

“It always comes back to what the family needs.”

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Ms. Lake still expects the declining market to accelerate: She knows of some potential sellers who are doing the preparation work to prepare their properties for buyers. He believes that many are lagging behind as they wanted to take a breather during the summer after a long period of lockdown.

Ms. Lake says some sellers who have homes worth $3 million or more in the market have stayed for prices that the market won’t tolerate.

Buyers submit offers, she says, but some irresistible sellers turn them all down.

Of the sellers’ ambitions, she says, “the offers are all very similar, indicating they’re a bit pie-in-the-sky.”

In Toronto, Mr. Bibby predicted that a declining market could be concentrated in a matter of weeks this year.

They have received queries from some buyers and sellers who have returned from their summer stay afresh.

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“Their transactions are a priority while things are manageable,” says Mr. Bibby.

One segment that has affected the listing trend the most is small condo apartments. He says there has been a dramatic jump in listings recently, as some investors sell their one-bedroom units of less than 1,000 square feet.

He says several condo projects in the city have been completed recently. Some investors are motivated to sell because of pre-construction units purchased a few years ago.

Some potential sellers are asking Mr. Bibby if he recommends listing now or holding off until the spring market. Between the pandemic, next week’s federal election, and unpredictable financial markets, he can’t make a solid prediction.

“I don’t think anyone can answer the question responsibly,” he says, pointing to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the election and the strength of the economy.

While many are hopeful that the COVID-19 cases will remain under control, he says, some buyers and sellers are still wary.

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Against that background, according to Mr. Bibby, homeowners don’t want their homes on the market at the end of the year. For this reason, he expects a condensed declining market.

“I’m realizing that no one wants to list or search in November, December, and January unless they absolutely have to,” he says. “We will see a lot of activity in these next two months and we will not see an active winter.”

Robert Hogg, senior economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, says a calming tone is settling in the housing market across the country.

They say tight supply and strong demand are keeping the prices higher, but the rise in prices is slow.

He is predicting that the trend will continue in major markets, with limited supply maintaining strong protection against any major price drops.

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