toronto real estate

Bidding wars still common in Toronto's housing market but demand is easing

Toronto's real estate market has been all over the place in recent months, with contradicting trends and forecasts leaving prospective buyers and sellers more confounded — and apprehensive — than ever.

With the promise that interest rates will ease and bring a smidge more affordability to the market later this year, realtors have been reassuring those with stake in the city that activity will bounce back to its usual fever pitch.

But, things continue to trend in the opposite direction, with a radical surge in the number of homes (condos specifically) sitting on the market, fewer and fewer people buying them up, and now, a decline in bidding wars, which the city was once notorious for.

According to a new report from real estate website Wahi, "the tables have turned" in the the GTA, at least as far as the phenomenon of bidding wars are concerned.

In March, homes in 43 per cent of communities in the region were, on average, selling above the listing price. But as of April, that figure has fallen to 39 per cent — the first time this year that there has been a month-over-month downward trend in this measure.

"There was a surprise pullback in bidding competition in the Greater Toronto Area housing market," Wahi wrote in its report this week, adding that this was especially noticeable in the condo market, where the share of neighbourhoods in underbidding territory surged to a staggering 89 per cent.

This is consistent with other recent stats on the housing type that some have found worrying, like the fact that  dozens of new complexes have been paused due to a lack of buyers, or that condo sales only equalled 38.4 per cent of the number of new condo listings last month.

The latter stat is something that should technically classify Toronto's condo market as "a buyer's market," though experts have said this "feels more of a frozen market."

Despite all this, prices have somehow yet to drop, which is in turn continuing to keep many buyers out. And, those few who are in the game are starting to see the market moving more in their favour.

Perhaps this will shift when a rate change comes in the fall — or perhaps people are finally just giving up on Toronto and its unbearably high prices.

Policy, too, is to blame for the state of things, with Toronto and Ontario both home to high land transfer and other tax rates, and things like the foreign buyer ban— designed to keep homes for people who actually live here — also potentially having some impact.

Lead photo by

Strata Real Estate, Brokerage/

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