Toronto market cools, creates sticky situations

Globe & Mail June 10, 2017

With a new home and a baby on the way, this summer was meant to be joyful for Pickering teacher A.J. Smith. Instead, he’s found himself squeezed by the Greater Toronto Area’s housing-market slowdown, watching tens of thousands of dollars evaporate from the value of a house he needs to sell by Aug. 3. Otherwise, he’s facing the frightening prospect of having to carry two mortgages to the tune of $6,000 a month.

Believing at the time that it would be harder to find a new home than to sell their old one, Mr. Smith and his wife, Lindsay Smith, purchased a house in mid-April before listing their own. On April 20, the government of Ontario introduced a suite of measures to rein in the galloping real estate market.

“I had no idea how important those two weeks were. Things went from day to night,” said Mr. Smith, after a month of trying to sell his old home.

“Even though my wife and I have very good jobs, we’re in a nightmare position where we’re being forced to either default on our contract or carry two mortgages until we’re able to sell this house,” he said.

The decline in prices and sales activity across the GTA is seen by many real-estate agents as a temporary return to a more sane and balanced market. But it has caused some to reassess their housing plans and left others in financial jeopardy.