Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Fall Market Coming: What To Expect This Year

If you are anything like me, you may be wondering what happened to summer this year. Nights were cool, temperatures over 30 degrees were rare, and the humidity haters were one happy lot.  Still, even though it may feel like summer has barely started this year, there is no denying that it's exiting soon. Already, I hear the sing along jingles of back to school commercials. I wait longer in the traffic on Lake Shore because of the CNE. And I notice the nights this week coming a little bit earlier than last week.

Though the temperatures and the early evening may come gradually, the real estate market in Toronto more closely matches the beginning of the school year when summer ends abruptly. You wake up and poof! It's packed up and gone. Unlike the Spring market that may start as early as late January or as late and early March, the Fall market is predictable. Once you clear Labour Day, the new listing start rolling out, the buyers and sellers return to the market, and we see a busy period in September and October that slows down a little in November before really slowing down during the December Holidays.

Even though there are a collection of quality condos and houses that go up for sale in the summer, there does tend to be less activity during this season. The passion of the Spring market can trail off into July, but August is often very slow. Next to the festivities of December, August often has some of the fewest transactions of the year.

But what will the Fall market be like this year?  What will happen as the engines restart on Toronto properties? I suspect it will be like the Spring market of 2014. Condos will continue to have one of the best years they have seen in the 2010s. I don't think we'll see outrageous bidding wars or wild price appreciations here, but I think prices, for the most part, will be healthy, and we'll continue to see many condos sell in large numbers, generally better than last year. Of course, as I've said many times before, make sure you pick the right condo in the right neighbourhood. Not all condos are created equal.

For houses, the chronic low inventory will keep them in high demand. I don't think we'll see the number of bidding wars we saw in the early part of the Spring in most Toronto neighbourhoods. In some in-demand neighbourhoods, we saw houses go for $100K to even $200K over asking. I think the Fall market, however, will be more reflective of the late Spring, where a quality house would likely go into a bidding war, but not the scrappy shack in a lacklustre neighbourhood. First time buyers hungry for houses will likely cause emerging neighbourhoods like the Danforth Village and the Junction Triangle to continue to have significant price appreciations. Bargain hunters may look further afield in Caledonia/ Fairbanks, parts of the Danforth Village or Scarborough. Detached will still be king. For condos, the shift will continue to be to the downtown core away from the activity in midtown.

In terms of inventory, this will vary widely between the condo and the house. Certainly condos will have a steady stream of supply. No worries there. The trick is to pick the right one. Resale is still king though new condos are now offering much better incentive than in the past. It's hard to see how many houses will come up for sale. Still, it's easy to predict that buyers will outnumber sellers. Not all houses will go to bidding wars, but if you have a house in an established or emerging neighbourhood, you will do well with the right marketing plan.

So, whether your selling or buying or  already planning your next winter trip to Costa Rica, summer is fading fast and Fall is coming. There's simply no denying it any more! Hello cooler temps, a  light jacket at night, and a Toronto real estate market that is waking up from a short summer nap.

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