So it's time for a quick Tale From The Real Estate Trenches!
Here's what we're experiencing the downtown freehold and condominium markets.
First, without question there are a lot more listings of properties for sale in the Toronto Downtown Core. Although values remain stable Buyers have more opportunities to be discerning. The spring market continues to trend with more properties being offered across all segments of the market. According to Mark Mclean, our swell Bosley Manager of the Queen West office, 54% of all property sales are selling at or above asking price.
Mark also shared that, in the first-time market category (freehold homes and condominiums in the $400-700K range) there's been a 300% increase in new freehold listings and a 62% increase in condo listings. In the mid-market $700,000 to $1,500,000 market there's been an even larger 500% increase in new listings. This isn't unusual. There's always a surge of new listings right after Victoria Day.
Call it tradition. Sort of like Spain's 'Running Of the Bulls'.
The high-end market for Richie Richies spending over $3,000,000 continues to lumber along, with a near doubling of new freehold listings and a 30% increase of high-end luxury condos coming to market. While sales remain non-existent in re-sale condo market, Mark discovered only four properties in the central core of Toronto sold this week. Ouch!
The Sales figures for the downtown market indicate that it is relatively stable. The activity in the freehold market shows consistency with a slight tapering of trades, but condo sales are dropping. This doesn't surprise us in the least. Click HERE for an article ffrom the Business News Network which outlines how sales are down, but not in a dramatic 'woe are we' kind of way. And even though sales are down, prices are up. The lack of good product has kept the bidding war momentum in full swing, albeit mostly in the freehold housing sector.
From our perspective, we're finding our condominium buyers are being offered a greater selection and choice, but finding 'special' can still remain a challenge. If you're looking for a great space plan, a terrace and a pleasing vista in a dynamite location you may still have to be patient and wait for 'the one'. It also remains tough for our freehold housing buyers in the $500,000 to $900,000 range. If you're going for the best of the best locations in your budget, competition remains fierce. Although bidding wars generally don't have as many competitors as past seasons, it only takes two sets of Purchasers to create a bidding war, making it a crap shoot on how much to offer to secure the better properties. From our real estate trench, the demand for freehold housing in the original City of Toronto that is in at least 'move in but needing work' rather than 'must reno before occupancy' condition remains hard to find. The moment you're in a position to spend over $900,000 you have a much broader selection.
If we had to choose one word to describe the state of mind necessary when it comes to house-hunting in the City centre, it's "Patience".
That said, amidst the sea of bidding wars one of our Buyers serendipitously scored this month. A darling detached cottage came to market in Roncesvalles listed in the mid-700s. My clients, who were heading off to Spain, submitted a bully offer for nearly 6 percent over the list price to try take it off the market before they departed. The Seller kindly refused and let the offer expire, electing to wait until the Monday to receive offers. So our Buyers flew off to Spain leaving me to negotiate the purchase. Now, a bully offer by definition indicates a seriously strong condition-free bid which contains a sum substantially higher than the property's list price. So perhaps whether it was because the listing agent let everyone know our bully offer had been rejected, or that it remain registered for the review date, it spooked everyone else from submitting a bid on the offer date. And perhaps this comes as no surprise. After all, amidst the maelstrom of media stories proclaiming a 'housing bubble', would you go up against a Buyer who 'really really wanted the house' so much that they had submitted a bully offer? In this instance the answer was 'No' and, fortunately for our clients, we negotiated their purchase for $30,000 less than the sum of the bully offer which the Seller had originally rejected. Translation? One new 'chef's kitchen' coming up!
Did you read our Spring/Summer 2013 Forecasts? Click HERE for our Downtown Toronto Freehold Forecast, and click HERE for our Condo Summation. They showcase the reasons for our splintering marketplace, with some tips on how to navigate these changing times.
At urbaneer.com, we make it our mandate to remain informed and engaged in every facet of the downtown Toronto market. Representing both Buyers and Sellers in the Condominium and Freehold Housing markets in every price points, we know what's going on so we can steer you right.
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~ Steven and the urbaneer team