City needs more inventory, says sales agent

by Neil Sharma25 Oct 2017
Victoria Sliwa of Century 21 Regal Realty Inc. is a 10-year veteran sales agent who mainly operates in Toronto’s vast west-end who says there’s a major dearth of housing inventory in the market.

“I don’t think there’s enough housing for anybody that’s coming here,” she said. “By 2040, the population is supposed to double. We definitely need more inventory.”

While Sliwa sells all residential real estate, she’s most active in the detached market sector, which has one of the lowest available inventories in the city. The laws of supply and demand have kept prices stratospheric and forced buyers into condominiums large enough to accommodate their growing families – and where the detached market was replete with bidding wars until only recently, the same thing is occurring in the high-rise segment, particularly if the building is along a transit line.

“People have to buy smaller because they can’t afford the housing,” said Sliwa. “There are still bidding wars going on for the bigger units.”

“There was one going on the other day with three offers for a two-bedroom-plus-den. People have to turn to that because they have no choice,” continued Sliwa, who added the unit was near a subway station in Etobicoke’s Kipling and Dundas neighbourhood. “It’s an easy commute if you work downtown, and they’re a bit cheaper. Luxury units aren’t the only ones getting multiple offers; it’s also happening with the cheaper ones because people can’t afford homes. You can still get a house under a million dollars in Toronto, maybe not in the best neighbourhood, but people don’t even have that much to spend anymore. Think of what people are able to buy, a $500,000 home, maybe? For that, they have to turn to a condo.”

Sliwa says the government’s intervention this past spring was too sudden and hurt a lot of buyers and sellers, but she nevertheless believes prices were out of control and needed to be cooled.

“I definitely think it was a good thing that it cooled off, but it was too quick and too drastic,” she said. “A lot of people who had already purchased homes couldn’t sell theirs, and ended up having to sell for a lot less. That took a big toll on a lot of people.”

Sliwa is holding out hope that the rumblings she’s heard are true and that there won’t be another interest rate increase before the end of the year. If the Bank of Canada holds tight and decides no more increases are needed, she expects a renewed frenzy of activity.

“Well, nobody really knows 100%, but I think we’re going to start picking up,” Sliwa continued. “It depends on what the banks decide to do, as well. There just aren’t enough buyers anymore, and people are sitting back and waiting to see what happens. If the interest rate doesn’t increase again, by spring time the market will pick up.”

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