If you've been on the fence about buying a condo in downtown Toronto amid the COVID-19 pandemic — you know, to take advantage of cheaper-than-usual listing prices and historically low mortgage rates — I've got some good news: You can stop stressing out.
The greatest deals have already passed, according to experts, meaning that you no longer have to weigh the pros and cons of sinking your savings into a mortgage just to score a good deal.
A new report from Strata, a real estate and data analysis platform that focuses on the GTA condo market, suggests that the golden window of opportunity for prospective buyers in Toronto was actually last fall.
"We now know in hindsight that the best time to buy during this whole pandemic was in November. That's when the average price of a GTA condo fell to $610,000," says Strata Broker of Record Robert Van Rhijn.
Noting that the "highly-anticipated drop" came and went quite quickly in late 2020, Van Rhijn says that the average condo selling price has since increased by roughly $80,000.
We can thank red hot demand and soaring sales figures for that.
"This price increase is almost certainly due to those buyers who were once sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the market to bottom out," says Van Rhijn. "Now they're realizing it may be a while before prices dip again, so they're trying to purchase whatever they can."
Indeed, condo sales were up significantly year-over-year in March across the entire GTA (thought it's important to note that sales activity dropped off dramatically during March of 2020 when the pandemic first hit.)
With 4,165 condo transactions, March of 2021 saw nearly double the number of sales that it did last year at this time, most of them concentrated in downtown Toronto, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough.
Of the suburbs, Mississauga saw most transactions of all suburbs with 519 condo sales.
Surging demand may be great for sellers, but it usually means higher prices for buyers. March of 2021 was no exception.
According to Strata, the average GTA condo sold for 5.5 per cent above asking price last month, "indicating that buyer demand continues to eclipse the properties that are available."
"I suspect that demand will continue to far outpace supply until the early summer months," says Van Rhijn. "Come the end of the spring market, those pent-up buyers will likely have purchased by then."
Fortunately for those who don't own property, rent prices continue to plunge in Toronto — they're currently at a four-year low — and are expected to continue falling for some time.