In Toronto, eager buyers prowl for pods in the driveway
Carolyn Ireland – Globe and Mail
Out and about on the weekend, I noticed some sure harbingers of spring: houses with giant pods in the driveway.
Those containers, which are loaded with household stuff and carted off to a storage facility somewhere, almost always signal “this house is going on the market.”
Serious house hunters keep an eye out for these ciphers because in the overheated Toronto market, they are always looking for an edge. Perhaps these weary survivors of past bidding wars figure their agent can get them in before the open house.
But to the disappointment of the battle-hardened those pods sometimes merely announce “we’re having the kitchen renovated.”
That’s a large part of what keeps listings so tight in the Greater Toronto Area.
A recent poll sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada found that 83% of Canadians would rather renovate than find a new place to live if their current home needs major work.
Comment: And BAM, that is why listings are so low and there are so many bidding wars. If sellers don’t sell, buyers can’t buy. And that makes houses a precious commodity – and in short supply.
At 66%, more survey participants are interested in renovating to suit their tastes than the 46% who are motivated to increase the value of the property, or the 39% who are doing necessary repair.
As long has been the case, kitchens and bathrooms top the renos list.
So, often homeowners look at the uncertainty and expense of buying another place and decide to just build a dream kitchen or spa bathroom.
There’s no sign of that dynamic changing: According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, new listings in the GTA dipped 2% in the first half of March from a year earlier. The average selling price jumped more than 9%, to $502,155 in the first two weeks of March, compared with the same month in 2011.
Comment: Every month we see the same thing. Sales are up 8-9% while listings are only up 4% – or even down. The gap between listings and buyers gets bigger every day. First there are 10 buyers going after a house, then 11, then 12… soon it is 14 bids, never mind those that did not even bother. We cannot continue with 20 people fighting for all the “good” houses. Something has to give.
Re/Max recently unveiled a spring market trends report that showed that the average number of days a listing spends on the GTA market GTA edged down to 24 this spring compared with 27 last year.
Comment: And that is the average. That means half took less than that! Any of the more desirable neighbourhoods in Toronto with houses in the $500-1,000,000 range, they are not lasting a week. And the average sale price is 100% – again meaning that half are going for more than that. Half!
A full 50% of houses in the coveted $600,000 to $900,000 price range in a good neighbourhood such as Cricket Club, Lytton Park or Leslieville, sell for more than the asking price, Re/Max says.
Comment: That is half that sell for OVER asking. Never mind those that sell for 99.8% or 100% or 100.2% – how many more then? I would not want to be buying right now… This is truly insane.
The survey also put some numbers to the anecdotal evidence that the luxury market has bounced back: The number of properties sold for more than $1.5-million has jumped 53% so far in 2012, from last year.
So avid house hunters, keep an eye out for those pods: now that March break is behind us and Easter is approaching, homeowners in Toronto who are planning to move this year are in turbo-charged de-cluttering mode.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
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