Some Toronto realtors are seeing an unexpected surge in condo buyers scouring the market post Christmas and the return of a phenomenon not seen in months — bidding wars.
“I was shocked,” says ReMax realtor Peter Krpan who advised one couple, first-time buyers, that the softening condo market meant they could take their time and bid low on almost any downtown unit they wanted.
Instead, the couple found themselves outbid this month on their first choice, an 800-square foot condo listed for $324,000 on Queen’s Quay.
Their “backup” — an older, 660-square-foot condo on Victoria St. that had been on the market for 71 days — suddenly had three bidders and was gone before they could even put in an offer.
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After a dramatic softening in sales and prices that started last spring and was exacerbated by tighter mortgage lending rules that left many first-time buyers on the sidelines, some Toronto realtors are seeing some signs of life in a market that, by December, was virtually dead.
Bidding wars have also broken out the last two weeks in some prime Toronto neighbourhoods where the inventory of houses for sale remains low, such as the west-end Junction Triangle and the east end Beach.
Even the well-supplied condo market is facing inventory issues, say veteran condo realtors. It’s not that there’s a shortage of units, per se, especially given the recent condo boom and the dramatic softening of demand just since spring.
It’s that too much of what’s for sale now are small, poorly laid-out units, aimed at investors, rather than the average buyer, realtors say.