Photo: Lucas George Wendt / Unsplash

Following a bumpy ride in 2020, Toronto’s resale condo market has seen sales surge in recent months.

With fewer post-secondary students living downtown, immigration at a standstill, and more buyers and renters migrating to the suburbs, Toronto’s condo market experienced a decline in buyer demand just as a wave of new listings hit the market.

In the last weeks of 2020 and into early 2021, the tide began to turn. The ‘416’ condo market rapidly rebounded, posting a 63 percent annual sales gain in February, according to the latest numbers from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).

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To understand how this resurgence is also impacting the city’s new construction condo segment, Livabl looked at BuzzBuzzHome buyer inquiry data for Toronto-based condo projects to see how buyer interest in new condos has ebbed and flowed since the pandemic began.

BuzzBuzzHome supplied monthly totals for condo buyer inquiries sent through the site from February 2020 to February 2021.

In February 2021, buyer inquiries for new construction condo projects in the City of Toronto outpaced those submitted during the same time period in 2020. Last month, 1,851 inquiries were sent by BuzzBuzzHome users, an 11.6 percent year-over-year increase from February 2020.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, new condo inquiries in Toronto quickly dropped by 28.9 percent from February to March as sales centres closed and disruption rippled throughout the real estate market. By April, inquiries hit one of their lowest points of the year, decreasing by 31.3 percent month-to-month. Around this time, some new home developers decided to postpone their springtime launches, while the resale market grappled with one of its worst-performing spring seasons in recent memory.

As COVID-19 cases began to fall in the early summer, inquiries for Toronto condo projects improved. In May, inquiries climbed to 1,342, up 65.8 percent from April, followed by 1,060 inquiries in June and 1,623 inquiries in July.

From this point, buyer interest in new condos tapered off as the number of inquiries decreased on a monthly basis between July and November. The number of inquiries from July to August dipped by 20 percent, and from September to October by 26.6 percent. A lack of new condo launches, red-hot single-family home sales fueled by low interest rates, and an urban exodus to the Greater Toronto Area’s suburban communities were a few of the factors that caused slower sales in Toronto’s new condo market last year.

After a low in November, at 666 inquires, interest quickly ramped up into the new year. After posting 870 RFIs in December, the number of inquiries increased to 1,555 in January 2021 and 1,851 in February.

Optimism around Canada’s vaccine distribution, renewed real estate investor confidence, a reinvigorated resale market and more supply hitting the market are set to keep new condo sales climbing through 2021.

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