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Now is Not the Time for Toronto Sellers to Panic

23 October 2012

It’s not hard just to secure a Toronto mortgage these days; it’s also difficult to try and get rid of one by selling your home. It’s true.  Right now, things could look pretty grim if you look at them too closely. Toronto home sales have dropped while new listings have gone up, leading many to think that the housing market in Toronto is still set for a serious crash. But just as buyers in Toronto have had to be reminded for the past year and a half that now is not the time to panic, it’s now time for sellers to be given the same pep talk.

First, a look at some hard facts to make sure that everyone’s still dealing with the Toronto housing market in its current state. A word of warning, these stats can seem grim at first glance.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Toronto sales dropped by about 21 per cent last month when compared with September of last year. And things don’t look much better for October either. So far for the first half of this month, the Toronto Real Estate Board is showing that Toronto sales are down by 10.5 per cent when compared with the same time last year. And still, new listings were up 5.5 per cent.

The situation in today’s Toronto housing market has caused a real problem for sellers.

“I thought for sure [one property] would go in multiples,” says Chander Chaddah, Toronto real estate agent. “We got one offer.”

This just when the day before, a home on the same street as the one Mr. Chaddah was talking about had gone for just about its asking price. It also had one offer.

It’s a sign, says Mr. Chaddah, of what’s to be expected for the next several months to come. People are buying, and there’s definitely still activity, but it’s also inarguable that the activity has slowed. And that sellers all around the city are feeling the cooldown.

So why then, is now not the time to panic? Especially if your’e a property owner in Toronto trying to sell?

Because there’s a whole group that’s been overlooked in the Toronto housing market ever since the new mortgage rules went into place. That’s those buyers that have been interested in buying, but have been waiting for the market to slow done some before they do. Four months ago, many potential buyers already saw the cooldown coming; and knew that if they were willing to hold out just a few more months, their time would come.

That time isn’t just yet, but it’s closer on the horizon than it ever has been before.

“The trick is to have the confidence to jump back in and be a contrarian,” says Mr. Chaddah. But he also says so far, “They’re still on hiatus.”

Yes, right now they are. But while it’s been easy to be a contrarian over the past year or so – saying that the market’s going to crash in the midst of the buying frenzy – it’s near time for those buyers to really step up – and they most likely will.

Prices still need to come down a bit before the patient buyers and savers start making a significant difference on the market. But there have been many that have been biding their time, and for them we should all be very thankful. For they’re the reason we need not panic now.

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