Buy or Sell? Unlocking the Toronto Real Estate Market in 2020

The world is experiencing an unprecedented pandemic, and unemployment is at an all-time high. Despite COVID-19 resulting in some of the worst months in the nation's economic history, the Toronto real estate market continues to be one thing doing quite well in a time when very few things are.

Growing Fast

Just this month, a report from Ryerson University's Centre for Urban Research (CUR) named Toronto the fastest-growing metropolitan area in all of North America. At the time of the most recent census, the Greater Toronto Area's (GTA) population had reached 6.4 million, and as of last year, Toronto proper was home to a whopping 2.7 million people.

Why are so many people flocking to the largest city in Canada, and what does this mean for the Toronto real estate market?

A Desirable Place to Live

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, Toronto ranks in the top 5 most livable cities in the world based on overall scoring across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Toronto not only received an overall score of 97.2 out of 100 but also received top scores of 100 specifically for its stability, healthcare, and education.

The city offers easy access to public transit, making it incredibly navigable for residents going to work, school, or to any of the city's popular recreational destinations without a car.

Vibrant Culture

Made up of more than 200 ethnic groups with over 140 languages spoken, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. The richness of the city's diversity is on display not only in annual music, film, and art festivals throughout the year but also in the established film industry (the third largest in North America) and the robust art scene found in the GTA.

What Does This Mean for the Toronto Real Estate Market?

Despite public health and economic concerns stemming from COVID-19 in 2020, the Toronto real estate market is still very much thriving due to the desirability of the area.

A report from GlobeNewswire outlined the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board's (TRREB) findings that, while May 2020 sales were down 53.7% compared to last year, these results showed a marked improvement over April 2020; May 2020 sales increased by 55.2% compared to the previous month.


The good news for sellers is that, for the most part, home prices in Toronto are still going for asking price or above asking price during the pandemic. Those monitoring the GTA real estate market have noticed a renewed level of competitiveness in the area, brought on by the pent-up demand of consumers living in the world of COVID-19.

While experts note that sales activity has decreased over the last few months, there has been a corresponding drop in supply. This, coupled with the demand from buyers, has resulted in a sellers' market in many areas, just as it was prior to the pandemic. While experts cannot say how long the competitiveness will last, current sales show properties experiencing bidding wars and receiving multiple-offer scenarios.


Buyers, don't beware! Despite trends indicating that Toronto is still very much a sellers' market, now is still a good time to buy. Home prices may not display a hefty discount during the pandemic, but interest rates are at an all-time low.

According to RateSpy, interest rates are now as low as 2.79% for a 10-year, fixed-rate mortgage, and an earlier June report from the same mortgage comparison site disclosed Canada's lowest-ever bank-advertised rate of 1.99% for a five-year fixed mortgage through HSBC.

These historically low interest rates, coupled with the forecast of increasing real estate prices throughout the GTA, make now the perfect time to buy in the incredibly livable, desirable Toronto area.

Looking to buy or sell in Toronto? Visit GTA Selling for trusted real estate agents who can knowledgeably and professionally guide you through the process.

4 Key Things to Know About the GTA Housing Market

Although COVID-19 slowed down housing sales in the greater Toronto area during March and April of 2020, the GTA housing market remains one of Canada's hottest. Home values are still on par with what they were a year ago, despite the pandemic, confirming that GTA remains a great place to buy real estate.

4 Key Things to Know About the GTA Housing Market

1. New Homes Are Being Built

Toronto is a desirable area to live. City planners know this, and they've been making changes in recent years to make it easier for more people to get a home of their own.

As one example, as late as 2018, the laneways were car-only, and all building projects in those zones had to be parking or garage construction. Since then, new legislation has opened up these areas, encouraging investors to turn laneway garages into gorgeous modern living spaces.

2. It Helps to Think Ahead

The process of making an offer on a property can be nerve-wracking. Ontario law requires you to make an offer in writing, and the Agreement of Purchase and Sale document is legally binding: if the seller accepts it, that's it. This document will lay out how much you're willing to pay, the deposit, the closing date, and all kinds of conditions.

Before you get to this point, think carefully about what you can afford and what you want in a home. Then talk with your agent about how you'll respond in the event of a bidding war. The GTA housing market is popular, so bidding wars certainly aren't out of the question. The process will be much less difficult if you've taken time to consider important factors before you start.

3. Renting Is Very Expensive

There are always pros and cons to both renting or buying, but in the Toronto area, the pros are weighted on the side of buying your own property. Rental prices have been going up steadily for the last two decades and show no sign of stopping.

When rents are high and property values are rising steadily, buying is an attractive prospect. Instead of handing over your hard-earned money to a landlord each month, in Toronto, it makes sense to invest it in yourself and your own future as you pay down a mortgage.

4. Be Prepared for Some Competition

People want to live in Toronto, and that means competition for desirable properties can be tough at times. That doesn't mean you won't be able to find the right property for your needs, but it does mean it makes sense not to go it alone. Buying property is a complicated task at the best of times.

When you work with experienced local agents, sellers see you as a preferred buyer. Good agents can also streamline the pre-approval process for your mortgage and help you with all the difficulties of finalizing and closing.

The GTA is a wonderful place to live, and with some help navigating the GTA housing market, you're sure to find just the right property. To get started, reach out to GTA Selling today.