3 Predictions for Toronto Real Estate in 2018

Last year we offered our three predictions for the 2017 Real Estate Market. We predicted lower sales, and we were right. Secondly, we said price increases would average 5-10%, prices did go up by 30% in the first part of the year but they backed off through the balance of the year and they were in the 5-10% range. Although, condos downtown, were 20% higher. The third point we made was there would be a sizeable increase in rentals, and we were right again.

Now, for 2018. Here's what we predict:

First, we have to be aware of the OSFI Stress Test for conventional mortgages starting January 1st. Buyers in 2018 will need to qualify for conventional mortgages at the contract rate plus 2%. That will make it more challenging for many. Nonetheless, here's what we forecast.

Sales will be higher in 2018 than in 2017. Why? Most sales are the result of lifestyle changes and a growing population. There will be some challenges for people qualifying at the margin for some of these sales, so we don't expect sales to reach those of 2016.

Secondly, prices over the market will be neutral. We expect some markets to be up by 5% while others will be down by 5% depending on the style and location of the property. The GTA market today is no longer homogeneous.

Our third prediction is the sweet spot for sales will be between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in 2018. It will be 416 area based. It is all dependant on the affordability issues and the number of listings. They will be limited in the 416 and we expect to see excessive listings in the 905.

Realtor Tips: Protecting Your Buyer When the Seller Wants No Conditions

When doing an offer, the main focus is usually about what conditions to include, that's important. But sometimes you cannot get an offer accepted with conditions. Not just in a multiple offer scenario, but at times when a seller wants a quick sale and wants the buyer to take the property 'as is'. This is where warranties can play a key role in protecting the Buyer. By warranties, I mean that the seller commits to certain truths about their property. For example, when you want to buy a condo but cannot include a Status Condition clause. You would then want the seller to warrant that 1. The condo has not had any changes or improvements made to it that have not been approved by the condo corp. And also that there are no special assessments coming in the next 6 months.

A lot of agents already do that, but what they miss is the consequences if these warranties are not met. If you don't spell it out, you will end up in court to settle these disputes. For example, if the seller did improvements to his condo without the condo corps approval, you need to add the following words: "The seller either has to get the approval prior to closing or has to make changes to the unit at their own expense, to get that approval. "

So, warranties and their consequences seem like a small part of an offer, but to me, it's critical in protecting buyers.

The Luxury Condo Market

Since April, the hottest real estate market in Toronto has been luxury condo sales. In 2016, the highest price for a condo was 6.5 million. This year, the highest priced condo was 11 million. Did you know, sales over 1 million dollars for condos are 86% higher in 2017 than for the same period last year. In contrast, the overall market is down by 16%. So why the sudden interest? Baby Boomers are cashing out of those big, single-detached family homes. We’ve been talking about this happening for 10 years and now it's finally here. Toronto is also a trendy destination to live in. It is a destination city for people looking for a second or third home, and condos are the perfect answer. At the same time, developers are not building enough big condos. Pre-Construction sales are focused on investors and smaller units. We use to think of luxury condos as over 2,000 Sq.Ft. Today these units are in the 1,200 to 1,500 square foot range. Big condos in older buildings will soon become the new thing.

3 Tips for Finding the Best Real Estate Agent

Welcome to Inside the Real Estate Market. I'm Jamie Johnston, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Condos Plus.

I get more calls asking for "Who is your best agent?" from potential clients, looking for someone to help them and from other agents wanting to refer a client to an agent. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a "best" agent.  For example, best listing agents know staging and setting up the property for maximum value They're great at taking pictures, videos, marketing the property and getting key promotion, and also, they know how to set the exact right list price.

On the other hand, best buyer agents, have an understanding of what you want. They know how to find the right property for you. They know how to negotiate the very best deal and they have time to visit all the properties with you. We have not even considered that agents specialize by area, by property type, and even client style.

So, what do I think are the keys for finding the best agent for you?
 1. Do they have the time for you? To do all the things necessary to give you great service.
 2. Do they relate to you? As an agent, are you one the same wave length?
 3. Do they have the knowledge for the property you are either selling or buying?

Notice how I never said, "Do they do the most sales?"