Sell Now Or Sell Later: Under Covid - 19

I often hear people talking about when to buy a house rather than when to sell a house. It is an important question to ponder as selling houses at the wrong time can damage your portfolio for years to come.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the real estate market in Toronto is going through a lot of uncertainties. Considering the current sad state of affairs caused by COVID-19, is it advisable to sell a house now? Or should you put your “Homes for Sale” plan on hold? Let’s delve deeper to understand if selling a house now would be a wise move for home sellers.

In the last 12 months, Toronto home sales have jumped 45.6% from February 2019 and 14.8% since January 2020.
Studies conducted have revealed that sales prices have doubled in eight Toronto neighbourhoods in the last five years. Moreover, 22 other neighbourhoods saw their prices rise by 50% to 99% during the same period.
And yet the Feb 2020 report has stated a falling number of listings. This could give rise to a Toronto housing bubble that the economy may not be able to save.

Scenario in real estate Toronto is still compelling as it is a highly valued housing market similar to New York City or the Bay Area of California. Thus, purchasing property in Toronto is not likely to be a disappointment in the long run. Moreover, prices of detached property will also go up owing to an acute shortage of housing, population growth, an improving economy.

House Prices Are Expected To Rise Soon According To Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (Cmhc)

The central bank has taken repeated action to reduce speculative buying – raising mortgage down payments and reducing amortization periods. This resulted in a sharp slowdown over the past two years.
However, there is now rising demand, falling inventory, and declines in construction. During 2019, dwelling starts and completions fell by 2% and 6.5%, respectively, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Listings available for purchase are now running at a 12-year low, based on figures from CREA.
In December 2019, sales activity soared 22.7% from a year earlier, a sharp turnaround from a yo-y decline of 19% in December 2018, according to CREA’s Statistical Report. Transactions surpassed the previous year’s levels across most of Canada, including all of the largest urban markets. For the whole year of 2019, total sales were estimated at 486,800 units, up 6.2% from a year earlier.
The national average home price stood at $ 500,200 in 2019, up by a modest 2.3% from a year earlier, according to CREA. British Columbia and Ontario had the most expensive housing markets in the country, with average prices of $ 699,300 and $ 606,400, respectively.
The Canadian economy was estimated to have expanded by just around 1.7% in 2019, a deceleration from annual growth of 1.9% in 2018 and 3% in 2017, mainly due to a beleaguered oil and gas industry coupled with the US-China trade tensions. Bank of Canada expects that the country’s economic growth will remain weak this year, with a projected GDP growth of 1.6%, before partially rebounding to 2% in 2021.

House Price Rises Expected To Accelerate Again According To Crea

House price growth is expected to accelerate again this year, amidst a substantial increase in demand, coupled with limited supply. The national average price forecast to increase by 6.2% y-o-y to $531,000, according to CREA’s Quarterly Forecasts.
However, there are significant regional variations –
  • Ontario is expected to post the most significant annual rise in house prices of 6.9% during 2020, to an average of $ 648,100.
  • House prices are also expected to increase by 5% in Quebec, 4.9% in Prince Edward Island, 4.5% in Nova Scotia, 4.2% in British Columbia, and 4% in New Brunswick. Manitoba is projected to post a meagre house price growth of 0.5% this year.
  • In contrast, Saskatchewan is expected to register the most significant y-o-y decline in house prices of 1.3% this year, to an average of $281,100 followed by Newfoundland (-1%) and Alberta (-0.4%).

How To Stage A Home?

When you are selling your house, it is essential to have a professional photographer. Because of the 90% of home buyers looking online – for them, this is likely the ‘first’ showing. Statistics also show that a staged home makes it easier for a Buyer to visualize the home. Below are some easy to follow tips for staging a house to sell quickly.


  • Decluttering the home (93 percent)
  • Entire home cleaning (89 percent)
  • Carpet cleaning (81 percent)
  • Removing pets during showings (80 percent)
Hence, take care of the 3Ds – Deep clean, Declutter and Depersonalize. Additionally, take care of repairs that may have been lingering for some time so that your home for sale exudes a well-maintained look.
My tips for home staging start where the high end, as my understanding is that you would have taken care of the basics. We now need to step into the next level, as home staging is marketing and you do want your home for sale to stand out in the sea of the other available properties –

1. Hire a storage unit and direct all things extra there. It helps in decluttering and makes the space feel larger and airier. Falling things, stuffed hall closets and things like a pile of shoes is highly unattractive. This also extends to your wardrobes. They should look organized so all ‘extra’ articles should be removed from the homes for sale.

2. Enhancing your curb appeal is a must as a carefully curated exterior sends out a message of well-cared-for-home and can ensure more conversions of buyers wanting a full home tour (thus increasing your chance for a sale). Simple touches like a manicured lawn, a clean driveway, an attractive front door and porch can make a significant impact.

3. Unfortunately, as most buyers are not very imaginative or creative, it helps if each room in the homes for sale has been provided with a purpose. That extra room that you just used as a storage should be staged as a home office, a guest bedroom or a children’s room, based on the requirements of the buyer demographic that you are targeting.

4. Painting the high traffic areas and maintaining a neutral colour schemes help the homes for sale look cleaner, brighter and more well maintained. It also has a universal appeal and hence helps the buyers imagine themselves in the same space. Conversely, a taste-specific colour scheme may end up alienating buyers. Additionally, decluttering the wall and opening up wall space would also add to the illusion of more significant space.

5. Appeal to all the senses through attractive warm lighting and inviting smells such as soothing essential oils (the pet odour is a definite no-no)

DIY Quick Fixes:

  • Add colourful potted flowers by the front door. Cleaning up and brightening up the front door area helps make the place inviting, a feeling that the buyer then carries inside.
  • Add extra pillows on the bed and sofa. They serve a dual purpose of livening up the décor by adding colourful accents/patterns as well as making the space feel warmer.
  • A fluffy (and preferably new) white bathrobe and white towels are reminiscent of luxurious hotels and spas. Seeing them in  homes for sale triggers a similar feeling for the buyers.
  • Keeping a pretty tray with coffee or wine on the bed in the master bedroom is evocative of the feeling of relaxing and unwinding in the space. This small mental cue will have a definite spark.
  • Setting the table in the dining room, breakfast nook, and kitchen bar with pretty place settings and centrepieces makes the home look more welcoming.
  • Attractive countertops in the kitchen and the smell of freshly baked goods exudes a homely feeling. A lovely set of containers or a bowl of citrus on the countertop would add colour. Similarly, a small well lit lamp with warm lighting would add the ‘cozy’ factor.

Professional Stagers - YAY OR NAY:

It is always advisable to review your staging plans. It results in your real estate agents as they can objectively judge and draw on their professional knowledge as well as experience.
Here we understand the value that a great home staging brings to the transaction. Therefore, we offer a complete range to dress up your home – from a short consultation with a professional stager to full-service staging services.

If you want to know more about staging your house, read my blog about the staging –




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