toronto-condo-launches Photo: Paulo O/Flickr

It became abundantly clear by the second half of March that visions of a strong new condo buying season would not be coming to fruition this spring.

Even as the worst economic effects of the pandemic appear to be behind us and the Toronto real estate market revs back up, data continues to emerge from April and May to illustrate just how far activity fell during the height of the Canadian COVID-19 outbreak.

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Only six new condo projects launched in the Toronto region through April and May, according to figures published this week by real estate consultancy Altus Group. Nine hundred and twenty-two units were brought to market between these six projects, an 89 percent decline from the same period in 2019.

Reliably among the busiest months of the year for new condo launches during ordinary times, May 2020 saw only 175 units brought to market. This was a record low for units launched in May since Altus Group began tracking this data in 2000.

The record lows in new units launched during the spring was predictably paired with similarly dismal results on the new home sales front. Sales were down about 80 percent in April and May, according to Altus Group, with both months seeing sales totals reach record lows.

The good news is there’s still hope for 2020, even with the spring season lost. Prior to the pandemic hitting, the new home market saw an unusually busy February launch season, which has helped buoy the units launched total for the year to date.

Altus Group’s Analytics Manager Ryan Wyse also expects to see a busier than average July and August, which will help offset some of the momentum lost through the spring.

“[E]arly indicators suggest that recent project launches, including ones from June, have seen increased interest and are achieving more typical sales absorption rates, which is a positive sign for a busier summer sales season ahead,” Wyse wrote in a post on the Altus Group website.

“As Ontario continues with its reopening plan, there will be opportunities for sales to rebound later this year, assuming the deferred projects from April and May come to market later this summer alongside the planned supply.” he added.

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