Are bidding wars at fault for crazy price hikes?

by Olivia D'Orazio17 Oct 2014
Agents in Canada’s largest cities say bidding wars and offer dates are being made to take the fall for the kind of rapid growth in pricing increasingly outstripping the means of even well-heeled buyers.

“There are multiple offers because there’s a shortage of product available on the market,” Bob Grant, a Re/Max agent in Toronto, tells REP. “It’s like economics 101, if there was more supply, bidding wars wouldn’t be part of the business. But there’s just no supply so sellers generally control the market, especially in more demand neighbourhoods.”

The Canadian Real Estate Association reported on Wednesday that Toronto and Vancouver showed month-over-month price increases of five per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively. Similarly, sales activity was up 5.9 per cent in Toronto and 5.1 per cent in Vancouver.

However, CREA also reported a 1.4 per cent decline in seasonally adjusted national sales. Unadjusted numbers showed a slight uptick in national home sales.

CREA president Beth Crosbie said: “Affordably priced single-family homes are in short supply in some of Canada’s hottest housing markets, which contributed to the monthly decline in [seasonally adjusted] national sales activity in September.”

But affordably priced housing is available, just in a different style of property.

“If there was more product, obviously sales would go up and that would level pricing a bit,” Grant says. “[For example], in the condo market, there’s more affordability there.”

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