Feeling Bullish

Toronto’s April results continued to be strong in both the condo and freehold markets.  The freehold market saw double-digit price increases compared to last year.

Despite these increases, buyers for ground-oriented properties exercised more caution.  The federal government announced a higher stress test hurdle of 5.25% from 4.79% leading to month on month prices to stabilize.  On the condo front, activity was robust as average prices climbed 19% compared to April 2020 as condo prices continued it’s month-on-month climb that began in Q4 2020.

Sales transactions were substantially higher but comparing April 2021 transactions to April 2020 is not analogous since April 2020 was the first full month of the pandemic which saw sales activity plummet.

Although year-over-year April sales transaction comparisons are not that eventful, when viewing them in context of record setting 2021 sales transactions and price growth, the results are eye popping.  We have come to expect significant price increases in tight markets where listings and therefore sales are down.  However, these price increases occurred as listings and sales transactions have been at 5-year highs.  The chart below shows the monthly 2021 sales transactions exceeding every corresponding month in the past 5 years.

This has cumulated in April 2021 YTD sales transactions which are 106% higher than the same period a year ago and 24% higher than the recent highs of 2017.

Stating this another way:  amidst surging supply, prices remained buoyant.  Barring any other major shock (eg, sudden increase in interest rates, new government policies to cool the real estate market, pandemic related setbacks etc), prices should rise as demand increases when borders and immigration open up and we come out of the latest stay at home order.

And now, over to Shen.

Shen Shoots the Breeze

One of the silver linings from the pandemic is that conversations have had to be more intentional. Small talk doesn’t last very long online. With half of our family in the U.S., we meet up on birthdays and other special occasions to catch up. With ages ranging from 8 to 82, it’s difficult to organically have a conversation without having people talk over each other.

We took a page out of our church life group so before the call we send out questions that can engage all our family member such as:  “Have you ever encountered a wild animal?”; “What would your final meal on earth look like?”. One of the most common questions we ask is:  What was your high and low of the week and what have you learned recently?”.

As we are about to finish the 3rd week of a 3rd lockdown, I thought it’d be interesting to hear what people are learning.

Here’s what I’ve recently learned:

  1. Dave has really gotten into all things firewood. He is particular about what types of trees. Favourites are apple wood and oak that burn long and hot while softwoods like pine are easy to light and burn fast. It takes about a year to have wood seasoned so they burn clean without excess smoke and you need good air circulation for them to dry well.
  2. We bought my mother a guitar for Mother’s Day. I didn’t know anything about purchasing them but with the help of a musical friend, I learned the difference between an acoustic guitar vs a classical (steel vs nylon strings). Strings need to be restrung frequently and there are a lot of used ones for sale on online classified sites. You can get one in good condition for about $100. Helping my mother get on Zoom seamlessly will also be more difficult than learning the guitar.
  3. Flushable wipes and grease are not pipe friendly. We learned the first one the hard way and the 2nd one we realized is not a universally-held knowledge after having a property we manage experience clogged pipes. Toilets are built for human or pet waste and toilet paper and nothing else! Do not flush flushable wipes unless you want to pay the plumber to come to your house! It’s much easier and safe to dump them into your garbage bin. Same thing for oil, best to use a disposable container and put it in your freezer. Once it’s full, just dump the whole frozen container into the garbage.

Would love to hear your new learnings!

Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

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