No Going Back For Home Buyers + Market Braces For Reckoning

Toronto: GTA home sales are down sharply and home buyers are warned that they cannot back out of their deals as the real estate market stalls in the Coronavirus crisis.  Elsewhere: Canadian real estate braces for a reckoning, the virus crushes US homebuilding, and property markets in Asia struggle to recover. 


Corona Crisis Week 5: GTA Home Sales Down Sharply (Move Smartly)

A sharp downturn in sales is now showing up in the numbers (no surprise as buyers, sellers and their real estate agents stay home), plus a few homes have started to sell for less - so is a home really only worth what someone is willing to pay for it?

For home buyers, backing out during COVID-19 crisis is not an option (The Globe and Mail)

The partner with LLP says the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is leading to all manner of glitches between the time when a buyer and a seller sign an agreement of sale and the transaction closes.

Toronto home prices could still increase this year, despite pandemic fears (Toronto Star)

Soper said it may appear as if real estate prices have plummeted when the country goes back to work. There will be headlines touting dramatically lower selling prices. But those will likely be a few distressed sellers accepting lower prices that lower the overall average.

The hit to Toronto’s finances from COVID-19 is scary. Here’s what it means for the average homeowner’s property tax (The Star)

To put $65 million into context, it’s about equivalent to the annual revenue raised by a two per cent residential property tax increase. That kind of tax hike would cost the average Toronto homeowner an extra $61 on their property tax bill for every week this pandemic situation continues.

Toronto rent prices are finally starting to drop amid the pandemic (BlogTO)

"With most of the country on lockdown during the second half of March, the housing market is not operating normally, as most prospective tenants can't view units, existing tenants don't want to leave their homes in the midst of a health crisis, and the number of people moving will fall significantly," explained Bullpen's president, Ben Myers, in his firm's April 2020 rent report.

Will COVID-19 Change Housing Policy? (TVO)

COVID-19 cropping up in shelters has highlighted the precarious circumstances of homeless people in Ontario. Could this crisis help cities think differently about housing, both now and in the future?


Once Safer Than Gold, Canadian Real Estate Braces for Reckoning (Bloomberg)

While lockdowns, job losses and uncertainty are roiling property markets from the U.K. to Australia to Hong Kong, Canada’s situation is more precarious than most. As its oil sector shriveled in recent years, Canada’s economy became ever more driven by real estate, an industry now in a state of paralysis. Nearly one in three workers has applied for income support.

Trudeau says Ottawa, provinces in talks to reopen economy in stages (The Globe)

Talks with the provinces also continue. “Different regions of the country are at different places along the evolution of their COVID-19 curve,” he said. "Those discussions are ongoing about how we’re going to reopen the economy. It’s just that it’s going to be a while still.”

A 60-cent loonie and painful days for banks and homeowners: predictions for what comes next (The Globe)

The COVID-19 crisis is not like 2008-09. The financial crisis was a Wall Street problem that became a Main Street problem in the United States and then spread globally. The COVID-19 crisis is happening everywhere at once and Bay Street and Wall Street are playing catch-up to try and adjust.


Coronavirus is crushing US homebuilding (CNN)

"Unprecedented economic uncertainty and mandatory distancing guidelines squashed homebuyer demand and builders' ability to confidently invest in new housing projects," Zillow economist Matthew Speakman wrote in an email Thursday.

Interested in a Short-Term Rental for Social Distancing? Be Prepared to Stay Longer (NY Times)

Airbnb hosts are not allowed to use the words “Covid-19,” “coronavirus” or “quarantine” in listing titles, or to claim that their lodgings are free of the virus. But it is still easy to promote the idea of a salubrious refuge.

Renters are desperate for more help (CNN)

Losing a home is devastating even during normal times. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it becomes a public health catastrophe. Americans who lose their homes during the crisis will be unable to properly quarantine, becoming a public safety risk. The displaced will be more likely to become sick, thereby straining medical resources. They will put pressure on shelter systems, which are already overcrowded and increasingly understaffed as shelter workers begin to contract the virus.

As Coronavirus Quiets Streets, Some Cities Speed Road and Transit Fixes (City Lab)

Eerie drone footage, dispersed block parties, unobstructed wildlife wanderings: The empty streets of the coronavirus era have given rise to all manner of creative applications. They’re also being put to practical use, with several U.S. cities seizing the opportunity to accelerate improvements to their transportation systems.


Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for 'at least three weeks' (BBC)

"We know it is rough going. Every time I come to this lectern and read out the grim toll, I walk away and think of their sons and daughters going through this right now, their brothers, sisters, grandchildren, all those left behind," Mr Raab said.

Coronavirus: why property markets in Asia are struggling to recover (FT)

However, Covid-19 may be intensifying longer-term problems with the Hong Kong housing market. Property sales have been muted since bouts of civil unrest spread through the territory in the middle of last year. Compared with March 2019, when property sales hit 5,231 transactions, last month’s figures were down 26 per cent.

Top Photo Credit: Getty-istock/Tim Feng

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