Temporary Slowdown: The market experienced a temporary slowdown as the pandemic and related restrictions disrupted normal real estate activities. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures resulted in a decline in property showings, open houses, and in-person transactions.
Decreased Sales Activity: The number of home sales in Toronto decreased significantly during the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in previous years. Buyers and sellers adopted a cautious approach due to economic uncertainty and concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the market.
Decline in New Listings: The number of new listings entering the market also decreased. Potential sellers, concerned about the uncertainties and financial impact of the pandemic, held off on listing their properties. This led to a decrease in available inventory, contributing to a more competitive market.
Price Stability: Despite the slowdown in sales activity, the average home prices in Toronto remained relatively stable during the first half of 2020. While there were fluctuations in specific segments of the market, the overall prices did not experience significant declines.
Shift in Housing Preferences: The pandemic prompted shifts in housing preferences as people sought more space, home offices, and outdoor areas. Suburban areas and properties with larger square footage gained popularity, while there was a temporary decline in demand for downtown condominiums.
Increased Use of Virtual Tools: To adapt to social distancing measures, real estate professionals and consumers turned to virtual tools and technologies for property showings, virtual tours, and digital transactions. Virtual tours and online marketing became crucial in showcasing properties and facilitating remote buying decisions.
Mortgage Payment Deferrals: The pandemic led to financial challenges for some homeowners, resulting in mortgage payment deferrals offered by lenders. This measure provided temporary relief to homeowners facing financial hardship and helped mitigate the risk of forced sales or foreclosures.
Government Measures: The Canadian government and local authorities implemented various measures to support the real estate market and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. These measures included mortgage payment deferral programs, economic stimulus packages, and eviction moratoriums to protect vulnerable tenants.
Gradual Recovery: Towards the latter half of 2020, the Toronto real estate market started to recover as restrictions eased and economic activity resumed. Sales activity increased, and new listings gradually entered the market, leading to a more balanced market environment.
It's important to note that the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market were dynamic and varied across different segments and neighborhoods within Toronto. The situation continued to evolve as the year progressed, and the market demonstrated resilience and adaptability in navigating these challenges.