Tomorrow, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) will release its March 2021 report. And we have a pretty strong sense the percentages involved are going to seem close to unbelievable.

At this time last year, the first effects of the pandemic were starting to show up in the real estate market. While home sales in the GTA were up 49% year-over-year in the first two weeks of March 2020, home sales were down 15.9% over the rest of the month, year-over-year.

Remember, while Toronto first called a state of emergency on March 23, 2020, the province had already enacted one a week prior. Everything was both in a state of flux and eerily stagnant -- no one knew where the world was going, or how long it would take to get there.

As a result, like many other industries in Canada, Toronto’s real estate market spent the latter half of March falling off a cliff.

READ: One COVID-Year Later: Everything That’s Happened in Downtown Real Estate

Of course, if you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the real estate market in 2021, you know we're a far cry from where we were a year ago. In fact, we're about as far from a fallout as it gets (until we're suddenly not).

Regardless, TRREB's monthly report will certainly capture a real estate market on fire -- because, well, it is on fire -- but it will also appear even more on fire precisely because of where we were a year ago. As many real estate market reports rely on year-over-year data to accurately capture the state of the market in a larger context, it's important to remember that the context involved in the 1-year anniversary of COVID's first affects on the market should take numbers to new all-time highs.

And March will be just the beginning.

April 2020 saw both listings and sales down more than 60% from 2019 levels. While May 2020 saw greater than 50% falls in both categories.

So, while the numbers coming out over the next few months will undoubtedly be correct, they will also be reflecting a stretch of time in which nothing in the world seemed very correct.

When you start to see headlines like 'up 80% year-over-year', just remember where you were a year ago at this point and, if you're feeling anywhere close to 80% better on your internal existential metre, you'll get the point.

Context is everything.

Real Estate News