After seeing a large number of project launches in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) at the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the spring market on its head, taking its toll on new condominium apartment supply. The lack of new projects coming to market has directly impacted sales volumes; new condo sales in the GTA have hit record lows for April and May, as new project launches dropped to some of the lowest levels recorded by Altus Group since 2000.
According to the latest results from Altus Group’s Condominium Apartment Monitor, only 6 new projects launched in April and May, for a total of 922 units – an 89% decrease from the same period in 2019. The mere 175 units launched in May was also another record low.
There have been 5,814 units launched year-to-date – down by more than half, compared to the same period last year – with the majority of those units coming to market during an especially busy February.
The lack of new supply is a result of several deferred project openings, and as such, we expect to see an above average number of new project openings in July / August. After losing two months of momentum in April and May, the GTA condominium apartment market will be hard pressed to reach the same sales volumes it saw in 2019. However, according to spring findings in the Altus Group Housing Report, homebuying intentions, at least nation-wide, had held up fairly well during the peak of the pandemic. Moreover, early indicators suggest that recent project launches, including ones from June, have seen increased interest and are achieving more typical sales absorption rates, which is a positive sign for a busier summer sales season ahead.
As Ontario continues with its reopening plan, there will be opportunities for sales to rebound later this year, assuming the deferred projects from April and May come to market later this summer alongside the planned supply.