More vacant properties on Toronto real estate market, broker says



Since the real estate market cooled down from last year, brokers say there’s an increase in greater Toronto area homes for sale. These houses are just sitting vacant mostly due to ‘stubborn sellers’ who think they can hold out until the market returns to 2017 prices.

The President of Realosophy Realty Inc., John Pasalis, says he believes the lower cost of houses is the primary cause for all the vacant homes on the market.

After combing through several data, Pasalis found that up to 28% of the GTA properties listed as being for sale are advertised as being vacant on MLS. That number is up from the 17% it was at last year. He also added that the actual number of vacant properties is probably higher.

He noted that it is natural for vacant homes to be on the market, but stated that the rising number is most likely due to sellers who are still holding out – even after they’ve moved homes- that the price of housing will return to the levels it was throughout most of 2017.

“When house prices fell last year, it caught a lot of owners off guard,” he said. “A lot of them are really just trying to hold out for sort of those peak prices.”

Pasalis also stated that despite all that, they are still seeing more than a fair amount of sales and that most sellers have “realistic expectations” of what they can get for their properties. “I'd still say that the majority of people are pricing based on today's prices, not last year's,” said Pasalis.

In an article on CBC, he mentioned that the inventory levels in the GTA have been relatively stable. He also stated that the regions that experienced the biggest price decline in 2017 are the ones with the most increase in a vacant home.

Most of the increase in vacant homes occurred in low-rise homes, in the 905 regions, in places like Durham, Oakville, and York Region.

Pasalis noted in the article that a “fair number” of recently renovated or newly built homes are vacant. If a house flipper were to sell at today’s prices especially if they purchased in early 2017 or late 2016, they would incur financial loss.

“The market has pretty much plateaued right now,” said Pasalis, who added that there has been a decline in sales and demand.

Although it’s quite normal for the housing market to pick up in the fall, he doesn’t expect any rapid change in housing prices. However, it is still very much a sellers’ market in the GTA, he said.

Another real estate broker also shared his views on the price of housing in the GTA.

The housing market is usually at its slowest during the summer and winter months, and strongest in the fall and spring, said Andrew Ipekian, real estate broker.

“In the next two weeks you're going to find the number of listings on the market, they're going to double and triple in size,” said Ipekian.