More Choice For Buyers

Toronto’s September real estate market was as sluggish as it was a year ago – recording the same 1,744 sales.  These volumes were 40% less than the 2018-2023 five-year average for September transactions.  Compared to a year ago, prices were higher with freehold properties increasing 7% while condo apartment prices slid by 5%.

Looking ahead, the market looks weak with more than 4 months of inventory available and sales to listings ratio of 27% which is well into buyer’s market territory.  There are no signs of a short term rebound with a decent likelihood of another interest rate increase at the end of the month.

As winter rolls in, December 1, 2023 marks the introduction of The Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) that will govern the real estate industry.  TRESA replaces the Real Estate Business and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), which has been in effect since 2002.  The main changes include:

  1. Establishing a new Code of Ethics which will provide additional rules governing how real estate professionals interact with each other and the public.
  2. Introducing a seller option for an open offer process which may provide buyers with more details of competing offers in multiple offer situations.
  3. Enhancing RECO authority powers over disciplinary and administrative matters for non-compliance by brokerages and Realtors.
  4. Improving the information and disclosure obligations REALTORS® must provide to buyers and sellers, including a new information guide
  5. Introducing an optional designated representation model to address issues of conflict over representing both seller and buyer.
  6. Working with self-represented parties for real estate transactions who do not want to work with a Realtor.

These changes are mostly procedural and administrative and will impact how real estate is transacted.  They will unlikely affect pricing much as these policies have little impact on key market drivers such as supply and demand of housing. 

A couple observable changes you will notice effective December 1, 2023 is that there will no longer be lawn signs by Realtors for exclusive (ie. non Multiple Listing Service) listings and those Coming Soon signs that seem interminable can only be used 3 business days prior to going onto MLS.

If you’re planning to buy or sell, feel free to let me know if you have any questions on how the new regulations may affect you.

Shen Shoots the Breeze

We were at a friend’s house recently and they were recounting their nightmarish return from an overseas trip. It wasn’t the airlines but how their itinerary was planned. As they were telling us about running at full speed from one end of a terminal to another, I wished they would have consulted with someone who had more travel experience before booking. Alas, I didn’t want to give them advice seeing how they had already taken their vacation.

Here are some tips I have for those considering travel:

  1. For those who are looking at flights, especially for the Christmas holidays, according to many travel sites, the best time to book airfare is 3 weeks to 3 months before a trip.
  2. For us Canadians, booking a connecting flight through the U.S. may seem tempting as it can save a lot money; however, unless there is a big cost difference, take the connecting flight in Canada if possible. You will only need to go through customs and immigration once. If the immigration line is long, there’s a risk of missing the connecting flight.
  3. Make sure you have ample layover time. Under 3 hours can make your trip extremely stressful especially if your originating flight experiences delays and consider what the immigration process may look like. Our friends were running at full speed for almost 20 minutes to make it to their connecting flight.
  4. Triple check you have your documents and if you need any visas. My nephew recently forgot his passport on his first international flight. It sent everyone in a panic. Dave likes to confirm each time before we embark on a trip: “Tickets, money, passport?”
  5. Make sure your carry-on fits those metal luggage crates located at the airport especially on the way home when your luggage might be full of souvenirs. Some airlines are beyond strict and can ask you to verify size several times en route to the gate. You could be at risk of being asked to check in your luggage and pay additional baggage fees.
  6. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when you’re at the airport.  For example, are we in the right line? Sometimes there could be one line for those waiting to check in luggage and another line for those who don’t have anything to check. Above all make sure you don’t accidentally exit through a door where you have to do the security check all over again.
  7. Finally, bring a stick of deodorant and a large dose of patience. Air travel is generally smooth but hiccups happen. As the British adage goes, Keep Calm and Carry On.

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