While the real estate market typically cools in winter, it’s actually never been hotter, especially here in Toronto. Somewhere out there is the new home you’re about to fall head over heels for, but let’s take a look at what the market has in store for the city before I dive into my tips for couples who want to invest in real estate this month.
Toronto Real Estate: February 2021
Unlike previous years, when potential homeowners head to the sunny south for the winter and put off plans to move until their return in spring, there’s nothing stopping them from entering the real estate market now. By now, we’re used to coronavirus safety protocols, so those that were hesitant to view properties earlier in the pandemic now feel comfortable doing so. All this to say that there are a lot more bidders, and they are bidding to buy.
Right now, everyone’s looking for more space, indoors and outdoors, pushing buyers beyond the city limits to surrounding suburbs. Data shows that house prices have gone up by more than 130% over the last 10 years, while condo prices have increased 110%—and all the while, experts have warned of a looming market crash. Is it on its way? Let’s put it this way: If we could predict the future, 2020 might have looked a whole lot different.
Where there is a sag is in the condo market, which started dipping last year as more and more people traded in their cramped city dwellings for roomier houses in the suburbs. For the first time in a long time, condo buyers now have an edge over sellers. Supply is greatly outweighing demand, with the number of listings having doubled compared to this time last year, meanwhile prices have tumbled by as much as 17%. But don’t expect the lag to last, especially as a vaccine promises an eventual return to “regular” life (whatever that means going forward).
All that to say that if you want to buy, now is just as good a time as any to take the plunge.
5 Tips To Help Your Relationship Survive The Big Move
You’ve committed to each other, and now you’re about to commit to your first property together. Such a high-stakes decision can strain even the most solid of foundations (and this is where relationships and houses have a lot of similarities). I’m no couples’ counselor, but over the years, I’ve found that doing just a little bit of prep work can really take the tension off, making homebuying the fun and exciting experience it’s meant to be.
Hire An Agent
If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re already thinking about doing it, bringing you one step closer to owning your dream home. Congratulations!
Not only do real estate agents bring the expertise and skill set needed to navigate bidding wars and market fluctuations, but we’re also skilled mediators adept at finding properties that meet the wants and needs of both partners. Couples can rest easy knowing that their agent will handle all the red tape; all you need to worry about is which moving company to hire.
Line Up Your Finances
Since this is the biggest investment you’ll likely ever make as a couple, it’s really important to go into it with full financial transparency. Knowing your credit scores, where you’ll go for a mortgage, and that your deposit is readily available are all key factors to managing the stress of purchasing a home. Lastly, make sure you’re on the same page about how much you’re willing to spend, factoring into the budget potential renovations, closing costs, moving expenses, etc.
Bid to Buy
In the current market, there’s no room for low-balling or hesitancy (and if there is, I’ll be sure to tell you). Assume ahead of time that you’re up against other buyers who want that house as much as you do, and with demand outweighing supply, it’s unlikely that you’ll enter a lengthy bidding war. Don’t worry about overshooting on the offer—right now, there’s no such thing.
Don’t Stress Over Cosmetics
Wall colour, flooring, countertops—these are all things that can change to your tastes. Focus instead on four things:
1. Location: Once the world returns to normal, is it close to work or transit?
2. Structure: Does the property have good bones?
3. Flow: Do you prefer open-concept or sectioned-off rooms, and can you move seamlessly between them?
4. Space: Do the rooms and amenities meet your needs moving forward?
Know Your Needs
If this is your first time purchasing property, it can be tricky to not only identify your wants versus needs, but to agree on them as well. Often, this requires looking several years into the future and imagining what you hope life will look like by then, and sometimes your visions can differ. Discuss your must-haves beforehand and approach your agent with an agreed-upon list to ensure a much smoother (and much more enjoyable!) experience.