People are wondering how the Toronto resale home market is going to develop this year. I had an opportunity to interview Toronto realtor Laurin Jeffrey to get his perspective. Laurin provided a brief bio about himself below and you can find out more information by visiting his website.
Laurin Jeffrey is an opinionated Toronto real estate agent with a passion for all things old and new. From the conversion and re-use of old factories and warehouses as lofts, to infill homes with miniscule ecological footprints. Moving from simple listings and sales, he is now looking to expand into development and the creation of unique and modern urban residences. For more information about Laurin’s services, please visit www.jeffreyteam.com.
1) What do you anticipate as the most significant factors that will impact the Toronto resale home market this year?
2013 is going to see the return of those who were shut out last year because of the new mortgage rules. The bottom 15% or so of the market was suddenly denied financing because the shortened amortization suddenly chopped about $55,000 off what they could afford. Rather than lower their expectations, many of them chose to lay low and save up more money. This year, they will return. We have already seen it, with January 2013 sales almost the same as January 2012 – no more 17% drops. And even halfway through February we have seen sales fall more than 8% – but listings are down almost 11% so it works out to a bit of an increase. As soon as spring hits, mark my words, March through May will be dominated by crazy bidding wars and we will be right back to the chaos we have seen in previous years. Maybe this will be the final year for the doomsayers, all the crackpots predicting 25% price drops. Can they all just go away now?
2) What do you see as the up and coming Toronto neighbourhoods?
East end, east end, east end. From Parliament to The Beaches, the east is going to be the beast for the next few years. From the West Don Lands to the Pan Am Games, Regent Park to condos in The Beach… there is SO much happening in the east end in the next few years. If I were buying a place to live, I would look to Leslieville for decent prices, Riverdale if I had more to spend. Investment condos in the West Don Lands, now before everything is finished and the prices jump. Anything in any of the new mid-rise boutique-y buildings along Queen East in The Beaches, especially for downsizers or those looking for condo life in a proper neighbourhood (read NOT CityPlace).
3) Do you see any changes occurring this year in the way that agents market their listings?
Not really. No matter what anyone says, MLS sells properties. Period. I don’t care about your TV spots, your Toronto Star ads, your 182 websites. It takes another agent to sell your property – and they are looking on MLS. I don’t think I have ever seen another agent’s spam email and managed to get one of my purchasers to buy it. My people tell me what they want, then I check MLS. And I do that every day until I find them something. The internet has already taken over real estate, there is very little else to be done there. Maybe some will experiment with mobile sites and whatever attempts to connect with their signs. Maybe some more Facebook and Twitter, but I am not sure it will relate to listings as much as client acquisition. I know I am launching a major campaign soon, but all online. I thought print ads and flyers would fade away, but I am not seeing that. More and more agents on billboards, good lord they must have a lot of money to waste or a rather massive ego…
4) What advice do you have for sellers trying to decide on which agent to use for the sale of their home?
Talk to a few and go with the one you feel the best about. We can all brag about sales stats, neighbourhood knowledge, buyers in our pockets (which is such a load) and all of that. But at the end of the day, you are going to have a relationship with this person and you need to like them and trust them. Do you want a braggart? Do you want someone negotiating for you who drops their commission as soon as they are through your door? If they give up their own money that fast, what will they do with yours? Suits and cars do not make the person, the person makes the person. Ask pertinent questions, but also take some time to simple shoot the breeze, get a feel for them as a person. I know I am who I am, and I do not put on airs for listing presentations. You hire me for being me, or you don’t. Some don’t like my style, and that is fine with me. Many do like how I work – and we have had great success and long lasting relationships.
5) What are the top two things that sellers need to keep in mind this year?
Don’t. Be. Greedy. Yes, we still have a strong market, but it is not strong everywhere. Some properties will sell fast, some will not. Some will go over asking, most will not. You have to be realistic and work with your agent. You have hired this person for their expertise, listen to them and work with them. Do not pretend you know more than they do, you don’t. This is what they do for a living. They are going to try to get you as much as they can, as fast as they can. If you have a house in a hot area, you will sell fast and for top dollar. If you have a CityPlace condo, or Liberty Village condo, you will be competing with many others who have the same thing as you. You will have to drop your price and it could take a while to sell. This year will be about managing expectations when it comes to prices and time on market. But, with a good agent – one that you listen to, you should have no problems at all.