How condo price history makes you a smarter buyer

How condo price history makes you a smarter buyer

As prices jump from week to week, how do you know if you’re paying the right price for your property? By diving into the most current data around what other units in the building or neighbourhood have been selling for recently.

Price history gives you a solid benchmark for current market value: it’s what your agent looks at when counselling you on what to offer. By seeing what it has sold for in the past and measuring that against building and neighbourhood growth, you can figure out if the listing is a good value, if it’s been underpriced to start a bidding war, or if it’s priced too high. It’s also an easy way to see what you could potentially get for your current property if you decide to sell. and both have a super-helpful historical search feature that gives you easy access to that data: you can search sold and rented listings as far back as 2003! It’s easy to filter by time period: last 24 hours? No problem. Last 3 months? Easy. 2016? Done! Filtering by area is also a snap. Select the neighbourhood or use the map to zoom in. Additional filters include number of bedrooms, square footage, building type, days on market, amenities, outdoor space, and more, making it easy to compare apples to apples.

How can I use this data to help in my home search?

When you look at historical sales data, it can show you how floor levels and unit features impact the price. You can also see 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 should prompt a closer look at why), or prices that have stalled relative to its neighbours.

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Here are 8 ways historical data makes you a smarter renter, buyer, investor or seller:

  1. Data is a great starting point.

    If you’re just starting your search, looking at a unit or building’s history will give you a general lay of the land. It’s easy to just click around and get a better understanding of the market before you connect with an agent.

  2. It helps narrow your search.

    If you’re interested in a particular neighbourhood, intersection or building, using historical data will help you get a sense of what’s out there and how much it should cost. Check the average price per square foot in building A, then compare it to nearby buildings B, C, D and E. At the end of your research, you can decide whether the neighbourhood works for you or not.

  3. It makes the whole process easier.

    In a market where things move fast, inventory is low and decisions have to be made at the drop of a hat, taking a lot of time to think about a property can 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.

  4. You’re less likely to overpay.

    When you know a building’s recent sales history, you’ll also have a sense of what a reasonable asking price should be for the unit you’re looking at. If the price is inflated, you’ll know.

  5. You won’t 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, right? But when you look at the data, you may see that similar units in the same building have sold for over $700K. That means the unit you’re considering has probably been listed below its true value, and a bidding war will probably take it out of your price range pretty quickly. Price Filter
  6. Investors can get an idea of performance over time.

    Looking at the data can show you which buildings and unit types in a neighbourhood (or even at a specific intersection) tend to have the highest/fastest appreciation historically, and which ones could get you the highest returns in the future.

  7. Owners can keep track of the value of their unit.

    People like to have an idea of how much their home is worth, and makes it easy to see what similar units in your building have recently sold for. Plus, if you’re looking to refinance, it will give you a sense of how much you could potentially pull out of your equity.

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  8. 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 with their realtor is usually a lot faster. If the last sale in your building was $1M, for example, that’s a jumping off point for your agent, who will then dive deeper into the details to see if the layout and features of both units are similar, or if one has had major upgrades or is on a much higher floor.

Agents love it when clients have already 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 necessarily the “why” behind it. No property’s value is ever as simple as a price tag. That’s where a agent can really help. After you’ve looked at all the numbers, they can tell you the reasons behind them – why a certain unit sold for more than the average, why two buildings right next door to each other have performed so differently, or why an enticing listing isn’t realistically priced.

If you've spent some time exploring the data, but want to know more about the “whys” of the sold prices you’ve seen, talk to an agent. They will be happy to share insight into which buildings and neighbourhoods offer the best value – and which home could be the right one for you.

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