Toronto Housing Market Robust – But Changes are Coming

New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

A quick look at the latest Toronto Real Estate Board stats show a robust market. New listings were up by 37.2 % in November 2017 compared to November 2016 when we saw a historically low number of listings. ‘”Right now we are seeing an upsurge in a demand for home ownership – even during the Christmas season which is not customarily a busy time for real estate transactions,” says long time GTA real estate agent, Steve Woloshyn.

Just a few weeks ago, he sold a detached house in the Fieldgate and Burnhamthorpe area in Mississauga, located near St. Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Elementary school, for $915,000 – $45,000 over asking price. The house was on the market for one short week and created a bidding competition. Woloshyn believes that at the height of the market earlier this year, the same house would have sold for a considerably higher price.

Woloshyn remembers that in May ‘everything just stopped’. He noted, “Selling prices had been very high for a while, but by May no one was really sure where the market was going because of the announcement by the federal government on new mortgage rules and rules for foreign buyers. Potential sellers and buyers took a step back, waiting and watching the market. But eventually the buying and selling resumed.“ Bidding competitions, a main feature of the heated market earlier in 2017 made an appearance again, although in a more moderate fashion – less intense and less frequent. Unlike early in the year, it is now not unusual for a modest house to be on the market for 20-30 days, or for sellers to negotiate house prices down as opposed to up – something that simply did not happen in the frenzied real estate market.

In the GTA, there is currently a seller’s market for townhouses and condo apartments, but a more balanced market for detached and semi-detached houses. Part of the reason for this healthy activity, believes Woloshyn, is that, starting January 1, all uninsured mortgage consumers will have to qualify using a new minimum qualifying rate. Simply put, if a buyer negotiates a 3% mortgage with a lending institution, then that buyer must be financially able to make payments on a mortgage that is 2% higher. This is a safeguard to ensure that buyers will be able to handle higher rates. Some feel that once in place, the new mortgage rules may cause a decline in market activity and further lower prices. Woloshyn is reluctant to make any definite predictions “because there are always a host of other factors that impact the real estate market in the GTA. We’ll have to wait and see – after all who could have predicted what happened in the market over the last few years?” he said.

In closing, Woloshyn has some simple advice for potential sellers: ‘Potential buyers ‘want to see your house – not your home’ so consider hiding away your personal, cultural and religious items. Declutter and find a temporary out of sight home for your “chachkis’. Paint using pastel or neutral colours on your walls, and beautify the yard. Modernize where possible – renovated kitchens and bathrooms are the most important selling features of a house.

It should be noted that for every purchase or sale, Steve Woloshyn donates $500 to EuroMaidan Canada in the buyer’s/seller’s name for medical aid for injured soldiers in Ukraine. Steve’s web-site is www.stevewoloshyn.com, his phone number is 416-823-5551.