It's been the perfect autumn weekend where the sun kissed our faces, the smoke from wood-burning chimneys licked our noses and the deciduous leaves exploded into a riot of colour before our eyes!
And, being our Thanksgiving long weekend (every second weekend of October is designated as a Holiday in Canada), most Canucks feasted - and expressed gratitude - for all we have sowed and harvested this past year. Surrounded by those we cherish and love, the holiday offers a time to toast our glasses in thanks, recognize the seasons are changing, and acknowledge that it is time that we collectively prepare for the harsh onslaught of winter.
Just as squirrels collect nuts and black bears gorge in preparation for a winter's hibernation, we Canucks intuitively feel the urge to secure shelter before the snow falls and temperatures freeze. While the general population may have embraced the long weekend to unplug, it was business as usual for Toronto real estate. Our weekend Open Houses were still swarmed by Buyers in their quest to find 'the one', and property viewing appointments remained consistent, except for today when most companies were closed for the Statutory Holiday. With this 24 hour hiatus, Buyers could still honour the harvest tradition of feasting with families and friends and, for the clever, use it as an opportunity to channel their frustration and woes with the Toronto real estate market to a captive audience while hitting up their parents for a larger down payment.
The frustration with the Toronto real estate market isn't new. With property prices climbing for the past 18 years (except for a flat line in 2008), Buyers have long reconciled the value matrix of location, space and dwelling type against their own limitations of affordability. But over this time period it's also become more complex, and frenetic. Two significant reasons are the ways by which information is shared, and the speed by which property is traded. Want to understand more on why the market is so hot? Here's our Dear urbaneer posts: Why Is The Toronto Real Estate Market So Hot? and What’s Behind This Crazy Toronto Real Estate Market? to offer you more insights.
Here in the real estate trenches, two sets of my Buyers and I had to swallow some bitter pills this past week, when two bidding wars rendered us losers in the competition to win the deals.
One property - a vintage 'sufficiently updated but still ready to be renovated' 2.5 storey semi in Roncesvalles Village - spiked 15 percent over its aggressive list price to land north of $1.1m. My Buyers - a fresh faced totally adorbs couple making their first attempt to secure property - got slaughtered against 6 others despite their still bidding 62k over ask - leaving us questioning whether they could ever gain entry into this coveted location. As he observed in our follow up correspondence the day after the fall out, a house a few blocks away which was of equal size but completely renovated that sold in July commanded only 15k more back then with a bully offer. In the span of 10 weeks this direct comparable suggests values have just climbed $150,000 in that many weeks, which is disheartening for any Buyer at best.
My other buyers - a stylish couple who have seriously busy lives - also shed tears, when their first attempt to secure a glitzy showcase of a dwell in Leslieville failed when their condition-free offer - one of three - was just $3000 less than the winning bid. That's basically 0.3 percent shy of securing a new home which is - to say the least - painfully guttering.
But here's a truth I've experienced countless times over my 25 year career: for all the years this has happened in a climate when the demand for Toronto real estate has outstripped supply - and losing the bidding war - especially on one's first attempt - is not uncommon, each Buyer I've guided has ultimately secured 'the one'. So while I feel my Buyers' pain, I intuitively know the universe will set it right, which is what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
Have you read our newsletter called The Real Estate Seasons? It share our insights into how the 4 Canadian seasons influence the psyche of real estate.
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