| Housing Markets

Nowruz mobarak!  It’s Iranian New Year, and while the circumstances aren’t what we’d wish them to be, we still wanted to wish you, your loved ones, friends & family, a beautiful Nowruz.

Nowruz, directly translated, means “new day.”  How appropriate, wouldn’t you agree?  2020 has certainly been a teacher of new days – it seems each day has brought forth new challenges and new norms, a new reality, so to speak.

New realities, big or small, are often hard to accept and can certainly be difficult to navigate.

For that reason, we wanted to touch on some of the most common real estate related questions we’ve been asked by our clients over the past week or so, and ensure you know we are here to help you navigate during these turbulent times.

Disclaimer:  Please know that this is general advice, and while much of it is applicable, your individual circumstances matter.  So, please reach out to us at info@amirandaleks.com or call/text Amir at 416-528-7325 or Aleks at 416-707-1209 to setup a digital 1-on-1 call (social distancing J).

 

The Elephant in The Room – COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS

 

Let’s start here, COVID-19 will go down in history as a monumental global event/pandemic, and hopefully, we can look back and reflect on how we all came together for the greater good of society. To that end, our top priority is your health & safety, as well as the health & safety of anyone/everyone involved in any transaction we manage – this includes Agents, Admin, Contractors, Painters, Cleaners, Lenders, Inspectors, Lawyers etc. and of course, our Sellers, Buyers/Investors, Landlords & Tenants alike.  In these uncertain times, it isn’t business as usual, insofar as it isn’t business as usual in any sector at the moment.

However, we recognize that many of our clients still need us at this time, and therefore strive to help them make the best real estate business decisions by advising them of market realities.

We are here for you, happy to provide you with guidance & direction, based specifically on your individual needs.  So, don’t worry, we’ve got you!

 

To Our Sellers

 

 

In short, this is not an ideal time to sell.  However, that is a loaded statement, so, we should elaborate a bit.  Let’s discuss what we’re already witnessing today, followed by what we might expect will happen in the next 3-6 months, sound good?

 

“Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”  -One of my favourite quotes – the ability to decide quickly is worth something, always!

 

  • What we’re seeing today …

    • Market uncertainty is having a significant impact on Buyer confidence
    • The start of 2020 resembled the start of 2017, namely, aggressive – very, very aggressive
    • With extremely low inventory #s, coupled with low interest rates (and further drops), in addition to waves of new Buyers week after week, we saw prices climb at an exponential rate – even when compared to Fall/Winter 2019 – literally double-digit growth overnight
    • Our Buyers placed offers week after week, competing on average against 10-15 other offers (in one case 37 offers) on each and every property – condos & houses alike
    • Introduce COVID-19, and more specifically, global and local announcements starting March 11 to present (at this point, almost 24/7), starting with school closures and most recently the closure of our borders
    • The decline of global market certainly did not help either
    • Real estate activity decline was noticeable, particularly the # of showings being booked, almost immediately
    • Our Sellers (and our Buyers) noticed an immediate drop in the # of showings (on our Listings), # of offers on the same, and the # of offers on properties we’ve bid on since March 11 w/ our Buyer clients
    • Translated – less eyeballs on properties means less market exposure, equals fewer potential offers on paper and generally equates to a lower potential selling price (i.e. the days of “offer deadlines” may be behind us for now – very tricky times and pricing strategy is imperative)

 

  • What you might expect to see 3-6 months from now …

    • We started off by saying it’s not an ideal time to sell
    • However, be mindful of the fact that every circumstance is different and therefore should be analyzed individually
    • If you’ve owned a particular property for some time, you’ve likely seen a massive increase in its market value, and despite current declines in activity, you’re still very positive
    • This is great news! Especially if you’re looking to purchase this year/in the near future
    • Why? Because, in times of uncertainty, being liquid/fluid (having the ability to make a quick decision) is key to capitalizing on opportunity
    • And while your property may not get January/February 2020 prices, you may still be happy selling at a price that makes sense to you
    • So, while you may not profit as much on your sale as you might have pre-COVID-19, the ultimate gains (financial or circumstantial) may still be worth considering
    • For example: If you’re trading up (i.e. selling a condo, a smaller home etc.), looking for a larger home, a family home, a different location or school district etc. you may find that selling makes a lot of sense, given that if the markets drops further, you’ll be liquid and therefore can capitalize on a future purchase
    • And hopefully, you make this decision sooner vs. later – because as I said above, there will be an influx of listings at the onset, and more listings = more competition = a lower sale price for you, the Seller
    • At the onset, we expect to see a quick influx of listings (Sellers who, despite the market, are hoping to catch early 2020 prices), and so a minor spike
    • Eventually, this will likely be followed by a flat line, due to Seller concerns/government intervention etc. and then a quick decline in the # of listings as Sellers shy away waiting for better times and, more importantly, in the # of overall sales
    • We can then expect a downward adjustment in prices and expectations
    • Ultimately, what this will mean for Sellers, is that they should be more realistic with their expectations and if given a range in which their home might sell, bet on the lower part of that range to ensure you’re not setting up for disappointment or over-leveraging

 

  • What we’re doing to keep our Seller’s safe & healthy …

    • Our office is operating with strict guidelines to ensure very limited exposure (Agents, Staff & Public)
      • No public open houses
      • Avoid non-essential meetings in person (let’s Zoom? Facetime?  What’sApp?)
      • Avoid offer dates with live presentations – email only
      • Digital technologies to win the day!
      • No double-bookings (i.e. 1 showing per slot maximum)
    • Professional top-to-bottom/inside and out cleaning of your home as always
    • Disinfectant wipes provided to Sellers/Tenants living in their home – for after showings
    • Trying our best to source hand sanitizer and sterile gloves for Buyer/Agent entry into your home
    • Pre-screening questions prior to showings being booked
    • Health precautions with respect to trades going in to work on the home prior to listing
    • Our digital marketing package has always been comprehensive and we are pleased to continue offering:
      • Complete 3D walk-through tours – Buyers can check out every inch of your home, level-by-level, from their couch
      • Complete floorplans
      • Room measurements
      • High-res professional photography
      • High-res digital feature sheets & online marketing
      • Exclusive virtual showings – via Zoom (a service to accommodate prospective Buyers who’d prefer virtual)
      • Electronic signatures only
      • Digital procedures to ensure limited f2f interactions while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism & marketing efforts

 

To Our Buyers

 

If I had a penny for every time a Buyer says, “I wish the market would just calm down”, I’d be a rich man.  This is the opportunity most Buyers wish for – a calmer and more balanced market.  I’m not suggesting you go out and put yourself in harm’s way – safety first 100%.  However, what I am suggesting is that you are “strike ready”.  Get your pre-approval done if you haven’t already, ensure you have your deposit ready to go, get your down payment out of any stock market – ensure you have access to your cash immediately!  You are a tiger, lion or some crazy animal on one of those David Attenborough Discovery Channel documentaries, laying low and striking when the time is right, seizing opportunity in front of you!

In short, this is an ideal time to buy.  However, that is a loaded statement, so, we should elaborate a bit.  Let’s discuss what we’re already witnessing today, followed by what we might expect will happen in the next 3-6 months, sound good?

 

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” -Warren Buffett

 

  • What we’re seeing today …

    • Buyers (and everyone, for that matter) are scared
    • Some Buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach
    • Some are charging forward (like that crazy guy in Braveheart – “…it’s my island…”)
    • We are essentially seeing 2 distinct camps, namely:
      • Camp 1 – Hesitant and uncertain, waiting for the dust to settle. Some have funds, and others got hit hard in the stock market (and so they’re in a holding pattern)
      • Camp 2 – Financing in order, ready to rock and dive in head first as they see potential and opportunity here
  • What you might expect to see 3-6 months from now …

    • Fear and analysis paralysis
    • Let’s start with fear!
    • Fear induces panic
    • Panic and anxiety often go hand-in-hand
    • And research has shown that anxiety can disengage the part of the brain that is essential for good decision making (the pre-frontal cortex PFC)
    • Ok – enough of the medical stuff – here’s the bottom line, if you’re scared, that’s ok! But recognize that fear will not help but rather hinder you from making a good decision
    • Irrespective of the circumstance, if there are 2 choices, 1 is usually better than the other, you’ve got to decide, ideally the better one!
    • If you’ve been looking or are a Seller looking to sell and buy, don’t let fear stop you
    • That doesn’t mean you should dive in head first, but keep on the heartbeat of the market, be ready-to-go, and if a purchase opportunity is presented and makes sense (i.e. in line with your wants/needs, budget, future plans etc.), seize it!
    • Let’s talk analysis paralysis!
    • Oh man, I have a lot of analytical clients – probably because I start off in engineering at Queen’s
    • I’m all for #s and analysing ROI, cap rates, equity potential etc.
    • But, I’m not for letting analysis paralyze me
    • While I’m busy analysing, the world is moving around me – at some point, you’ve got to make a decision
    • And long-term (even 3-5 yrs out), this is the Toronto real estate market, I wouldn’t bet against it!
  • What we’re doing to keep our Buyer’s safe & healthy …

    • Virtual showings – we are happy to walk through homes for clients and vitually show them the ins/outs of a home they may be interested in
    • Digital partners – our team has always advocated digital vs. paper, and our partners (i.e. Lenders, Brokers, Lawyers etc.) also work this way, this means no paper, all digital and therefore no f2f contact needed, for example:
      • Virtual showings – we are happy to walk through homes for clients and vitually show them the ins/outs of a home they may be interested in
      • Digital partners – our team has always advocated digital vs. paper, and our partners (i.e. Lenders, Brokers, Lawyers etc.) also work this way, this means no paper, all digital and therefore no f2f contact needed, for example:
        • Virtual showings
        • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) by email
        • Zoom meeting to discuss ins/outs
        • Docusign to sign offers digitally
        • EFT for deposit transfers
        • And so on …
      • We will do our utmost to ensure we facilitate our Buyer/Investor clientele, while keeping your health & safety top of mind

 

We hope the above has been useful and a helpful summary of what’s happening in the Toronto real estate market today.

 

Whether SARS in 2002/2003, the global financial crisis in 2008/2009, or the crazy market downturn in 2017, it seems Toronto’s real estate market is resilient.  And rightfully so, the fundamentals that keep our market going are strong.  Whether we’re talking about our strict lending policies, fiscal responsibility, strong film/tech sector, immigration or the fact that interest rates are at their lowest in nearly a decade, Toronto’s real estate market is sure to explode again.

In the short-term, however, there will be dips, some sectors (i.e. pre-construction, in my opinion, happy to elaborate) will get kicked in the teeth.  But, for those who followed fundamentals from the onset, who understand that they should analyze but to serve a the purpose of good decision making, and for those who understand that investment is a long-term game, these are windows of opportunity.  And if history is a teacher, it seems they come about once or so every 10 yrs.

Wishing you only the best that life has to offer and hoping that you and your family/loved ones keep safe during these very trying times.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or Aleks, if we can help in any way!

CONTACT US

 

I’ll leave you with a quote from the great Kobe Bryant.

 

“Have a good time, enjoy life, life is too short to get bogged down or be discouraged, you have to keep moving, keep going, put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling! -Kobe Bryant”

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