Condo buildings in downtown Toronto

Toronto may be moving into a buyer’s market, but condo sales are still in flux

Realtors won’t agree on whether the market is normalizing or in a downturn

After years of frantic real estate market conditions in the GTA, there is evidence that things are finally cooling off on the housing market. But the evidence is less clear for the condo market, leaving realtors and buyers alike with mixed messaging.

Noella Ingabire is a real estate agent specializing in pre-construction condos, resale homes and condos in the GTA. She began noticing a shift in the market in April, in tandem with the mortgage interest rate hike. She said demand is faltering.

“We are actually not even seeing multiple offers anymore. And definitely prices are coming down.”

However, although Toronto’s condo market wasn’t as desirable for pandemic buyers, data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board indicates that condos are now outpacing freehold homes in terms of annual price gains.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate first quarter (Q1) of 2022 condo report stated that “seller’s market conditions remain in place.”

The average condo selling price increased by 22.5 per cent year-over-year, compared to just 15 per cent for detached homes. Condo sales are on the decline year-over-year compared to Q1 2021’s record 9,399 sales, but new listings have jumped from 8,758 in Q4 2021 to 11,426 in Q1 2022.

Ingabire said that with little urgency from buyers properties are sitting on the market for longer.

“People are buying, but it’s not like before. So there is a stagnation going on. I’m talking to top agents; we’re not busy,” Ingabire said.

But Grace Chan, a real estate agent in Toronto, said she wouldn’t call it a buyer’s market quite yet, despite noticing some changes.

“A bit more of a balanced market is what I’m seeing… I think we easily forget that places take longer than seven days to sell,” she said. “There is still a very strong desire for home ownership.”

And while a cooler condo market in Toronto may seem abnormal after a seller’s market for so long, Chan said this is a case of market normalization.

“Things are normalizing in terms of inventory in general, especially for condos,” she said.

“Yes, there is a big increase in inventory numbers, but that’s more or less what the numbers would be in a normal market,” she said.

Although realtors aren’t in agreement about the state of the market, they agree that condos continue to be a viable option to enter into home ownership.

“With the rate increase, I think that has affected a lot of people who have just enough to purchase something,” Chan said.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO