stats Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


  This site         Tips

  The Web Google


  Where to Find It

Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business



Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store

Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business




  Arts & Entertainment



   Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Births & Deaths






  Facts & Arguments




  Real Estate









  Food & Dining




  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...


   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site



  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us



 Web Site

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


Toronto market shows signs of firming
According to one realtor, cautious buyers are feeling a little more confident that prices, sales won't fall further

Email this article Print this article
Friday, August 3, 2018 – Page H2

TORONTO -- On a recent July night in East York, real estate agents in their cars sat outside a semi-detached house listed with an asking price of $849,000.

The scene, said Rochelle DeClute of Union Realty Brokerage Inc., was more reminiscent of Toronto-area real estate in the spring of 2017.

By the end of the night, the sellers received 10 offers and the house sold for $1.06-million.

Ten used to be a small number of bids for a house in that price range, but by 2018 standards it's a strong turnout. Ms. DeClute sees it as one signal the market is firming.

In the past couple of weeks, Ms. DeClute's firm has sold two houses for more than $4-million.

One had been on the market for nearly four months and the other for about one month.

"The higher end had been very much at a standstill, but now it seems to be moving again."

Ms. DeClute said she had noticed more hits to the website and more appointments booked for both properties in the past couple of weeks. The house that had been on the market for a few months was attracting new interest, but the purchaser was a buyer who first looked at it some time ago.

"We did have more showings at the end for sure, and one buyer who did come back," Ms. DeClute said.

In all price ranges, the Toronto market feels more typical of late June, when buyers who have been biding their time will often make a decision before they settle into summer vacation, she said. Usually by the beginning of August, the market is drowsy.

"It's usually our quietest time ever, but we're seeing it pick up."

After a spring market that sputtered and stalled, Ms. DeClute figures cautious buyers are feeling a little more confident the market does not have further to fall. She has also seen a return of investors who had been sitting on the sidelines for the past year or more.

In recent weeks, she has heard from potential buyers who are looking for an income property.

They've decided to buy now before the market goes on another tear, she said.

The real estate portal says overseas investors from China are still interested in Canada and other countries, but there's not the hysterical rush to invest overseas that happened in 2016.

Carrie Law, chief executive at, said China-based investors feared the country's currency was facing rapid and possibly repeated devaluation amid unprecedented capital outflows in 2016. There was also serious concern about the potential for a significant slowdown in economic growth, she added.

Today, the psychology of Chinese international property investors has changed, and most are more confident Beijing can manage economic growth and the yuan, Ms. Law said.

She predicted relatively slow but steady growth in Chinese buying of overseas real estate in the coming 12 months. She added that prices for real estate in Canada may appear more affordable to Chinese investors than U.S. real estate because the U.S. dollar has strengthened more dramatically against its Chinese counterpart.

The most popular destinations for Chinese buyers are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, according to searches on

Ms. DeClute, who specializes in the Beaches and other east-end Toronto neighbourhoods, pointed out the median price for a detached house in the E02 buying area is currently around $1.289-million. At the end of July, 2017, it was $1.295-million.

"We seem to be where we were last year at this time."

The Toronto Real Estate Board's E02 area stretches from Danforth Avenue to Lake Ontario, between Coxwell and Victoria Park Avenues. It includes the Beaches and Upper Beaches neighbourhoods.

Currently, there are 44 active listings in E02, compared with 59 at the end of July last year, Ms. DeClute said.

The scarcity of listings helps to keep prices firm. It discourages more listings, however, because potential sellers are afraid they won't be able to find another property to buy.

Ms. DeClute was seeing lots of conditional offers in the spring - including some buyers inserting a clause making the deal conditional on the sale of an existing property.

Most years, Ms. DeClute said, she would advise homeowners against listing in the somnolence of summer. But this year, the buyers are circulating, she said.

"We've traditionally said, 'Don't launch in August, no matter what.' " However, her team recently listed another two properties for more than $4-million.

"There are buyers out there and they're willing to pay the money."

One change Ms. DeClute has noticed is that potential buyers expect properties to be listed close to market value, even when multiple offers are expected. The appetite for seeing a house listed with a lowball price has diminished, she said.

While bidders were lobbing offers $500,000 or more above the asking price in 2017, that kind of eye-popping premium is rare these days, she said.

A more typical scenario is that properties are listed with a fairly realistic asking price and the winning bid might come in at $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 more.

"In our industry, we're having to be more accurate in our pricing and that's a good thing."

Ms. DeClute said recent increases in mortgage rates have not deterred many buyers. Some who have preapprovals for mortgages are inclined to buy more quickly before rates possibly rise again, she said.

In addition to seeing offers conditional on the buyer lining up financing, she's also seeing offers that are conditional on the property being appraised at the sale price.

Banks are also tougher in making sure an appraiser deems the property to be worth the negotiated price, she added.

"The banks are being a little more cautious," Ms. DeClute said.

Talking to real estate lawyers and mortgage brokers, she has heard of deals where the bank's appraiser declares that the buyer paid too much. In those cases, buyers sometimes have to scramble to find another source of funding to close the gap, she said. In other instances, the buyer will try to get a second opinion with another appraiser.

"People do dispute appraisals sometimes."

And, in another twist, lenders have been known to insist on a second appraisal just before closing to make sure the property's value didn't fall between the time the deal was inked and the closing date several months later.

However, Ms. DeClute thinks the recent stability in the market will make those nerve-racking scenarios less likely.

If prices remain strong, sellers who pulled their listings in June will return after Labour Day, she predicted. She is also receiving calls from homeowners who are considering a sale in September.

"If right now is any indication, I think we're going to have a very busy fall market."

Associated Graphic

In the past couple of weeks, Union Realty Brokerage in Toronto has sold two houses for more than $4-million. 'The higher end had been very much at a standstill, but now it seems to be moving again,' agent Rochelle DeClute said.

Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Jeffrey_Simpson Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.


7-Day Site Search

Breaking News

Today's Weather


Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes

Where Manley is going with his first budget



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
Margaret Wente arrow
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game

Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
Mathew Ingram arrow
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
Andrew Willis arrow

Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
Eric Duhatschek arrow
Allan Maki arrow
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
 The Arts

John Doyle arrow
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
Johanna Schneller arrow

Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
Paul Knox arrow
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
William Thorsell arrow

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page