Real Estate has long since proven to be a lucrative investment for most Canadians. Over the years some Canadians have aimed to become a home owner, while others seek to become serial investors. Toronto (GTA) over the last decade has shown significant growth in Real Estate Development, with big celebrity names and foreign investors taking heed.

  

Canada has held strong over a decade now since our last recession that took place in 2008, that was historically known as “The Great Recession.” While the recession lasted just about seven months in Canada, it left devastating effects on our economy. That said, Canada’s records show that the last 2 recessions we’ve experienced being; 2008-2009, 1990-1992, were both considered “Category 4’s.” Which on the scale is pretty bad, but not the worst. Recessions are a natural part of the economy, however predicting when one will happen isn’t down to a science. Some seem to think our record breaking, over 10-year recession-free run, may soon be over with COVID-19 on the attack. 


Now let’s dig a little deeper. What classifies a recession? A recession; is a prolonged period of time in which an economy’s activity declines. This is usually measured over 2 quarters of negative growth. Some indicators that the Government look for when determining a recession are; Yield Curve (Interest rates on bonds and treasury), Labor Market (Job growth/loss/unemployment rate, wage inflation), and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth; which represents the markets value of goods and services produced within our country at any given time. Of course there are more factors, however the above mentioned are just a few of the major indicators. Real Estate stats are viewed as an indicator as well. Being that we are still in fairly early stages of it all, it is difficult to determine what the long terms effects may be. So let’s asses the market more closely and determine some of the effects we’ve seen so far! 


According to the stats I found on the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). The Market for most of the first quarter of 2020, was undeniably Hot. January and February’s numbers weren’t too far off, from the inflated numbers we were seeing back in 2017. Most of you may remember 2017 was what us real estate professionals refer to as a, “Super sellers' market.” Which occurs every so many years. That year homes were selling like hot cakes. Buyers found themselves in bidding wars and the winner was usually left to pay a heavy price tag above market value. Some of those homeowners are still trying to recover from that today. We saw a lot of that same behavior happening in the market in the earlier months of 2020. Inventory was low and buyers were being forced to compete, which drove up the number of offers on each property and ultimately the purchase price. I’m sure most of us Realtors were preparing for an active spring. Then came COVID-19, reminding us all that the market and the world as we know it, can be unpredictable.  


March 2020 ended strong all things considered; as COVID-19 was still in its early phases for Canada. We closed March with; 8,012 total complete transactions, an increase of 12.3% compared to 2019, with an average selling price of $902,680 overall, showing a year-over-year increase of 14.5%.  


Now fast-forward through to all of the closures, social distancing, and other measures being ordered by our government. The Toronto market has definitely been impacted, according to data assessed from Mid-March to the end of April. Let’s put that into some perspective, shall we? TREB reported that most of March’s sales activity happened in the first two weeks. From March 15th to the end of March we saw a 18.4% decline compared to end of March last year.  

Now let's take a look at April’s numbers that were released just days ago. April closed the month with a total of 2,975 transactions (Down 42% from March & down 67% compared to 2019), with an average selling price of $821,392, which is down 0.1% year-over-year. The number of new listings to hit the market is probably the most interesting; The total number of new listings in April 2019 was, 17,212 and total number of new listings for April 2020 were 6,174, down 64% year-over-year. That is insane, I know! It would lead some to believe we are in for some big trouble, possibly a recession? Well what can we learn from this data?  


Let's break it down... we saw that January, February, and half of March were hot. The second half of March declined and continued to decline through April. The amount of overall sales happening in the GTA declined. Number of new listings up for sale declined, BUT March showed a 14.5% increase in the purchase price. Also, a 0.1% increase for April. What this means to me is people are still confident in Real Estate! The slowdown in transactions reflects what is happening right now in the world. People are unsure of what move to make. All the uncertainty surrounding us would of course force people to carefully evaluate their position and even halt their plans to buy or sell completely. Asking themselves, “Is it worth the health risk?” and/or ” Should we wait for more data?” The important thing is the numbers are still holding strong. Yes, they have declined, however we are not in the negatives. The value aspect is still there in the mind of the consumers. We are already making efforts to re-open businesses etc., and depending on how it goes we may see an increase for May and/or June. The consumer’s confidence has been challengedhowever as the fear begins to subside in the minds of our society, I have faith that confidence will be restored in the marketplace and buyers/sellers will be eager to get back out there. 


To conclude, will Canada see another recession caused by this COVID-19 Pandemic? The short answer is, I really cannot say for certain. As we’ve learned, the market as well as the economy are at times very unpredictable. Unlike the 2008-2009 recession, which lasted 7 months for Canadians. We have in my opinion this time around, managed to mitigate some of the problems that could lead to that end result. We’ve been working vigilantly on implementing protocols and procedures that will hopefully help with getting us back on track as a country, sooner rather than later. While I understand things seem a little murky right now - with job uncertainty, future health concerns and contradicting media information. It is important for us to know we can still get through this. We can come out of this and bounce back if we keep ourselves informed and not allow fear of the unknown to hinder our decisions. WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER! I predict the second half of 2020 is going to be much like January and February. We will close this year with our average sales being right where they should be. I will continue to keep you up to date, but until then stay strong and confident. We are not in hot water just yet!  

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THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS CHANGING.....
 
COVID-19 has drastically shifted the globe and has forcibly changed how most of us live our lives, as I’m sure you are aware. Now, I do not claim to be an expert economist or anything fancy; however I have done extensive research on viruses, economic change, and some past historical events that involved deadly viruses. 
 
What I have discovered may be too controversial to discuss in this blog, however I wanted to turn the focus toward some things that are more within our control. The main stream news media, has long since proven to show bias with the topics they select to show their viewers. My advice there is, “Turn the TV Off.” What good will it do for you to focus your attention on the unsettling daily details of a very unfathomable circumstance. I mean let’s face it, most media outlets and political experts themselves are not even sure what is going on. The frenzy over every case and detail has begun to drive some people into a state of panic. Most of my family members as well as friends and clients have expressed their worry for the future. Like many, they are confused by the inconsistent details on every news outlet, ineffective protocols, contradictory scientific study, unreliable data, lack of testing, etc...the list goes on and on. 
 
We as a society have to educate ourselves. Knowledge is power. It is not the time to roll over to the demands of the media and polititions, rather a time to take individual action to protect ourselves, families and our future. ENLIGHTEN YOURSELF!

Educate yourself on your body and how our beautifully engineered organs work. How our immune system works as a natural mechanism that will protect you, if you protect it. How viruses are formed in the body, how they are contracted, and how are they cured. This is one way you can protect yourself. By educating yourself you are empowering yourself with facts, making it very easy to detect fiction. Don't leave it up to our local or international news outlets, to feed you their facts. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! Use your perfectly crafted brain to learn the truth and let what is not in your control, go! With or without your stress and panic, "Whatever will be, will be." as the great Doris Day once said.
 
Some of us have been using this time to catch up on shows, maybe some spring cleaning, or even some family bonding fun. While all of that is great, it is also important to focus on our self development. New skills, new hobbies, new businesses, new practices (Such as meditation) etc. My opinion is; the world as we know it will not be what we remember it to be, prior to this “Pandemic.” Although this is just my prediction, my belief is once we get through this, (And we will) life will be drastically different. Our world is changing, however that doesn't have to be a bad thing. 
 
I believe, with change can come opportunity. If you frame your mind around the positives, rather than the negatives I.e. NEWS! You can ease some of that worry. If you are able to focus on new positive goals and productive tasks. You will actively shift the energy in the world around you. Your state of mind directly correlates with your reality. What I am trying to say is- dive into the opportunity. Take advantage of the time you have to grow! Rediscover yourself, redirect your journey, allow yourself to seize this moment and DARE TO DREAM! Don’t allow yourself to go into a dark space riddled with anxiety, hopelessness, self-pity, and any other equally poor state of being. EMPOWER YOURSELF!!!!! Even if things really are shitty at the moment, get your mind out of the funk and I promise the energy around you will follow. Nourish your body with good, healthy food. Greens, fruits healthy fats etc. Stay active, (very important) it is imperative that you get daily exercise. Read books, stimulate your mind with positive narrative, stories you can become imaginitaive in.  For example puzzles and art activities are great ways to excercise the brain on focused tasks. Meditate and pray daily, this is vital. Meditate with intention; set the energy for prosperity, well-being, love, abundance and whatever else your heart desires. Meditation has been used for many years to heal, balance, raise vibrations, focus thoughts and so much more!

Music! Music has proven to have chemical effects on our brains and frequncies. Be mindful of the music you are listening to and the messages incripted. Explore new genre's.
Another major one is, television! Everything in moderation people,It is okay to endulge in your favourite series. I know I am guilty of this, however limit yourself. Practice journaling- write down your goals, read them daily. These are all things that set a positive and healthy environment. As a result, you will raise your spiritual vibrations. Incase you didn’t know, as humans we are made up of matter and energy. The human energy field directly interacts with our mind, body and spirit. Those interactions help our bodies to communicate with itself, to perform tasks such as breathing and other bodily functions. Our bodies are constantly working for us; we hold the power to control our health and well-being. 
 
To conclude, a healthy state of mind and environment will be the difference between those who get through this and those who don’t. Let's be honest with ourselves; social distantcing, gloves and masks may slow the spread a bit, but this will not protect you. Take care of your health. Think positively, understand the power of your mind, body and spirit. Vibrate high and channel your intention through meditation and/or prayer. Self-explore, get to know yourself better. Take time for your mental and physical health. Those efforts combined in my opinion, are all you need. I hope this helped motivate and/or inspire you to protect yourself in a way that will make a true difference. If you already thought this way and are praticing any of these suggestions, then give yourself major credit, you're are on the right track!
 
Lastly, a health tip I live by, if you will indulge me for one more moment is, raw ginger. Ginger is a great natural source that is loaded with healthy benefits. 1 steeped cup a day at least will assist in keeping your immunity strong & healthy!

 
Thanks for reading
 
Asha Musial :)
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