We the world … are over two months into a global pandemic fighting a virus which knows no borders, knows no distinction between young and old, rich or poor, black or white. We’ve been self-isolating, home schooling, socially distancing, masking up and zooming like never before. We’ve discovered creative ways to connect and have done our best to spread joy and positivity to those around us whether virtually or safely in person.
My most important tools through all of this have been to try to live life one day at a time, to practice gratitude, to eat well, sleep well, exercise and connect virtually to my friends, clients and colleagues as much as possible. Easier said than done right?
I’ve spent a lot of time zooming with colleagues from here and around the world talking about the market, reviewing stats and trends and learning new ways to transact as we serve our clients. It’s been exciting in so many ways but is definitely a huge growth curve in terms of learning so many new technologies to assist my clients.
While no one truly knows the depth and full impact on the Toronto real estate market caused by the virus we do know that things are changing and will continue to change as the economy starts opening up.
Going Forward – Key Points You Need To Know
Early Part of 2020 – we were on track to have an extremely busy and active year, possibly one of the best years ever.
Pandemic Announcement – since mid March buyers and sellers have stepped to the sidelines as evidenced by the drastic reduction in the number of sales and new listings.
Strict Covid protocols – “live” in person open houses have been banned by the provincial government and strict Covid protocols are in place to screen buyers and 3rd party operators such as home inspectors, photographers, and appraisers.
Technology – 3D property videos, Facebook/Instagram “live” open houses, virtual staging and renovation, zoom meetings with clients, agents, and lawyers have become the new normal and agents who employ these advanced technologies will deliver success to home sellers and buyers. Creativity rules!
Details, details and more details – a much higher level of expertise will be required in order to navigate this new normal as buyers will demand more information prior to visiting a home. Sellers will demand more from their listing broker in terms of cutting edge technologies, virtual open houses, social media campaigns etc. The ante has been upped.
The housing market will be a driver of the economy -as it was in 2008/2009 and even after the Great Depression. Rumour has it that the Ontario Real Estate Association is pushing the provincial government to offer an incentive to buyers in terms of a reduction or temporary elimination of the Land Transfer Tax.
The basic economic principal of supply and demand -will prevail as interest rates remain at rock bottom lows.
End user buyers will benefit – as long as they have secure employment, buy with the intent to stay in their homes and build equity. Investors and speculators will not benefit. The days of flipping are over for now.
The market will return – to a new “normalized” state as people adjust and on the short term there will be a lot of pent up demand to purchase. Qualified buyers are out there and we’re already seeing a growing increase in the number of sales week over week. Sales have increased exponentially as states such as Texas and Colorado have opened up their economies.
The market will change week by week – there will be mini-markets and some multiple offer scenarios within the city i.e. specific areas, types of properties, price point etc.
There will be more rental properties – available as AirBnB unit owners seek to find long term tenants. Rental prices may decrease.
Toronto and area will be remain highly desirable – as evidenced by the number of expats who have returned to Canada prior to the borders being closed. Many Canadians living in Hong Kong are looking to repatriate. There is a large number of immigration applications in process from around the world. Our conservative handling of the Covid crisis has been noted, our dollar is low and our health care system is stable.
2020 will be a zig zag, up and down year – in terms of activity as a second wave of infections is highly likely
On the short term – home values will remain stable and even though we’ve seen a drop in sales, it doesn’t mean there will be a severe drop in prices. It’s always about the relationship between sales to listings which right now are in balance.
The true economic impact – will be seen in 2021. The real estate market won’t fall apart but there might be a softening of prices (likely 5-10%)
There is an end game – vaccines against this ravaging virus are being developed and tested throughout the world. It’s just a matter of time.
I’m doing many zoom meetings online with sellers and buyers to help them make decisions and move them forward to the future. But if you’re experiencing zoom burnout (see below!) or can’t bare to look at your grown out hair (I’m with you!) don’t hesitate to text, call or even email me for some sound advice or just to say hi. I’d love to catch up!
Most of all please stay healthy both physically and emotionally. It’s been a challenging year for all of us but remember you’re not alone. We’re in this together and we will get through it.