In the world of Toronto real estate, the precautionary measures taken in mid-March 2020 in response to COVID-19 effectively froze our property market. However, as June progressed ten weeks into lockdown, an unanticipated thaw occurred bringing a flurry of bully offers and bidding wars for downtown freehold housing in all price points. This duplicated the momentum we typically experience during the Spring real estate market which, in Toronto, runs from January through till May. In other words, by freezing the market during the lockdown, pent-up demand for freehold houses continued to build such that prices started escalating at a substantial pace. This is our current situation, as I type.
This is in contrast to the condominium market, in particular areas where there are concentrations of high-density high-rise towers. One reason is that once Airbnb was restricted due to COVID-19, and the City of Toronto's imminent policy change for Airbnb's, (read So Why Are There New Airbnb Regulations For Toronto?), we witnessed a flood of furnished rentals come to market for rent and for sale. For example, to give you a sense of the numbers, at the time of this writing there are 2536 apartments available for rent at, or under, $2500 a month currently listed in MLS District C01 (Yonge to Dufferin, Lake Ontario to Bloor). This is dramatically higher than we've seen for years in a city which has long lacked a supply of 'affordable housing'.
Because residents are at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 in high-density housing - purely because there are more common areas like lobbies and hallways plus confined spaces like elevator cabs - the demand for condominiums has waned somewhat. Essentially, the smaller the space, the less demand exists for the product, mostly because the first-time buyers and small scale Mom and Pop investors who are the typical target market for these properties have withdrawn from actively pursuing real estate right now. There is more demand for two bed and larger condominiums, fueled by those looking to purchase more square footage (presuming they can sell their one-bedroom condo at this time) but who can't afford the price of entry for a freehold dwelling (which is usually over $1mil for something habitable). Typically these buyers are seeking a stacked townhouse where they have their own front door or a smaller, more boutique-like building that has fewer units, thus diminishing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Moreover, I'm finding that most buyers are seeking a large balcony, patio, or roof terrace. After all, outdoor space is a hot commodity now that public parks pose some risk given the virus.
When our clients contacted us to sell their 2bed 2bath suite in the boutique Art Condos near Queen & Dovercourt (in MLS District C01), we encouraged them to vacate promptly and let us proceed with our List Low Holdback Strategy in an effort to attract multiple buyers to compete for the suite, while we rolled out our Urbaneer Marketing System - and - Social Media Program. At the time there were over 270 2bed 2bath suites listed for sale up to $1million in this one MLS District. In other words, it was critical to make this listing stand out in the sea of listings offered for sale.
Coming to market just after Canada Day, Toronto, unfortunately, got slammed with a heatwave of particularly humid weather which stalled the real estate market. Essentially, only the most serious of Buyers were viewing properties for sale, so it was critical we ensured our pricing strategy and marketing program were on point. We can assure you, selling real estate amidst a heatwave during a global pandemic is definitely a challenge!
Here's how we did it.
When you enlist the services of my team in the marketing and sale of your Toronto property, in addition to custom-crafting a visually-arresting online and print sales prospectus that shines the spotlight on your home, we create engaging original content that celebrates the popular local everyday amenities beloved by your community.
We find promoting the day-to-day village life that a potential new owner will enjoy once the pandemic has passed - highlighting top restaurants, nearby green spaces, recreation opportunities, and engaging cultural amenities - particularly effective in increasing the interest in the property itself. After all, any house hunter will tell you that finding a home that is 'the one' has as much to do with where it is as with what it is. That’s because your life extends far beyond those four walls, into the community that surrounds them.
Take, for example, The Perfect Canvas At Art Condos Near West Queen West we brought to market for $749,000. Offered for sale using the List Low Holdback Strategy, we spent seven days promoting the heck out of this stylish property to its target market, rolling out several pieces of engaging urban lifestyle content:
Every one of the blogs above ends with a call to action to view our Art Condo listing, and each was promoted through our various social media platforms.
In fact, our listing on Urbaneer.com - The Perfect Canvas At Art Condos Near West Queen West - received almost twice the number of visits than the MLS-populated listing on Realtor.ca!
Every realtor who showed the property received a digital promotions package which included all our Amenity Content promoting the area, in addition to the Sale Prospectus. This helped convert potential Buyers into active Bidders.
Listed for $749,000, our Sellers received three competitive offers, and accepted a condition-free cash-offer for $827,000 on the offer date, accompanied by a $200,000 bank draft as a gesture of financial solidity and good faith.
Ensuring a quick and profitable sale is all about understanding the market's layers and momentum as it relates to your own specific property segment. Whether you are buying or selling, this market requires a well-thought-out strategy derived from data, comprehension, and historical knowledge gleaned from decades of experience.
Want to learn more? These two blogs share our approach and strategy to marketing, including Social Media:
Psssst, it works.
Toronto is a city where intricate patchworks of distinct real estate weave together to form a wide variety of housing options and dynamic neighbourhood pockets with their own unique character and vibe! Not sure where you fit in? Here's a blog you might like: Finding Your Quadrant In The City Of Toronto. And poke through our Neighbourhood Pages featuring flavour videos, city census data on the area, amenity blogs, and past listing!!
Thank you for reading!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
- we're here to earn your trust, then your business -
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*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve's Student Mentorship site called Houseporn.ca which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, product and real estate in Canada!