Condo price data history makes you a smarter buyer

Condo price data history makes you a smarter buyer

Knowing the price history of a unit and comparable units in a building or neighbourhood is a great way to get a benchmark for its current market value. By seeing what it sold for previously and measuring that against building and neighbourhood growth, you can figure out if the listing is a good value, if you can afford to buy, or what you could potentially get for it if you decide to sell.

How do you use data to help in your home search?

On condos.ca, you can go to any listing and see the unit’s past transaction history. Every building also has a list of recent sales and leases, and you can see the impact of floor level, parking, and other variables, like if the building has a lot of rental turnover, or how often suites go up for sale. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific building, the data might reveal that units there hardly ever hit the market, saving you time and grief. On the other hand, a building might have a very high number of sales (which would prompt a closer look), or prices that have stalled relative to its neighbours.

Here’s how looking at the data can help you be a smarter renter/buyer/investor/seller:

  1. Data is a great starting point. If it’s early days for you, it’s a great way to get a general lay of the land yourself before you talk to an agent.

  2. You can look based on your own schedule. If you work nights or have a schedule where you aren’t able to easily talk to a Condo Pro, it’s easy to just click around and figure it out, get a better understanding of the market before you connect with a Condo Pro.

  3. It helps narrow your search. If you’re interested in a particular neighbourhood, intersection or building, you can get an idea of what’s out there and how much it should cost pretty fast. Just go to condos.ca and see what the average price per square foot in building A looks like. Then you do the same for nearby buildings B, C, D and E, and at the end of your research, you can decide whether the neighbourhood works for you or not. You can also get this data by selecting the neighbourhood on the website – it will provide you with the price per square foot for all the buildings in the area. (Working with an agent can get you to this conclusion a whole lot faster, mind you, but I find some people like to build confidence by doing their own research first.)

  4. It makes the whole process easier. In a market where things move fast and decisions have to be made at the drop of a hat, taking a lot of time to “think about it” will probably result in a lost opportunity. Educated buyers know what they want and how much it will realistically cost, so they have the confidence to make quick decisions.

  5. You’re less likely to overpay when you’re informed. When you know a building’s recent sales history, you’ll also know what a reasonable price is for the unit you’re looking at. If the price is inflated, or a bidding war takes things beyond the unit’s true value, you’ll know to walk away.

  6. You’re less likely to be tempted by a deliberately underpriced unit. Underpricing is a marketing tactic designed to start a bidding war. Let’s say your budget is $620K, and you see a unit listed at $599K. Looks like a great deal, but when you look at the data, you see that similar units in the same building have gone for over $700K. That means the unit has probably been listed below its true value, and a bidding war will take it out of your budget.

  7. Investors can get an idea of performance. Looking at the data can show you which buildings in a neighbourhood (or even at a specific intersection) historically show the highest/fastest appreciation and which could get you the highest returns in the future.

  8. Owners can keep track of the value of their unit. People like to have a general idea of how much their home is worth, and condos.ca makes it easy to see what similar units in your building have sold for. Plus, if you’re looking to refinance, it will give you a good idea of how much you could potentially pull out of your equity.

  9. Setting a selling price is easier. Sellers who have looked at the sales data for their building already have an idea of what their place may be worth, so coming to a price agreement is usually a lot faster. And if their expectations are too high, it’s easy for me to explain why. If Bob wants $1M for his condo and the last one recently sold for $875K, I can explain to him that that last similar sale was for a unit with much better upgrades on a much higher floor which makes it easier for him to understand.

As a Condo Pro, I love it when clients come to me already having done some research. When they know what they want and understand what they will reasonably pay, it makes the process a lot faster and smoother.

However, historical sales data has its limits. It gives you the “what” – but not the “why” behind it. No property’s value is ever as simple as a price tag. That’s where a Condo Pro can really help. After you’ve looked at all the numbers, we can tell you the reasons behind them – why a certain unit was sold for more than the average, why two buildings right next door to each other have performed so differently, why an enticing listing isn’t realistically priced.

And to be honest, you can spend days sifting through the data – or sit down with a Condo Pro for a much shorter period of time and get the same information. We’re happy to help with your research, just get in touch with us.

Brendon Cowans bio

Brendon Cowans is a consistent Top Producing REALTOR ® who is obsessed with Toronto and the many moving parts of the Toronto real estate market. He absolutely enjoys meeting new people and building relationships. His objective is simple: to provide service of utmost excellence, while meeting the needs and sharing the joys of many happy and satisfied clients. He is a big fan and player of football (soccer) and don't be surprised if you catch him on the badminton court playing a few matches.

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