You want to sell your house but missed the peak of the market, now what?

Summer is typically a quieter time of year for real estate sales.

But this summer feels slower than usual, said Jennifer Scaife, a sales representative for the Desmond Brown Real Estate Team. Buyers expect lower prices and sellers only move if necessary, she said.

“It’s definitely a lot quieter … than one would expect,” he said.

The slump really started in mid-April, Scaife said, when home prices began to slide in a matter of weeks, causing shuttered deals to go to waste and sellers and buyers to pause and reassess their plans.

“Buyers, especially, are much more cautious now,” he said.

The Toronto-area market is resilient, and while buyers and sellers may err on the side of caution for now, "they are not frozen yet," said Jennifer Scaife of the Desmond Brown real estate team.

Home prices in the Toronto area have been falling for several months, with year-over-year real estate sales down 41 percent. With a large rate hike from the Bank of Canada just around the corner, homeowners looking to sell might be wondering if they missed their moment.

John Pasalis, president of real estate brokerage Realosophy, said the latest home price and sales data came as no surprise.

The combination of high home prices and rapidly rising interest rates has put pressure on some people to sell quickly, especially if they’ve already bought their next home, he said, driving prices down at a rapid pace. Month after month.

But if you feel the pressure, Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper said it’s important to look at the big picture. Most sellers also plan to buy, he said, so if he’s selling his home for a little less than he planned, chances are he’ll buy his next home for less, too.

“For most people, a correcting market is a good time to sell if they are moving sideways or moving up,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean now is the time to proceed recklessly.

The Toronto-area market is resilient, and while buyers and sellers may err on the side of caution for now, "they are not frozen yet," said Jennifer Scaife of the Desmond Brown real estate team.

With prices trending down, Soper said conditional offers are becoming more common and banks may require a second appraisal if your home is on the market for a longer period of time.

In some cases, a second appraisal just a few weeks later can result in a big price drop, Scaife said. This leaves more opportunities for conflict in the sales process.

Even if the paperwork has been signed, it’s possible that people will pull out of real estate deals or look to renegotiate during this down period, Soper said.

Now that the market is cooling down and given the uncertainty, Pasalis said more people will search, and should search, price and sell before buying.

But don’t be too quick to sell if the time isn’t right for you or your family. Scaife said this short-term correction is just that: a dip, a slowdown, but not a cliff.

After all, this is Toronto.

“Toronto is just the market that doesn’t take a hit, really,” Scaife said. While buyers and sellers may be taking this time to reassess, “they’re not frozen.”

Soper agrees with Scaife: prices can only go so far in a market like Toronto, where demand remains high. Interest rates are still relatively low by historical standards, she added, and she doubts they will hit previous highs.

“We are in a much more stable part of the corrected market now,” he said.

“Prices are rapidly falling from where they were in February and March. But they are stabilizing at a lower level because demand is still there and inventory levels haven’t gone up.”

Plus, prices keep going up year after year, so unless you bought your home at the top of the market, it’s guaranteed to have appreciated for even a few years, Pasalis said.

“It’s not like we’ve plummeted to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

Prices may take a while to recover, but Pasalis agrees that Toronto’s expensive and unbalanced market hasn’t fundamentally changed.

“There will be a floor” for this recession, he said.

The big challenge for many sellers will be letting go of the price they were hoping to sell for, Pasalis said. If you really need to sell, then waiting isn’t the best approach: swallow your disappointment, make your house stand out, and get the best price you can, he said. After all, even if he’s only owned his house for three or four years, he’s “still made money.”

So despite the stress and uncertainty, the advice remains the same: if the time is right for you, then go ahead and sell.

“It’s been a crazy two-and-a-half years and this is a period of time where it’s entirely reasonable to reflect soberly,” Soper said.

“But the underlying strength of the housing market, particularly in southern Ontario, hasn’t diminished one bit.”


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