Condo market booming back after slump during COVID-19 pandemic

It appears the condo crash of 2020 is over. After cooling right off at the start of the pandemic, prices are once again on the rise. Shauna Hunt with what this means for first-time home buyers trying to break into in market.

By Shauna Hunt

After condo sales cooled off at the start of the pandemic, sales are once again through the roof.

It’s another obstacle for first-time buyers who may have turned to condos as a relatively affordable option, while semi-detached and freestanding home prices across the GTA show no sings of slowing.

There has been a 71 per cent increase in sales between January and August 2021 over last year. During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led many homebuyers to look for detached homes with more space.

Real Estate Broker Frank Leo also said people have started to return to the city.

“Initially there was a scare,” he explained. “Condo owners didn’t have the space they wanted, they were scared of the elevators. They didn’t have the amenities and were still paying the fees so obviously that wasn’t ideal.”

However, he said an escape to the country, or the suburbs, didn’t work out for everyone.

“It wasn’t all they though it would be,” he noted. “The city has a lot of amenities and entertainment for people to enjoy. As we open up, those are highlighted in a condo lifestyle.”

Facing those trying to return, or get their start, is the average price of a condo. It sits at just under $700,000, compared to the more than $1 million for a single-family home.

“I think it’s a hard pill to swallow for some that a one-bedroom [plus] den, maybe a two-bedroom, if going for $688,000,” said Leo. “It’s all about supply and demand.”

Leo says he doesn’t see the price of homes in Toronto changing any time soon.

“Get into the market because right now with the shortage of inventory, prices can’t go down. Unless something changes, this is not going to change in the immediate future,” said Leo.

The housing market was a hot topic on the federal campaign trail back in September, with the Liberals promising to end blind bidding, and pledging to increase the amount of properties available, among other proposals.

“That’s a longer-term process. If that happens, that’s great,” Leo said. “I don’t think it will happen right away because it takes more time to go through the building process and build the inventory.”

Meanwhile, many are turning to family wealth for help breaking into the market. In the past year, Canadian parents have given their adult children more than $10 billion dollars to help buy a home with the average gift of $130,000 for a down payment.

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