House sales up sharply despite pandemic making buying more stressful

Virtual tours of houses aren't enough for buyers

Real Estate markets soars in Toronto during the Pandemic.
The housing market is soaring, according to realtors. Unsplash Images

While the pandemic has turned the world upside down, the real estate market in Ontario is seeing a rise in sales. 

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board released a market report Feb. 8, stating the average selling price of a property has gone up by almost 15.5 per cent since January 2020. 

“The 33 years I have been in business, I have never seen the market this hot,” says Mike Clarke, a realtor who deals in the GTA. “What the agents are comparing it to is 2017 at this time, when the government stepped in to slow the market down. It’s unbelievable, ” 

However, the pandemic’s health and safety protocols have been robbing first-time home buyers from the house-hunting experience.

Ammara Mahmood, a Torontonian looking to buy a house, said she finds it stressful.

“The whole process has been very overwhelming as a first-time home buyer and on top of that ,if you get put into a situation like this in a pandemic, it’s not easy,” Mahmood said.

Now that house listings are online, people can see pictures, videos and attend virtual open houses through Facebook live streams or Facetime calls.

However, many buyers believe that various aspects concerning the property can’t be seen through a screen

Victor Vera, who is helping his parents find a new property, said that even though you can see pictures of what you are interested in, certain features cannot be captured, such as the mouldings or the ceilings. 

“My parents don’t like the virtual scenario,” he said. “This is going to be the fourth property that my parents will be purchasing. They have always gone in physically to look at the house, especially because my mother is so meticulous with everything, she notices every single detail. So if the crown moulding isn’t perfect, she doesn’t want the house.”

According to TRREB, the residential transactions have gone up 52.4 per cent since January 2020.

‘Are we making more money? Not necessarily. But are the houses being sold quicker and for more money? Absolutely!’

— Patrick Rocca, realtor.

“So right now, there is no inventory and there is a ton of demand, so if you have a listing, it’s gone in five days,” said Patrick Rocca, a listing agent in the GTA.

“Are we making more money? Not necessarily,” Rocca said. “But are the houses being sold quicker and for more money? Absolutely! Because there are more buyers but there is less product. It’s simple economics.”

He adds that even though the lack of supply is historically low at this time of the year, it is even lower this year and he doesn’t see it going anywhere anytime soon because of the pandemic.

Realtors agree the market right now is great for sellers because of high demand and low supply.

Unfortunately for buyers, the competition is fierce, leading to people willing to pay more for a property and ending up far above the asking price.

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Posted: Feb 20 2021 9:01 pm
Filed under: News