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In Ontario, real estate buyers are holding out for a price cut – The Globe and Mail

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A house for sale in the Riverdale area of Toronto on Sept. 29, 2021.Evan Buhler/The Canadian Press

The stalemate that is taking hold in the Ontario real estate market right now arises from a belief that is becoming more entrenched each month: buyers reckon prices have farther to fall.

House hunters see properties in some areas selling at 15 per cent or so below the high-water mark set in the first quarter and decide to hold off for an even steeper discount. Sellers either refuse to budge or feel the landscape shifting under them and rush to complete a transaction before more ground crumbles away.

The war in Ukraine, stubborn inflation and the rise in interest rates have precipitated a much more tumultuous real estate market than industry watchers were predicting even a few months ago, according to John Lusink, president of Right at Home Realty.

Mr. Lusink says sales for June are set to come in about 26-per-cent below even his conservative projections at the start of the year, continuing a trend that has been on a downward slope since February.

“We can throw that forecast out the window,” he says of his projections for 2022.

The landscape is the same across the Right at Home network, which spans 12 regions of Ontario.

The number of listings, meanwhile, is gradually increasing after a slow spring, he adds.

Mr. Lusink expects the final tally for Right at Home’s sales in June to show a 37-per-cent drop from the same month last year.

“It’s, needless to say, concerning.”

Rishi Sondhi, economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, points out that sales and prices have fallen disproportionately in Ontario and British Columbia, where prices climbed the most during the pandemic. The retrenchment in activity is especially hard in the Greater Toronto Area, where investors have played a particularly large role in the past year.

The downturn is part of a worsening picture across Canada, as sales and prices continued to decline in May under the weight of higher interest rates, Mr. Sondhi points out. Some sales were likely pulled forward to late 2021 and early 2022 as people braced for higher rates, he adds.

The economist says some GTA buyers also likely purchased new homes before selling existing properties, expecting the market would remain hot, he adds. Those sellers may be forced to accept lower prices now in order to complete the new deal, but he expects that dynamic to run its course before too long.

Mr. Sondhi is forecasting a continuing decline in prices throughout the rest of the year as a reflection of sharply higher interest rates.

Alongside the buyers betting that prices will slide, Mr. Lusink says, stands another cohort ready to buy – but the task has become much harder with the rise in rates. One buyer Mr. Lusink spoke with recently had obtained a fixed-rate mortgage at 4.3 per cent, which is almost double the rates buyers were able to lock in just a couple of years ago.

The mortgage “stress test” requires borrowers to show they can handle mortgage rates approaching seven per cent and above, he points out.

A recent survey commissioned by Right at Home also shows a shift in attitudes: Only 19 per cent of potential first-time homebuyers in Ontario plan to buy in the next two to three years, compared with 30 per cent who planned to buy in 2021, according to the study.

The percentage of homeowners planning to sell who are doing so to take advantage of current market conditions increased to 23 per cent this year from 11 per cent last year, the data shows.

The Maru Public Opinion Survey polled 813 Ontario adults in May and has an estimated margin of error of plus or minus three per cent 19 times out of 20.

In Burlington, Ont., real estate agent Tanya Rocca is already seeing homeowners preparing properties for sale before the fall market arrives.

“It’s very busy right now,” says the agent with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services. “People are panicked.”

Ms. Rocca says prices in the area which have dropped between 12 and 15 per cent from the February peak.

The average price of a freehold property dropped to $1.431-million in May in Burlington, she says, compared with the $1.51-million buyers were paying in April and the $1.6-million in February and March.

Homes on Bessborough Drive in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood on May 11.Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

The affluent city, which sits on Lake Ontario west of Toronto, was one of the many communities that saw a large influx of buyers during the pandemic as people sought more space. Burlington’s historic downtown core and large selection of detached houses with pool-sized lots have made it very popular with families.

Ms. Rocca says many buyers didn’t even have a chance at a house in the midst of ferocious bidding wars; now people have their choice of properties.

Some current sellers have been caught in the market transition, Ms. Rocca adds, because they bought a new property before selling an existing one.

“Buyers, in fairness, are getting the power back – which they love,” she says. “There are great opportunities out there because people need to sell.”

Ms. Rocca was shocked at some homeowners earlier this spring who were disappointed on offer night when they received bids that came in $300,000 or $400,000 above the asking price.

“People were debating whether they should take it.”

She recalls one pair of homeowners with a home backing onto a golf course who listed their property with an asking price of $2.5-million. The sellers were disappointed they didn’t receive a hefty amount above asking.

“They got their asking price literally the week things started to shift,” Ms. Rocca says. “They were so close to not taking it.”

As the summer begins, it’s not uncommon to see listings sitting with 30 to 50 days on market, she adds.

In the current environment, Ms. Rocca recommends setting a price near the realistic market value. She often “sharpens” it a little bit to make it more attractive compared with other competing properties in the area.

To help homeowners come to terms with the new reality, she stresses that first-quarter prices were the result of an overheated market – not an accurate reflection of value.

“This is not money they’ve lost – they never had it.”

Ms. Rocca says some people who purchased properties in Burlington at the beginning of the pandemic are now being called back to offices in Toronto. With more cars on the road and the price of gas skyrocketing, many are reluctant to commute.

“People were making such rash decisions during COVID,” she says, adding that some of those folks are now selling and moving back to the GTA.

With such an extended run-up in real estate prices while rates were low for years, the market in Ontario saw a few blips but no real correction, she points out. A move to restore balance is healthy, in her opinion.

“I think we’re going through a cycle right now which is very much needed.”

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Brampton man attacked by machete, axe-wielding suspects | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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Graphic content warning: This story contains details readers may find disturbing.

A well-known real estate agent and media personality in Brampton, Ont. was viciously attacked in broad daylight in his own driveway by three men, two of whom appeared to be wielding an axe and a machete.

Peel police said it happened at around 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 4 in the area of Hurontario Street and Mayfield Road.

In video obtained by CTV News Toronto, the victim, who has been identified by family as Joti Singh Mann, is seen approaching his white Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. As he is getting settled in the driver’s seat, he is approached by an axe-wielding suspect and slams the door shut.

Video shows the suspect swinging his weapon in full force at the driver-side window—breaking the glass on impact and removing the window completely on the second swing.  

As Singh Mann opens the door, two other suspects enter the frame, one of whom is armed with what appears to be a machete.

The three men, dressed in black and wearing masks, are seen savagely attacking the man while they pull him out of his vehicle.

Mann attempts to escape his attackers by running behind the vehicle, where he is caught and attacked for another 30 seconds before a woman, who has since been identified by CP24 as Mann’s mother, exits the home to intervene.

Once the suspects flee, Mann’s mother can be seen running to her son, who is not seen for the remainder of the video.

Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after the incident. Peel police could not speak to the extent of Mann’s injuries, but said he is currently in stable condition.

Mann is a well-known real estate agent in Brampton and frequently appears on his own podcast in which he discusses ongoing issues in India.

Speaking to CP24, Brampton Councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon said he has visited Mann in hospital and that his injuries include an amputated big toe, the loss of mobility in one of his hands, and that he has received upwards of 25 stitches.

“A lot of people are questioning the safety in this city,” Singh Dhillon told CP24, adding that this is the third attack on a Punjabi media personality in Brampton in the last year. In fact, Mann’s mother told CP24 that her son had received a threat while he was recording a recent episode of his podcast.

“A lot of people are also questioning the freedom of the media to report and do their commentary. So we’re looking forward to getting more information from police as they do their investigation.”

Investigators tell CTV News Toronto that the incident was targeted and not related to a carjacking, but that the motive behind the attack is not known at this time.

No arrests have been made.

‘THIS WAS CLEARLY ATTEMPTED MURDER’: BRAMPTON MAYOR

In an interview with CP24 Wednesday afternoon, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown praised Mann’s mother’s bravery while condemning the attack in the strongest terms.

“The courage of the mother to face these criminals—this was clearly attempted murder,” Brown said.

“She showed incredible courage and her heroic actions probably saved her son’s life.”

Brown said he is in communication with Peel police and that they have “very strong leads” on the suspects involved.

In the meantime, Brown underscored freedom of the press and reinterred that no one should feel intimidated for sharing their ideas.

“Whatever topics this podcaster was speaking about, the notion that someone could try through violence to silence them is criminal behavior that can never be tolerated,” Brown said.

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Niagara real estate market 'in line' with nation's – Welland Tribune

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With no crystal ball to help forecast Niagara’s real estate market, it remains difficult to tell what the future holds.

Since April, the number of sales and the benchmark price of a residential home have steadily decreased across all Niagara communities.

Niagara Association of Realtors reported that trend continued in July, with sales falling 23.6 per cent month-over-month, to 369 from 483, and average price decreasing 4.9 per cent, to $716,500 from $753,200.

“We’re still looking to see where the market is going to end up, as far as lower prices,” said association president Jim Brown. “I expect (numbers) to go down by another five or per cent and then see where it levels out. Obviously, it will be contingent on whether the bank rate goes up anymore but all is expected to start settling down very shortly.”

As the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate (four times since March) in a battle to fight rising inflation, real estate markets across the country have seen the return of a balanced marketplace.

Bigger markets, such as Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton, are experiencing bigger dips overall, but Niagara is “in line with what’s happening nationally,” said Brown.

As sales and prices dropped over the past few months, the number of new listing continued to increase. That ended last month with the association reporting a drop of 23.5 per cent in the number of new listings in July, to 1,174 from 1,534 .

The month also saw a large rise in the number of days a listing stayed on the market, increasing 61.9 per cent month-over-month.

In April — the first month since October 2019 that saw prices decreases — the number was at 14 days.

After single-digit increases month after month, July saw days on market jump to 31 days from 19.

“We’re finding that buyers seem to be holding back and I think they’re anticipating, much like we are, that prices may go lower, and even if the interest rates go up, I still think it might be an advantage for them to buy in this market,” said Brown.

“There seems to be an awful lot more inventory than what’s being sold so there is choices there.”

As the market balances out, Hamilton and Toronto have seen an increase in the number of terminated listings — either listings being cancelled altogether or re-listed at lower prices. In Toronto, a report from Strata.ca, which focuses on the Greater Toronto Area condominium market, saw 2,822 listings terminated in June alone, a 643 per cent increase from January.

Niagara Association of Realtors said it was unable to pull accurate statistics on terminated listings here, but Brown said he is starting to see sellers adjust their mindsets. Properties are being listed at prices more in line with what the market is dictating, understanding the time of multiple offers and selling for more than asking prices is over.

“I think those days are pretty much gone so if anybody’s been on the market for a couple of months they should be at least thinking about pulling off the market and re-evaluating where their house value is,” he said.

In July, all 10 Niagara jurisdictions of the Niagara Association of Realtors reported decreases in the number of sales, average price and number of new listings.

The average days on market also went up across all 10 areas, with the largest increases coming in Pelham (to 33 from 15), Fort Erie (41 from 20) and Niagara-on-the-Lake (41 from 23).

Year-over-year Niagara’s real estate market remains high, with the average price of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home up 9.9 per cent from July 2021, to $716,500 from $652,200.

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Which GTA region has seen the biggest decline in real estate prices since February market peak? – Toronto.com

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Real estate prices across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have taken a pounding since reaching record highs in February.

In February, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reported an average GTA sale price for all dwelling types combined of $1,334,544. In TRREB’s July report, that average fell to $1,074,754 — a 19.5 per cent decline in just five months.

Prices have fallen further in some areas than others, with Durham Region leading the way with a 26.6 per cent decline. Southern areas of Simcoe County were a close second with a 24.8 per cent decline in average prices, followed by York Region at 19.7 and Peel Region at 19 per cent. Real estate prices have fallen 18.1 per cent and 15.8 per cent in Halton Region and Toronto, respectively.



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Graph showing average sale price for all dwelling types combined in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton Region, Durham Region and parts of Simcoe County between February 2022 and July 2022.




Durham Region led the way in price declines for detached homes, seeing a 29.1 per cent decline, followed by Toronto and Simcoe County both at 26.9 per cent. Detached units sold for 20.7 per cent less on average in July compared to February, while detached ditched home in Peel Region have dropped 20.3 per cent and 19.9 per cent in Halton Region.



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Graph showing average sale price for detached homes in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton Region, Durham Region and parts of Simcoe County between February 2022 and July 2022.




Semi-detached homes broke down a little differently. Durham also saw the steepest decline for that segment at 25.8 per cent, followed by York at 25.4 per cent and Peel at 25 per cent. Semi -detached home prices in Halton declined by an average of 22.9 per cent, with Simcoe seeing a 15.5 per cent drop followed closely by Toronto with 15.4 per cent decline in average price for semi-detached units.



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Graph showing average sale price for semi-detached homes in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton Region, Durham Region and parts of Simcoe County between February 2022 and July 2022.




Condo apartment prices have fared a little better in most regions outside of Simcoe, which has seen condo prices tumble 35.2 per cent since February. Durham condo apartments have lost 17.3 per cent in value over the past five months, with Peel Region and York Region condos seeing 15.3 and 13.5 per cent declines, respectively.

Toronto condos fared a little better, seeing only a 9.5 per cent decline between February and January. Condos in Halton Region have held their value the best so far, only declining by 4.2 per cent.



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Graph showing average sale price for condo apartments in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton Region, Durham Region and parts of Simcoe County between February 2022 and July 2022.




The table below shows a breakdown of how much the average price for all dwelling types combined in all cities and towns monitored by TRREB have fallen since the GTA market peaked in February.



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Table showing how much average real estate prices have fallen since peaking in February 2022 in all GTA markets monitored by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.




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