By Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
First Published: August 6, 2020 Re-post: April 28, 2021
Last summer, buyers would have been fatigued by the stressful process of making offers. Listings that hit the market in spring usually pile up a bit more by summer, she added.
But this year, that process has sped up, she said.
“Spring never came, and when June came… I could feel the difference in demand. The demand was just on fire,” said Ali.
That raises the question of how long the pent-up demand will fuel the market, Ali says.
“People are always waiting for a crash, and now people are waiting for a crash in fall,” Ali says. “(Unlike in June,) houses are not selling with 10 to 20 offers. . . . . August is historically slow, people want to enjoy the last few weeks of summer and look again after Labour Day.”
Morrison said that even among pessimists, she’s seeing a strong urge to move, with one client looking for a backyard in case schools close again in the future.
“People are saying, ‘We realized we won’t be able to travel for the next couple of years, we need a getaway that’s local,’” says Morrison.
But both Ali and Morrison noted that the market for detached houses is different from the condo or rental markets.
TRREB said low-rise homes, especially outside the downtown core, led the upward trend, with overall prices jumping most in Durham, Orangeville and South Simcoe county. The bulk of sales for July were detached homes (5,633 sold) and condo apartments (2,423 sold).
“Condo sales downtown are slower and there are so many factors. The obvious factor is Airbnbs, which have flooded the rental market as more of those investors chose a one-year rental rather than selling,” said Ali.
“A lot of people are saying they are done with condo living. There is no immigration and that was a huge driving force of urban living.”
Morrison also said landlords are having a harder time filling rental spaces amid a greater supply of condos for rent, alongside unemployment among tenants. While mortgage deferral programs will end in the autumn, Morrison said she’s not sure how many houses will hit the market as a result.
As prices rose again in July, TRREB said it supports housing affordability measures that increase the supply of housing.
The real estate board reiterated support for building more “missing middle” housing, such as low-rise apartments and townhouses, as well as a provincial push for transit-oriented communities.
On the other hand, the board did decry any policy suggestion that capital gains tax should be applied to the sale of a principal residence, saying a tax would not help bridge the wealth-creation gap between renters and owners.
“The long-term solution to housing affordability in Canada, for both ownership and rental, is to ensure that there are adequate and appropriate types and tenures of housing available in the market,” said TRREB chief executive John DiMichele.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020