To the surprise of absolutely nobody paying attention to Canada’s real estate market, the Toronto Real Estate Board announced this month that 2016 was a record year for home sales in the city. As that’s following a record-breaking 2015, the question now is: can such robust growth be sustained heading forward?
The nation’s largest city is already out of the price range of many buyers, particularly those hoping to make their first step onto the property ladder. The cost of buying in Toronto isn’t deterring everyone though, far from it in fact. December, when sales usually start to die down for the winter, saw housing sales of 5,338 – an 8.6% increase from the same month in 2015.
Why 2017 Will Be a Great Year to Sell
That brought the yearly total to 113,133 home sales for the city, with the strongest growth in condominium apartments, according to data from the TREB.
While this hyper inflation may trouble many of the mandarins in Ottawa, it is good news for anyone planning on selling a home anytime in the near future. Anyone that purchased a condo as a starter home at the beginning of this decade may now want to trade up. In doing so, they likely will make a healthy profit on their investment, which of course will be needed if they plan on purchasing a freehold property anywhere in the GTA.
Staging is Key
Doug Vukasovic, a sales agent with Zoocasa, explains that while there are no shortage of buyers out there, those that intend to make a quick sale need to have their property looking ship shape.
“It’s a seller’s market right now, so really it is an advantage to be selling,” he says. “People are literally listing their property and seven days later they already have an offer. But if you are selling your home, staging is critical. Properties that are staged sell faster. It helps people to visualize how a property will look, although the winter makes staging more difficult.”
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Market a Winter Special
Canada’s famous climate does make selling a home that bit trickier when there’s snow on the ground, so lowering your asking price to make a quick sale may be required. The months of January and February are traditionally when those in search of a bargain, or as much of a bargain as can be found in Toronto, will hope to avoid the bidding wars commonplace in the warmer months.
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“If you are brave enough to go out in the cold weather, there might be an opportunity to pick up a deal versus waiting until the spring time,” says Vukasovic. “There is going to be a lot more buyers and a lot more competition then. It is better for sellers to sell in the spring. There will be more buyers out there and more interest in your property.”
Appeal to New Types of Buyers
As for the types of properties that are selling well currently? It’s clear that in the Toronto market, the cost of freehold properties eliminate a large swath of buyers, leaving condos and townhouses as the only viable option.
“It is much more difficult to buy a house now, so more people are buying condos that in the past may have jumped straight into the freehold market” he says. “Many people that have children are buying a two-bedroom condo as they are much more affordable.”
Price According to Market Trends
That increased demand shows no sign of abating anytime soon, so expect to see the city’s condo boom continue for some time yet. It is basic supply and demand, so anyone hoping to sell a condo in the near future will likely have little problem finding interested parties.
“There is no land left really, so the only developments are when you are tearing down one property and building another,” adds Vukasovic. “I think developments have slowed down versus previous years, and there is a lack of supply in the condo market. If you look at how the skyline has changed over the past five years, you can see how most of the land has already been taken up in the city.”