Jennifer English


06 May 2020
Jennifer English

April's numbers represent the first FULL month of COVID-19's impact on the Toronto real estate market

The numbers for the month of March started to paint a picture and, with April's numbers now out, we're getting a clearer view of what that picture looks like. 

March was like a month divided, literally split right down the middle! In the first half, Toronto real estate was in over-drive with competing offers on most properties and prices/number of sales increasing. COVID-19 came along mid-month and with it, immense uncertainty, slamming the brakes on not only real estate, but most other sectors as well. 

First Up

The Average Sale Price for ALL  Property Types and BY Property Type, in the City of Toronto

As with last month, I've looked at year-over-year AND the seasonal adjustment, reviewing the difference from March to April 2020. From the year-over-year perspective Toronto real estate dipped marginally, down 2.5% for all property types, 7.8% in detached homes, 4.2% for semi-detached, and 3.9% for condo apartments. Comparing April to last month, the decrease is greater. Again, this was expected given April was the first FULL month impacted by the pandemic. For ALL property types the drop is 10.8%, detached 14.7%, semi's, with a more slight decrease, 5.1%, and rounding it out, condo apartments 14.1%.

It's important to add a two-fold caveat when looking at these numbers. One, for the best of the best, be it any type of property in any part of Toronto, (based on micro-market numbers), we're not seeing decreases in sold prices. Second, there are certain areas in the city, for example Bloor West, that remain recession proof for the most part. I know when you're seeing numbers shared via media outlets it can get confusing. It's why I always like to remind you, for my market updates, I'm ONLY looking at the number for the City of Toronto, NOT the GTA. And, another reminder, within the city, I can review specific community stats for any of you wanting to know exactly what's happening in YOUR neighbourhood.

The other stats and what those numbers reveal

From Number of Sales to Number of New & Active Listings, the Sale Price to List Price Percentage, and Days on Market ...

April's numbers have revealed a dramatic decrease in the number of sales and new listings. This is a good thing. It demonstrates the integrity in the real estate industry adhering to operating only as an essential service and, it's helped shelter prices. While prices have decreased, with the number of sales and the number of new listings decreasing similarly, it's prevented the month's of inventory jumping up too quickly and by too much. The greater the month's of inventory, the more a market shifts to 'balanced' or into 'buyers' market territory, and that's when prices start 'taking a greater hit'.

As you see pictured below, the percentage decrease in the number of sales is pretty close for ALL property types as well as the individual property types. And the same can be said as it pertains to new listings. 

The decrease in number of sales has naturally created an increase in months of inventory. It's IMPORTANT TO NOTE, even though new listings are down, there is a carry-over effect. What I'm referring to is the prior months active listings get added to the next months total active listings. In detached homes months of inventory went from 1.52 in March to 3.69 in April, semi's 0.9 to 1.45, and condo apartments 1.13 to 3.76.
I want to single out condo apartments for a moment because they face an added impact that doesn't factor in detached or semi-detached homes. COVID-19 resulted in many condo buildings refusing access to ALL non-residents. This has been difficult to work around for people needing to sell their condo. The Ontario Real Estate Association sent a letter to all condo corporations to make clear real estate isn't operating in a business as usual manner, this in an effort to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, some buildings haven't relinquished their stance. Hopefully, as restrictions start to lift in the city and province, those same corporations will allow for in-person showings to move forward as realtors will remain committed to adhering with all safety guidelines in an effort to keep everyone safe.

Side note, the technology I use for listings, (ie. 3D virtual tours, floor plans, high resolution photography, and I'll now be including drone photography), goes a long long way in affording a prospective buyer a high-level of confidence in knowing if a property is right for them. This way, buyer's don't have to go on pointless in-person showings as they can really zone-in on their top choice(s). Setting technology aside, most buyer's will need that one, in-person showing, to be 100% certain. STILL, better to only have to view 3 properties in-person than 10 for example.

Finally, the sale price to list price percentage saw movement year-over-year and from last month. Detached homes dropped two percent  year-over-year from 100% to 98% and five percent  from March when it was 103%. Semi-detached, currently at 101%, down six percent  from 2019 and ten percent  from last month. Condo apartments remained the most steady ... 100% in April 2020, exact same as April '19, and down four percent from March.

That's a wrap but if you're looking for more information, call/text/email, anytime! Most important, please keep safe and stay healthy.