The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the steam entirely out of Toronto’s housing market, with home sales falling by 76 per cent in the week ending April 5, new data shows.
The impact of the pandemic on the housing market appears to be on the same scale as its impact on airlines. Airline capacity in Canada has declined by 65 per cent in recent weeks, according to a report at the Hill Times.
In terms of home sales, “it is certainly the biggest drop we have ever seen in Toronto,” said Doug Vukasovic, a prominent Toronto real estate agent who released the data in an email to media Tuesday.
Watch: What’s happening to Canadian housing in the pandemic? Story continues below.
“Based on the trajectory over the last couple (weeks) we will likely continue to see a downward trend in pricing during COVID-19. How far things will drop is hard to tell at this point. There is a high level of uncertainty across most sectors,” Vukasovic wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada.
There were 107 condo sales in Toronto in the week ending April 5, down 80 per cent from the same week a year ago, the sales data shows. Detached homes declined by 69 per cent, also coming in at a total of 107 sales.
Price trends tend to lag home sales trends, but this time, prices are already under pressure. The average detached home fell 9 per cent to $1.25 million, while the average condo price dropped to $613,403, a 4 per cent decline from a year ago.
Vukasovic said there are “a host of challenges” for people looking to buy or sell in this market ― including the fact that agents have been instructed not to carry out business face to face.
“Many consumers will need to rely on virtual tours and photos to buy or sell real estate. We have even seen some condo buildings go as far as not allowing lockboxes for showings to be set up, in an attempt to keep buyers from entering the building,” Vukasovic wrote.
“Consider temporarily putting your search on hold. The housing market will be here when the pandemic clears.”
For those who need to buy or sell, it’s possible to sign and notarize documents electronically these days, Vukasovic noted. But if you’re putting your house on the market, you can expect it to take longer to sell than before the crisis, and for those buying, the selection won’t be what it was ― new listings have also dropped.
“In the current market, you’ll need to be prepared to accept a heightened level of uncertainty and some additional workarounds,” Vukasovic wrote. “If that’s not an appealing trade-off, then consider temporarily putting your search on hold. The housing market will be here when the pandemic clears.”