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17 Real Estate Forecasts That Have Tried to Predict the Impact of COVID – Toronto Storeys



This weekend will mark two months since a state of emergency was first declared in Ontario.

Millions of jobs have been lost, tens of thousands of businesses have been affected, and thousands of people have died. And throughout all of it the lockdown measures, the daily updates, and the terrifying economic realities it seems everyone in the real estate industry has taken a shot at summing up both the current and coming housing climate. (Yes, we were not immune either.)

So, in an attempt to help you keep up with the dizzying level of real estate decrees that have been released in the last dozen or so weeks, we’ve compiled a timeline of forecasts, prognostications, pontifications, prophecies, exaggerations, and conjectures so you can form your own opinion of who’s looking at the present in the right light, and who’s best positioned to accurately predict the future.



RBC April 1

Headline: Home Sales in Canada Could Drop as Much as 30% This Year: RBC

Summary: Canada’s housing market could see a 30% decline in home resales this year, hitting a 20-year low of 350,000 units due to both physical distancing restrictions and economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Quotable: “We think the recovery will come in stages—taking buyers up to a year to regroup and rebuild confidence amid high unemployment.”

Read: The Full Article

RBC April 6

Headline: Experts Say “Low Risk” of Housing Market Collapse: RBC Report

Summary: While RBC economist Robert Hogue expects housing price support to wear down in the weeks ahead, RBC sees a “low risk” of a market collapse – at this point.

Quotable: “We believe the extraordinary policy response from all levels of government and the Bank of Canada, as well as accommodating measures offered by financial institutions, will soften the blow.”

Read: The Full Article

RE/MAX April 7

Headline: RE/MAX: Odds of Coronavirus-Related Housing Market Collapse are Low

Summary: “To burst, or for a real estate market collapse to take place, there would need to be a stagnant demand, with an influx of supply, leading to a sharp drop in prices.” And RE/MAX doesn’t think that’s very likely in the country’s hottest markets.

Quotable: “What is more likely to happen, as a result of this public health crisis, is more of a levelling off, rather than significant dips. The prices have been climbing at such a steep, unsustainable rate, that they were bound to be reined in at some point. However, with levels of housing inventory so low in so many of the country’s hottest markets, it’s unlikely that any price change will be jaw-dropping, or even noteworthy.”

Read: The Full Article

Royal LePage April 14

Headline: Royal LePage Releases Canadian Market Survey Forecast

Summary: If the measures currently in place across the country are lifted before the end of the second quarter, Royal LePage is forecasting that overall prices for Canadian homes will end 2020 relatively flat. If, however, COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect throughout the summer, this could drive home prices down by 3% year-over-year to $627,900.

Quotable: “From our experience with past recessions and real estate downturns, we are not expecting significant year-over-year price changes in 2020. Home price declines occur when the market experiences sustained low sales volume while inventory builds. Currently, the inventory of homes for sale in this country is very low, matching low sales volumes as people respect government mandates to stay at home.”

Read: The Full Article

Capital Economics April 20

Headline: Canadian Home Prices Could Drop as Much as 5% Due to Coronavirus

Summary: Despite the hot start to spring, COVID-19 disruptions are set to decrease prices in the coming months.

Quotable: “Capital Economics is “pencilling in a relatively modest fall” in house prices of 5% in the coming few months.”

Read: The Full Article

Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index (HPI) – April 21

Headline: Canadian Home Prices Expected to Lose Momentum

Summary: Teranet says it expects prices are going to start to cool after real estate boards reported a “clear break” in activity during the second half of March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Quotable: “The loss of momentum is expected to be most prevalent in the metropolitan markets located in central and eastern Canada and in cities like Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal, and Halifax.”

Read: The full article.

TD – April 29

Headline: TD Now Forecasting Toronto Home Prices to Increase By 7.8% in 2020

Summary: In light of the pandemic, TD economists expect home sales in Canada will remain below their pre-COVID-19 levels for the rest of 2020, with the numbers of transactions expected to plunge in April before gradually recovering in the months to come as the country reopens and social distancing measures ease and workers return to their jobs.

Quotable: “TD said its forecasts are subject to an “extremely high degree of uncertainty.”

Read: The full article.

CIBC – May 4

Headline: CIBC Forecasting Canadian Home Prices to Drop 5-10% Relative to 2019 Levels

Summary: CIBC economists Benjamin Tal and Katherine Judge suggests that the effects of COVID-19 on Canadian home prices won’t be fully felt until 2021, but that they will drop between 5-10%.

Quotable: “Overall, as the fog clears, we expect to see average prices 5-10% lower relative to 2019 levels, with high-cost units in the high-rise segment of the market seeing the most notable price declines.”

Read: The full article.

Altus Group – May 5

Headline: Housing Sector in Canada Expected to Rebound By End of 2020: Altus Group

Summary: Peter Norman, Vice President and Chief Economist at Altus Group, acknowledges that the second and third quarters of 2020 are going to be “disaster zones” for the housing market, but believes that as safety measures begin to lift in the months to come and consumers return to spending and investing as they usually would, he expects to see sectors to start come back very quickly – including housing.

Quotable: “We shouldn’t “underestimate how fast things come back.”

Read: The full article.

DBRS Morningstar – May 8

Headline: Home Prices in Toronto Could Drop More Than 14% By 2023

Summary: Regardless of the various income support programs from the federal government and mortgage deferral options from the banks, the rise in unemployment could lead to the inevitably of more households falling behind and potentially defaulting on mortgage payments, which could, in turn, lead to home prices falling in the coming years.

Quotable: “In the moderate scenario, mortgage arrears nationwide increase to approximately 65 basis points in 2020 and then gradually decline, while home prices fall by 10% cumulatively through 2022. The adverse scenario features mortgage arrears rising to 100 basis points and a 15% correction in housing prices by 2022.”

Read: The full article.

Home Prices and Sales Updates

MPAC toronto home sales
Photo by Matt Donders on Unsplash

Zoocasa April 1

Headline: Coronavirus Has Pushed the GTA into a Balanced Housing Market

Summary: When the sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR), which is described as “a measure of market competition calculated by dividing the number of sales by the number of new listings”, is between 40%-60% it indicates a balanced market, anything above and below that threshold reveals sellers’ and buyers’ markets, respectively.

Quotable: “The numbers recorded in March demonstrate there has been a noticeable shift in market conditions in a very short period of time.”

Read: The Full Article

CREA – April 15

Headline: Home Sales in the GTA Down Over 20% Month-Over-Month in March

Summary: According to CREA, home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems dropped by 14.3% in March 2020 compared to February. The GTA was one of the hardest-hit markets, seeing a 20.8% decline.

Quotable: “Canadian home sales and listings were increasing heading into what was expected to be a busy spring for Canadian REALTORS®,” said Jason Stephen, president of CREA. “After Friday the 13th, everything went sideways.”

Read: The full article.

Rental Market Insights

St. Lawrence Neighbourhood

Padmapper April 15

Our Headline: Average Rent for Toronto 1-Bedroom Stays Highest in Canada

Summary: The average price to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto remains the highest in Canada, despite the disrupting presence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Quotable: “With the strict social distancing measures currently in place and more residents without work as a result of the pandemic, a decline in rental market activity is to be expected.”

Read: The full article.

Urbanation April 20

Our Headline: Toronto Renters Could See Some Relief in the Post-COVID Market

Summary: The outlook for rents will largely depend on the severity and duration of the economic downturn — which remains highly uncertain at this point — and the resulting impact the pandemic has on vacancies.

Quotable: “As rental demand declines as job losses mount, incomes are reduced, and immigration shrinks, the slowing in the GTA rental market that appeared in the last half of March will progress for at least the next few quarters given the current economic outlook. The impact on rents will be something to watch, which will also be influenced by the timing of the record number of units that were expected to complete this year.”

Read: The full article.


Our Headline: Average Rent for Toronto 1-Bedroom Drops Nearly 3% in April Year-Over-Year

Summary: The average rent for a 1-bedroom reached $2,107, down 2.7% compared to April 2019. The average two-bedroom rent was ‘just’ $2,705, down 4.1% during the same time period year-over-year.

Quotable: “With the strict social distancing measures currently in place and more residents without work as a result of the pandemic, a decline in rental market activity is to be expected.”

Read: The full article. May 8

Our Headline: Apartment Rents in Canada Could Drop Following Pandemic: Report

Summary: As a result of COVID-19, Canada is seeing less immigration, fewer international students, and with the border now closed, there won’t be nearly as many seasonal and part-time workers, who are all typically renters. This coupled with’s prediction that some short-term rentals convert to long-term rentals, could lead to rents declining.

Quotable: “Renters who put off moving when the pandemic hit are now starting to resume their apartment search in the hopes that Canada’s lockdown will end in the coming weeks.”

Read: The full article. May 13

Our Headline: Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment in Toronto Drops 6% Year-Over-Year: Report

Summary: At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, there wasn’t a noticeable decline in rental rates for condominium and rental apartments… however, that changed dramatically in April as landlords responded to this lower-demand market by adjusting their asking rents.

Quotable: “With the gradual opening of the economy, this may be the low point for rental rates in some time if tenants feel comfortable enough to move.’

Read: The full article.

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Real estate sales show signs of 'uptick' – Times Colonist



The province’s phased-in approach to restarting the provincial economy seems to have had an effect on the Victoria real estate market.

Figures released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board show sales, inventory and some prices rose in conjunction with the second phase of the provincial restart plan.

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Last month, 457 properties changed hands in the region, and while that’s a 46 per cent drop from May of last year, it’s a big jump from the 287 homes sold in April.

“We are still down in terms of sales [year-over-year], but we were up from April, and we saw a real uptick after May 19, when Phase 2 was implemented,” said Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the board. “We are feeling cautiously optimistic based on the numbers from last month. And our home prices have seen a slight increase from last month as well.”

There were 2,544 active listings for sale at the end of May, up from the 2,305 available at the end of April. That is still well off the more than 3,000 available in May last year.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Victoria core last month was $885,400, up from $884,600 in April. Year-over-year, however, the price was down from $863,000. The benchmark condominium price in the core last month was $534,300, up from $533,600 in April, and $516,400 in May 2019.

“I’d say we have seen a trickle of activity, not a tsunami. People are being cautious,” said Ayers, who noted buyers want to ensure they are employed and that they can qualify for the kinds of homes they want.

Indications are Victoria’s real estate market could avoid some of the pain other markets in Canada will face this year, she said. “We believe the way B.C., the Island and the community have responded to the health crisis and our market being local, [real estate] has responded in a healthy way as well here,” she said. “Victoria is such an attractive place to live, it’s safe and the way we responded to this health crisis is catching people’s eye and they may start to think this is a good place to retire or move.

“We firmly believe we are on the radar now.”

The short-term outlook is likely to remain cautious, but Ayers said they expect to see a lot of local movement ahead of the fall school opening, and with local buyers moving up and down in the market.

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Dramatic drop in Greater Victoria real estate sales in May



There aren’t as many for sale signs up and far fewer properties are selling, as the Greater Victoria real estate market sees the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our real estate market is responding to the health crisis,” says Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) president Sandi-Jo Ayers. “For the month of May, that was a very tough month and April was as well.”
May saw a dramatic drop in the number of sales, down a whopping 46 per cent from last May, with just 457 properties selling.
“It’s surprising it’s only 46 per cent,” says Tony Joe of RE/MAX Camosun. “That sounds strange but when you think about it, we were a 58 per cent reduction in the month of April and I think many people sort of wondered if real estate would go to zero or close to zero.”
Inventory was down 15.7 per cent compared to last May, but that had prices holding steady.
Condo prices only dipped 3.7 per cent, with an average price of just over $453,000.
Single-family home prices were actually up 2.3 per cent to almost $876,000.
“The other surprising thing too is we’re seeing cases of multiple offers or bidding wars out there, which you would never expect in a time like this,” says Joe.
With restrictions easing in the last two weeks, agents say viewing requests are increasing and they’re actually getting lots of interest from Lower Mainland and Toronto buyers.
“We really are trying to be optimistic,” Ayers says. “We see we have a lot of people that want to move here, they want to sell, they want to buy and realtors on the street are talking about how busy they are getting.”
If you’re buying or selling, it will look different in phase three, with more virtual open houses, online tours, and masks and gloves for in-person showings, as well as minimizing the surfaces that are touched as real estate tries to rebound.

Source: – CHEK

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RE/MAX | Is the Toronto Real Estate Market in Trouble? – RE/MAX News



Since COVID-related closures and social distancing took effect in Canada, life as we know it has been put on pause within the city of Toronto. As one of the hottest real estate markets within Canada, many have speculated on the impact that the public health crisis will have upon this market. While it is impossible to make a definitive prediction of how Toronto’s real estate market will weather this storm, there exists a great deal of optimism that any COVID-19 impacts are expected to be temporary.

Below, we take a look at the pre-crisis market and current conditions within Toronto, to better understand the basis of the optimism, and why Toronto is poised to make a triumphant return as one of the country’s hottest real estate markets.

A Strong Start to the Year

In the first quarter of 2020, Toronto was gearing up for a spring market like no other. Demand heavily outweighed the supply of homes for sale within the Greater Toronto Area, and the aggregate price of homes was $866,211, a 7.5-per-cent year-over-year increase. These skyrocketing prices were most apparent within the condominium submarket, where values had shot up 8.8 per cent year-over-year.

Toronto Market Reaction to COVID-19

With social distancing measures imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, Realtors across the city, and the country, have been adjusting to a new normal for conducting real estate transactions. While the real estate industry was deemed an essential service and permitted to continue to function by the Government of Ontario, open houses came to a halt. In response, real estate agents have gotten creative, using interactive 360-degree tours, or live-video sessions to showcase homes to prospective buyers. When in-person tours must take place, agents are taking extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of their clients and themselves. It goes without saying, deals are no longer being sealed with a handshake.

The impact of COVID-19’s spread and social distancing measures upon the Toronto real estate market didn’t reveal themselves in the numbers until the second half of March. Going into March, in fact, the Toronto market was still on fire. According to Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) statistics, sales volumes had climbed 49 per cent across the GTA compared to the same period in 2019. By the second half of March, the tables turned and home sales dropped 15.9 per cent compared to the same two weeks of 2019.

Home prices, however, remained strong by the end of the month, with the average sales price for March up to $902,680 – an impressive 14.5-per-cent spike over March 2019. RE/MAX brokers in some of Canada’s key housing markets agree that prices are expected to hold steady, at least for the next few months. Despite softening sales activity since the outbreak, those who have listed their homes on the market are well aware of the sales prices in February and early March, and thus are continuing to hold their price and wait out the current crisis, until the wave of demand returns. Panic sales – in which sellers price low to get their home off the market – has yet to be seen within Toronto.

Stable Market Balance

According to Jason Mercer, TRREB’s senior market analyst, the buyer-seller relationship has remained consistent throughout the outbreak, and this factor helps to explain why Toronto’s market may not be in trouble after all. While sales volume has dipped, so have listings. Since the levels have been following the same trajectory, it’s unlikely that the market will flip to resemble a buyer’s market anytime soon. Mercer confirms that there are still a similar proportion of buyers vying for each remaining listing, and as long as this trend continues, there will be little incentive for sellers to budge on their price points.

A Little Less Optimism for Toronto’s Landlords

COVID-19 has dealt a sharp blow to Toronto’s landlords, particularly those operating short-term rentals, who now find themselves over-leveraged and vulnerable. Many real estate investors were reaping the benefits of Airbnb-style short-term rentals, where the profit margin was so much greater than a traditional lease. With the closing of the US/Canada border and the imposed stay at home measures, the demand for short-term rentals disappeared overnight, and now some investors are left scrambling to find tenants for their vacant spaces.

Toronto’s pre-crisis vacancy rate was two per cent, making the process of securing an available unit an incredibly cutthroat process for hopeful renters. Toronto also took the top spot as the most expensive rental market in the country, with a one-bedroom unit averaging $2,213 in rent per month (April 2020 National Rent Rankings from

Since the closure of non-essential businesses across the city in late March, many tenants are struggling to make rent payments. This will inevitably put downward pressure on demand for a brief period of time, even after protection measures have been lifted. This extra supply flooding the rental markets, coupled with depressed demand levels, means there is potential for average rental rates to decline within the Greater Toronto Area. This anticipated drop in rent prices and competition may translate to a less stressful home search for new renters, post-crisis.

On the other hand, some experts are warning that we shouldn’t count on this rental price relief; it is possible that following the pandemic, some buyers who had put their purchasing plans on hold may be reluctant to jump back into the housing market, and may elect to rent instead. This may help to balance out any loss in rental demand, preventing any significant drops in average rental price.

So many of these potential outcomes are dependent on how quickly life within the city can return to a level of normalcy. Toronto is already starting to see the re-opening of businesses, and if everything unfolds as public health experts are forecasting, we can hope to see a slow return to activity within the Toronto real estate market by this fall. Once a sizeable portion of those who are temporarily unemployed are able to return back to work, consumer confidence will bounce back and the demand that has fuelled the Toronto housing market for so long, will resurface.

Until then, keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and sane. This too shall pass!

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