Changing Of The Times

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Toronto’s autumn real estate started off with a bang as prices increased across the board. 

The freehold sector was especially strong as semi-detached and detached properties increased by 14% and 20% respectively.  Meanwhile condominium apartment prices increased by 9% compared to a year ago.  

Sales volumes were down as supply tightened with a 32% drop in new listings.  The combination of stronger demand as the economy lifted Covid restrictions and less supply was highlighted in months of inventory dropping from 1.5 months to 1.1 months in the freehold market and more markedly in the condominium sector which saw months of inventory drop from 3.3 months to 1.6 months compared to a year ago.

For me, as summer turns to fall, it always evokes strong emotions of change.  Maybe it’s the leaves turning colours, the hot rays of sun turning to cool breezes or the start of the school year that triggers me to contemplate the past. 

Most recently, I was reflecting on how operating in this real estate market has changed.  The following are some of the key shifts I started my real estate career in 2003.

  1. GPS – In the beginning, I needed to spend considerable time charting out the routes for showings.  Now Waze makes it simple.
  2. Google Maps – Seeing pictures of the front of houses is helpful but with Google street view, clients can get a neighbourhood feel prior to visiting the property in person.
  3. 3D Tours – If a picture says a thousand words, then 3D tours say a billion words.  These tours aren’t perfect but for overseas clients, it’s as good as it gets.
  4. 3rd party internet sites – Realtor.ca was the primary site for clients to explore new listings.  Now there’s a handful which offer excellent historical, demographic and rental information.
  5. Offer Presentations – Offers were often presented face to face where buyer agent would sit down with the seller and seller’s agents to negotiate the transaction.  Even before Covid, this was becoming less frequent.  Post Covid, it’s almost unheard of.
  6. Electronic Signatures – If Offers weren’t being presented in person, they would be faxed to our offices which would then be faxed, emailed printed and then signed by clients.  Using electronic signatures has saved countless forests as offers don’t need to be printed on paper anymore.
  7. Staging – When Shen became an accredited staging professional in 2004, she was one of the few.  Now most properties have some level of staging with virtual staging beginning to take a foothold.

As in many other industries, technology has helped transacting real estate become more efficient.  While efficiency is good, there’s a balance where it has become more impersonal which in my opinion is not necessarily a good thing when buying and selling one’s home will always be a highly emotional one. 

And now, over to Shen…

Shen Shoots The Breeze

This is for all the landlords and tenants out there. Ontario rents have not increased since 2020 when  rent increases were halted due to the pandemic. This writer agreed with this policy as a disproportionate share of renters were working industries most affected by the lockdowns. In July 2021, the government announced the 2022 rental guidelines increase of 1.2%.

According to the Residential Tenancies Act, any rent increases requires a minimum of 90 days notice in order to take effect. This means that any landlord who wants the rent increase to take effect on January 1, 2022 needed to notify their tenants prior to September 30th, 2021.

Does this mean that every landlord should increase their rents? Not necessarily so. If you have a tenant who is paying on time, isn’t causing a disturbance and one you get along with, you may not want to increase the rent at every opportunity.

For tenants out there, if you enjoy the place you’re living at and expect to be there for another year or longer, consider reaching out to your landlord and see if they’d be willing to extend you for another year at the same rent. Most landlords would prefer to keep a good tenant rather than go through the process of finding a new one.

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