Sun columnist Doug Todd, who has been writing insightfully about the housing market for years, reported this comment from a Toronto researcher:

 “There’s only so long they can hold on,” he says, before being forced to sell.

All it would take to create a sudden oversupply of housing would be for two per cent more owners in a particular market to list their dwellings for sale, Scilipoti says. “This will take time to play out,” he says, but the downward process is in motion.

Just 2 percent.  And I doubt it will take much time.  Ex-AirBnB listings back into the rental supply might be enough on its own in our downtown market – snowballs to start an avalanche.

Almost all solutions to unaffordability in our housing market seem to assume a massive amount of new or repurposed housing will be required, in turn involving major investments, rezonings, interventions, or some form of decisive change.  Well, we got a virus that seems to have done the latter, and it may mean we shouldn’t do much more until we see how the impact.

Those who want to change the fundamental economics of housing, and the social order that goes with it, are reluctant to acknowledge that small changes or interventions can make a substantial difference – like a rental incentive, a non-market housing program measured in the hundreds of units, a seemingly minor shift in the market, immigration statistics or interest rates.  When you want a revolution, a 2 percent adjustment doesn’t seem to cut it.  When rents seem out of reach, 2 percent doesn’t seem a sufficient stretch.

And yet that, in its way, will seem revolutionary.

 

Comments

  1. Indeed we will see some short term price reductions and higher vacancies as AirBnB owners list their properties or people are forced to sell due to these draconian lockdowns, higher unemployment and small biz failures esp restaurants and retailers.

    However, given high and continued in-migration and reduced new housing supply this will be shortlived, maybe to 2022 likely not even that long.

    Rental demand will increase as banks tighten their lending requirements and as people opt to rent rather than buy. Do not expect significant rent reductions.

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