THOUGH BUYERS REMAIN CAUTIOUS – AND DISCERNING
by WAYNE KARL
Prospective homebuyers in and around the GTA may be somewhat cautious with their purchasing intentions as 2021 approaches, given all that continues to unfold with COVID-19. Still, it’s clear that the “pent-up demand” many observers cite is out there, according to the NextHome Real Estate Survey. And buyers seem to be using this time of uncertainty to figure out what they want, where they want it, and what they’re willing to pay for it. And let’s just say they appear to be becoming a little more discerning.
RESULTS OF THE SURVEY HIGHLIGHT A NUMBER OF INTERESTING POINTS:
• Aside from COVID, affordability is the greatest concern among prospective homebuyers, as 33.9 per cent cite it as the top reason they may not buy a home in 2021
• Single-detached homes are the ideal home type, with 54.83 per cent saying that’s what they’re planning to buy; followed by condominiums at 21.38 per cent
• Areas outside the 416 and 905 area codes are of growing interest, as 53.29 per cent indicate that’s their target market
• COVID is giving some buyers pause, but still, 39.74 per cent of respondents, the largest group, say they plan to move forward with their plans, but are making doubly sure their finances and employment are secure; the next largest group, 24.04 per cent, say the pandemic is not affecting their plans at all
• Look, touch and feel of a potential new home are still important, as only 6.7 per cent of respondents say they are comfortable buying completely virtually
• Fully 46.3 per cent of respondents say they are planning to buy a new home or condo in 2021
• Proximity to greenspace and other natural amenities is top of mind for 51.61 per cent of buyers – the second most important determining factor after price
It’s difficult to compare the results of this latest survey with polls conducted earlier by NextHome and Condo Life, given the state of flux of the COVID restrictions and their impact on the economy and housing. But one thing is clear: When the pandemic is over, homebuyers still hope to achieve their new-home dreams – though their demands may be changing.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING
For additional context, we went to some industry experts, though not specifically on survey results
The recent lockdown won’t affect sales because we have adopted new technology to run a virtual sales office since the first lockdown.
Flato has put a lot of effort into building our name and brand in the communities we build. Now they mean more to homeowners on the home purchase journey. By providing services online, we are able to sell homes while keeping customers safe.
We suggest homebuyers use digital tools for their new home purchases and to help them stay safe during COVID-19.
Our industry is fuelled by purchasers visiting our sales offices, learning about the location, floorplans, and conversing with our sales teams about special features of the homes. At CountryWide Homes, we have made the innovative decision to provide full transparency of our homebuying experience online. Understanding many buyers are now educating themselves at home online, we’ve created a virtual sales experience powered by SaleFish consisting of virtual appointments, online pricing and complete virtual walkthrough tours of our model homes. The icing on the cake was to provide a completely safe, comfortable and touchless experience, by allowing the purchasers to sign the agreement of purchase and sale digitally while being in the comfort of their own home.
The reality is, people are doing more pre-purchase research and self-educating online today more than ever. The homebuilding industry has been lagging behind this concept for too long. The pandemic has forced many industries to become more tech-savvy with online sales platforms, which also made us more environmentally friendly; by going digital, we’ve saved tons of paperwork. In the end, buyers get a better user experience and the builder saves countless hours while reducing paper processing.
Manager, Sales and Marketing
The latest lockdown should be similar to what happened in the spring, when sales took a pause and then restarted once things began reopening.
Though this time, we are seeing end-users actively go through the decision-making process right now.
We have made our information, such as current pricelist, floorplans and brochures, much more readily available and can easily be downloaded from our website. There’s also a search function that may help buyers narrow what you’re looking for.
Our advice to prospective homebuyers is to really take a close look at layouts, as they need to suit your lifestyle today and what you had a year ago to maintain the flexibility you ultimately want in your purchase.
Vice-President, Sales and Marketing
During this second lockdown and approaching the end of the year, it reminds us once again of the severity of the COVID situation. Despite this, there is great optimism as we get ready to head into 2021. A vaccine is coming and we expect life to return to more normal by the middle of next year.
What does this mean for people looking for condos to buy today? Now is the time to buy!
It’s business as usual for us – with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. We are in the middle of two brand new launches and have exceeded our projected sales numbers. Both Dylan Condos by Chestnut Hill Developments (located on the Glencairn subway stop), and The Villages of Highland Creek semis and townhomes by Your Home Developments are set up to accommodate selling virtually. We have been conducting approximately 50 per cent of the sales online and the balance in person by private appointment
Both builders were prepared for the pandemic market with what we call “PPM” – pandemic proof measures – to help facilitate sales.
In2ition has launched more than a dozen communities during the pandemic, with exceptionally strong sales for both highrise and lowrise product.
This is a rare opportunity for homebuyers to jump into a market with great offerings of historical low interest rates as low as 1.65 per cent, and some excellent incentives being offered by developers. You want to buy your new home or investment property today – prior to the 450,000 projected immigrants entering the country, which will create even more pressure on supply and pricing.
CEO & Founder