By: Amit Dhawan

2021 CONDO MARKET REPORT

Tags: 2021 CONDO MARKET REPORT

2020 YEAR IN REVIEW:

A LOOK INTO THE REVIEW MIRROR

1 The impact of COVID-19. It created a tale of two markets – low rise versus condos. Low rise prices increased 15% and condo prices were flat down to 10%. It moved the Spring market from April to July. Sales on TRREB at 93,000 units matched the seven -year average.

2 The printing of money and low interest rates. People wanted to spend. Travel, entertainment, and clothes were out. So real estate (people could afford more) and the stock market, hard assets became popular.


2021 SALE NUMBERS

1 We are forecasting sales of 97,000 units. See Table I below for annual sales on TRREB. In 2020, we saw sales move from 416 to the 905 areas for bigger and cheaper properties with more people working from home. We expect more of a balance to the market this year as the City becomes more attractive.

2 In 2020, 416 area condo sales were 68% of all condos sold. In 2019 the percentage was 73%. We are looking for a rebound in Downtown condo sales in 2021.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

2021 PRICE FORECASTS

1 Let us start by saying that big cities are not dead. Humans are social animals and when Downtown regains its appeal, people will come back.

2 Work from home is not for everyone. Office towers will still be needed. In fact, Shopify and Amazon have just committed to lease another 200,000 sq. ft. of space Downtown.

3 In 2020, the biggest price increases were recorded in the 905 area and in particular, Durham Region.

4 In 2020, Downtown condo prices decreased by 5-10%. Low rise increased from 10-15%. That price differential will attract more end users and investors to this market in 2021.

5 To compare 2020 price changes to what we expect in 2021, see Table II below.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

2021 PRE-CONSTRUCTION MARKET

1 What may surprise many readers is that this market has been in balance over the past five years. The market has been based on a net in-migration of 100,000 people per year, requiring about 42,000 new homes, of which 33,000 are condo apartments.

 While we did not reach this level of migration in 2020, the Federal Government is determined to significantly increase migration levels. This will probably feed into the need for 50,000 plus units in the next few years which will only fuel this market.

3 Unlike the resale market, builders price units on a ‘cost plus’ basis. Over the last 10 years, condo prices are up by 150%. However, costs have risen even faster, making margins even smaller for developers. (For example, land costs are up 160%, soft costs and construction are up 100% and Government fees, charges, and taxes have increased by 413% according to Urbanation).

4 In 2020, new condo launches in area 416, averaged almost $1,300 psf. In area 905 the price was closer to $900 psf. This price differential will lead to more new condo projects in 905 in 2021.

5 Perhaps a bigger drag on the new condo market is that the price differential to the resale market is now $200-300 psf. A strong new condo market usually commands a $50-75 psf premium.

 

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

2021 WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

1 When will we reach ‘herd immunity’ with the COVID-19 vaccine? Our guess is July.

2 When will the International student return, along with increased immigration? Our guess is September.

3 Interest rates will remain low throughout the year.

2021 RENTAL MARKET

1 Without 100,000 international post-secondary students coming to the GTA, and with many ten- ants moving back to their parents’ house, vacancy rates increased to about 3% in 2020. Expect the vacancy rate to go back down below 1% in 2021.

2 The remaining tenants played ‘musical chairs’ with landlords. Moving from apartment to apartment resulted in rental decreases of over 10%, or just under one-dollar psf per month in 2020.

3 The Provincial Government has introduced a rental increase freeze in 2021 for all existing tenants. Therefore, we will see a minimum or no increase in rents in 2021. With vacant and new units available in 2021, landlords will try to move rents higher by a minimum of 5% and so expect a two-tiered rent market.