Due to Coronavirus / Covid-19 we’re social distancing and hope those of you who can are too! As of last week, we officially closed our office and the entire Pierre Carapetian Group team began working from home.
I’ve got a few extra hours on my hands and with that I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the current state of the Toronto Real Estate Market.
Although this is an unprecedented time in history, the Toronto market is still strong and we continue to see new listings released daily. Agents are working hard with each other and their sellers to ensure that safety precautions are being met for the health of both potential buyers and sellers alike.
We understand that everyone is nervous and on edge during this unprecedented and uncharted time in history. I’m taking the time today to write this article with the hope that I can provide some guidance and insight into our industry amidst Covid-19.
REAL ESTATE IS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE SO WE’RE TAKING NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS
TREB and OREA just released their recommendations to avoid all unnecessary face-to-face business. They have also recommended that our ongoing support of our clients is to help them close transactions that have already taken place and in absolutely essential cases only to find or sell properties for them.
Here are a few things that we’re doing differently amidst Covid-19 concerns.
- Our company is no longer hosting open-houses
- Property videos and virtual walk throughs have replaced both showings and open-houses in many cases.
- If you book a “necessary” showing with a member of my team, we’ll arrive separately and keep our distance while at the property.
- We added additional precautions during our client’s showings. All doors within the interior of the home will be left open and we’ll ask you don’t touch anything while viewing and to sanitize your hands upon arrival.
- We’re also recommending that landlords hold off on selling if their property is tenanted unless they absolutely MUST sell.
ADVICE FOR OUR TORONTO REAL ESTATE CLIENTS DURING COVID-19
When it comes to the Coronavirus and the Toronto real estate market, here is the advice we’re giving our clients and anybody who I speak with when they ask, “How has the Toronto real estate market been affected by the Coronavirus?”
STAY CALM AND THINK CRITICALLY, NOT EMOTIONALLY
First and foremost, it’s important stay calm. This is temporary and it won’t last forever. Although we don’t know how long this event will last, everything will eventually return to normal. It’s important to think critically and not emotionally as real estate is a long term investment and an asset that needs clear thought and not just a reaction to a situation.
BUYER DEMAND WILL CONTINUE TO BE GREATER THAN LISTING SUPPLY
Secondly, real estate is affected by other areas of the economy. Many people have decided to put discretionary plans on hold while they wait to see what happens or what length of time this issue will take to pass. What I can say is that we’ve experienced higher than average leads coming into our company in the past two weeks. This tells us that while people are at home they are researching real estate — that there is pent up demand. It is also reasonable to assume that once buyers move off the sidelines the market will head back into a strong position as buyer demand will continue to be much greater than Toronto’s listing supply.
CORONAVIRUS AND THE TORONTO REAL ESTATE MARKET: ADVICE FOR SELLERS
One of the most important things to keep in mind as a Toronto seller looking to sell during Covid-19 is to be realistic about your expectations. I have informed all my sellers that selling will take longer and that their sales cycle will be longer. It’s just something you’ll need to prepare for. I should also note that all open houses have been cancelled until further notice and many realtors have chosen not to host face-to-face showings with their clients. This means that it may take even longer to get the same number of people through your front door as it would have a few weeks ago.
It’s also extremely important to work with someone who is very experienced and who’s been through these types of cycles before so that they can guide you correctly. As an agent I help guide my clients in regards to how much longer selling may take and make sure that they allow enough time in their plans. This is especially important in cases where a client has already purchased so that they don’t end up in a position where they can’t close on that purchase. It is critical to stay calm and know what to expect when you are on the market. Don’t get flustered, panicked or overly nervous and do something you’ll regret later on. As an example last week we had a property go on market and nearly every agent called me to see if the client would just take any price regardless of what the property was worth. Both my client and I agreed to a plan before we listed. We wren’t going to just sell at any old price. These agents were hoping that because of the situation my client would want to just to release the property and get the sale over with. Of course I said absolutely not, my clients have been well educated, know the value of their property and want to stick to the plan we set forth. Let me also note that this doesn’t just apply to my clients, most homes are NOT selling below market value. Buyers may be pushing for a ‘deal’ admits Covid-19 uncertainties, however properties continue to be sold for what they would have prior to these concerns.
When it comes to listing your home, we always provide a virtual walk through tour. This has become especially handy for buyers in today’s climate. Check out an example of our virtual tour on our most recent listing at 20 Blue Jays Way here.
CORONAVIRUS AND THE TORONTO REAL ESTATE MARKET: ADVICE FOR BUYERS
We have observed that although the number of buyers has temporarily decreased, the supply of listings has remained. Assuming you are healthy yourself, now may just be an excellent time to take advantage of the lowered interest rates, decrease in bidding wars and an overall less competitive market.
We are however recommending that buyers avoid unnecessary face-to-face showings. Instead, take advantage of videos and virtual tour walk throughs. Many condos and homes are listed with videos or virtual tours which can give you a really good feel for what it’s like to walk through that listing. It’s also important to mention that my team and I understand that social distancing is a priority. When you’ve committed to working with a member of my team we’re happy to do what we can to make sure you don’t miss out on your dream home. We’ll go to a showing for you and personally walk through the property taking a video or face timing you.
PRE-CONSTRUCTION REAL ESTATE SALES DURING COVID-19
Very little has changed with Toronto pre-construction real estate sales. Many of these offices have gone completely virtual allowing you to purchase and sign paperwork without leaving your home. Pre-construction sales offices are also open by appointment only if you’d like to review their materials or the building’s 3D scale model. Should you decide to move forward with a pre-construction purchase, you are able to do so while still abiding by the recommended social distancing guidelines.
REAL ESTATE IS A STABLE LONG-TERM ASSET
Our market fundamentals are exceptionally strong. Before Covid-19 took hold of Ontario, we were in an inclining market with multiple offer scenarios on almost every property. As of today, we are still seeing multiple offers on many properties even though sales and the number of trades have obviously slowed. Looking at all price levels there are still sales happening in all areas of the market from $500K to $5M. Just yesterday there was a $5M home that sold in just three days.
I’ve said it before in previous blog posts but it’s worth mentioning again. Toronto — especially Downtown Toronto — real estate is a robust and stable investment. Real estate doesn’t react the same way the stock market reacts. While the stock market has seen great variability over the last few weeks the Toronto real estate market is still holding steady. In actuality it’s even inclining, just with less sales and at a slower rate.
History has shown us that any turmoil in the Toronto Real Estate Market will be temporary. If prices do take a momentary dip please remember that history has shown that it will be short-lived and that it only matters if you decide to sell your home. Once this has passed, I sincerely believe that the market will become increasingly more competitive as buyers begin to move off of the sidelines just like they had after the government’s fair housing guidelines were implemented in 2017. As a world-class city, Toronto’s real estate market will continue to grow and property will continue to remain a valuable asset.
In times of crisis the best investment is a steady, secure and robust asset — Toronto real estate.
Whatever you decide is best for you (and your family) we’re here to help in whatever capacity we can. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. You can email us as firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a text message at 416 736 7059 to setup a call.