Ask An Agent: Why Was July Such a Busy Month for Toronto Real Estate?
The North Group sales representative continued to sell successfully; from the height of uncertainty in mid-March right through to what is ordinarily the dead of summer.
In the first three months of COVID-19, Skrzypkowski sold over ten properties. This level of work ethic has had him present on panels celebrating Toronto’s “Young Guns of Real Estate” and has seen him named number 24 on The Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) top 25 agents representing the city’s downtown core.
If there’s anyone who can answer this week’s question, it’s a realtor who’s as unrelenting as Toronto’s real estate market is right now.
Why Was July Such a Busy Month for Toronto Real Estate Compared to Years Past?
Real estate is quite cyclical. We have two peak seasons and two slower seasons. Our two main seasons are the spring market, which generally takes place in March and April and slows down toward the tail end of May, and the fall market, which takes place from September to November. The market’s slow months are often January until the end of February and June until the end of August.
I think we saw such a promising July this year compared to years previous because 2020 started hot out of the gate in January and February. It almost felt like an unusual market – similar to 2017. Pricing was crazy, demand was crazy, and there was a massive shortfall in inventory. And then COVID hit.
We were already coming off a hot winter and about to head into the busiest season of the year. Buyers typically hold out until spring, sellers typically prep their home over winter to get things ready for the spring market. And, again, that’s when the world shutdown.
So we hit a bit of a hiccup for two weeks: March 15 to the end of March was quite scary and everything sort of came to a standstill. Nobody was actively looking and the people who were selling were selling out of need because they’d already purchased something and they needed to sell in order to buy.
We saw a very slow moving end of March. April followed and a lot of people were still being a little bit conservative. Sales numbers dropped considerably. Basically, as we went into lockdown, things slowed down, but they didn’t slow down for my business – I was active. I used the pandemic as an opportunity to get clients into the market who were struggling during the January and February because of competition. I said, “Hey, there are some good deals to be had out there. Let’s go after them.” From April 1 until today, I’m at 13 or 14 properties sold.
I think the reason we saw such a prosperous July is because of the momentous pause in the market, with news headlines saying that the Toronto market was diving, even though prices didn’t really come down too much. In certain areas they did, but for the most part we didn’t see any double-digit price drops and by July we’ve now even seen prices rise back up past pre-COVID levels.
Buyers and sellers put the historically busiest season of March, April, and May on hold. Then, with the Ontario Government introducing Stage 1 of the economic recovery, I think it helped people get over their fear a bit. Fast forward to Stage 2 two, which arrived alongside really nice weather, and you’ve got this return to social norms happening with people being allowed to go outside, sit on restaurant patios, and be a little more engaged. Plus, money that would’ve gone to vacations and major events like weddings is now staying put, so you had a lot of people still working and they were now maintaining a little extra capital.
This is why we saw a spike in late June and early July that brought the competition back. The pricing is going up and we’re basically experiencing the usual spring market in the dead of summer. July and August are usually our slowest months because people are on vacation and not too many people are seriously active in trying to buy at this time of year. COVID has changed all that.