In one of the most chaotic, unpredictable housing markets in years, Toronto real estate experts see a small window this fall that favours buyers.
Right at Home Realty president John Lusink said he’s not ready to call the GTA a buyer’s market even though he expects home values to drop another eight to 10 per cent this fall, returning values to 2019 levels. His reasoning — desirable properties in the right neighbourhoods are still attracting multiple offers.
He does see a surge on the rental side of the market. In a typical September, about 28 per cent of Right at Home transactions would be leases. Last week, it was edging up to 40 per cent. “You’re seeing a whole group of buyers who may have been at their max, now relegated to going back into the rental market,” said Lusink.
As interest rates rise and home values continue to decline, worries about buyers refusing to close on deals have become increasingly common. But John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty, says it may not be as prevalent of a problem as some may think.
Those in the industry, from real estate lawyers to mortgage brokers, have reported seeing an increasing number of buyers backing out of deals months after having their offers accepted and deposits submitted. But in an analysis of Right at Home Realty’s transactions year to date, Lusink found that less than 1% of deals involved a buyer who refused to close.
“Certainly the errors and omissions insurance and Real Estate Counsel, as I’m speaking with them, they have reported an increasing volume, but under our brand, at the moment, it’s not significant enough to say there’s a huge problem,” Lusink said.
While the housing market may be cooling down, the rental market is on fire, with the price of an average unit up 10 per cent compared to last year. That has left many renters scrambling to find suitable housing.
Housing experts say rents are high across the country, primarily due to life getting back to normal after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Right now there's definitely very high demand for rentals, we are in a very busy rental market. I also think that we have a lot of people that are just moving back into the city in general." -Shay Asnani, REALTOR® at Right at Home Realty, Brokerage
We quizzed three real estate bigwigs about the state of the industry, the hottest neighbourhoods and whether a cooling market is anything to worry about.
Dream job as a kid: “An adventurer, like Indiana Jones.”
First thing you do in the morning: “Walk my dogs, Bella and Sophie.”
Secret to success: “Perseverance. In real estate, you get told ‘no’ nine times before you hear ‘yes.’ ”
Celebrity doppelganger: “Michael J. Fox.”
Toronto neighbourhood with the most untapped potential: “Bloor West Village. A lot of renewal can happen there.”
How you would improve the Toronto real estate market: “More transparency in the bidding process. Buyers are mostly unaware of how it works.”
Describe the current state of the GTA market: “We’ve seen a drop in activity directly related to an increase in mortgage rates.”
How long until it corrects? “If we’re fortunate and inflation comes under control, we might see a bit of a rebound in the fall 2023 market.”
Brokerage opened during the pandemic, but held its grand opening June 2. Even though Right at Home Realty opened in Barrie two years ago, they held off on popping the champagne until a proper celebration could be planned. As assistant manager Robin Lepine celebrated the grand opening June 2, she said she is happy they ventured into the Barrie area. "We're here to provide the best resources and work for our agents," Lepine said.
The brokerage continues to be the No. 1 in the Greater Toronto Area and now has 10 offices in the province. "We were a disrupter in the real estate industry, because realtors get to keep the commission they earn," president John Lusink said. Those agents processed more than 29,700 deals across the province in 2021. And the local housing market isn't slowing down, Lepine said.
Right at Home Realty officially opened a new Barrie branch last week. Thursday's event included a ribbon-cutting, food truck, a chance to meet the staff, and tours of the branch, which is located at 684 Veterans Dr., Unit 1.
On hand for the grand opening were Right at Home Realty president John Lusink, Acting Mayor Barry Ward and Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard.
Right at Home Realty bills itself as Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage. Founded in 2004, Right at Home is a full-service brokerage. The company has a presence in 12 regions across Ontario and a network of more than 5,800 Realtors.
- In the News