It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
So I have to admit, I've never read A Tale of Two Cities, but I've probably quoted that opening line several times in my lifetime. I think it may have been on my required reading list back in high school or something but I can admit I don't remember anything about it. Nonetheless, I think it more or less captures the mood of the condo market right now. And to be honest, I think replacing the word "worst" with "still great but not the best" is far more accurate. Let me explain.
Over the past couple weeks, we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of condo (and house) listings in Toronto. So much so that it actually worried some folks that the pendulum was swinging too quickly from anemic levels of inventory to a flood of inventory to the market. I mean, we're far from anything close to a buyer's market but I think it's safe to say that the days of 10-15% price increases per month are behind us. Thankfully. I'm sure there are some sellers out there who are wishing they had listed back in March or early April but markets can change on a dime and all you can do is deal with current conditions - and those conditions still heavily favour sellers. But, unlike back in March, it's not a slam dunk that you'll get a crazy frenzy on your unit or have 10 offers within a day.
Rather than tell you about my clients' adventures last week, I thought I'd just give you some facts that support why I think the market is a little choppy right now. I can't share the exact unit numbers of these properties on a public forum but I'll try to give a little colour and if you want more details, feel free to give me a buzz:
It was the best of times...
1 - 2-bed/2-bath with parking at The Vu (112 George St): Two blocks to St Lawrence Market, great building with very low condo fees. Listed for $749k last week and no offer date! Every buyer agent who saw this listing probably let out a sigh of relief seeing that. I had a client interested in this unit but he wanted to see what happens after a week or so, to see if the market had actually cooled down and then maybe try to get a deal. The result? Sold in two days for $782k. So much for trying to get a deal.
2 - 1-bed/1-bath with parking at Kings Court (230 King St E): Another popular building down the street from St Lawrence Market. Listed for $399k and held back offers. The result? Sold for $516,500 in a bidding war. Still looking for a 1-bed unit under $400k? Not happening.
3 - 2-bed/2-bath with parking at Corktown District Lofts (510 King St E): In Corktown right on King St E, just before the DVP. King streetcar is at your doorstep and you used to be able to get great value here because the location isn't quite central enough for a lot of folks. Listed for $649k holding back offers and sold for $800k with a bully offer on day 1.
4 - 1-bed/1-bath without parking also at Corktown District Lofts: Listed for $388,800 holding back offers and sold for $501k also via a bully offer on day 1.
It was the still great but not the best of times...
1 - 1200+ sq ft two-storey 2-bed/3-bath custom suite with parking at Market Wharf (1 Market St): Literally behind St Lawrence Market, this unit was pretty incredible. Listed for $1,139,900 and held back offers. The result? Did not sell and it is now relisted for $1,253,900 with offers any time.
2 - 2-bed/2-bath at The Vu (112 George St): This was actually a two-bed unit converted to a 1+den with a massive master. Listed for $699k and held back offers. The result? Sold on offer day for $690k. That's right, under ask on offer day. Dreams do come true!
3 - 2-bed/1-bath with parking at King Charlotte (11 Charlotte St): Let's take a venture to the west side for a minute. This is a hugely popular Brad Lamb building. Listed for $699k and held back offers. The result? Did not sell and now listed for $880k with offers any time. A similar unit recently sold for $850k to put things into perspective.
4 - 1-bed/1-bath without parking at Waterclub (218 Queens Quay W): Right by Harbourfront, just off York street. Clients of mine actually bought a unit here a couple month's back. Listed for $549k and held back offers. Did not sell on offer day. The result? List price remained the same and the unit ended up selling for $532,500 about a week later.
So what does this tell us? Well, it depends how you read into it. Perhaps the units that did not sell on offer day were overpriced to begin with. Or perhaps the sellers had unrealistic expectations and simply rejected any offers they might have gotten. Or perhaps maybe, just maybe, condos will start taking more than a day to sell. Imagine that!
I can probably pull a dozen examples from both the "best of times" and the "still great but not the best of times" categories during the last week alone. The good news: At least there are that many units on the market to talk about! Earlier this year I would have been scrambling for units to analyze. Today's inventory levels make for a much more healthy and balanced market. As long as those inventory levels don't keep increasing too quickly, I think both buyers and sellers should be content with the way things are right now.
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Your Toronto condo lover,