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GTA market sees surge in overbidding: report

Toronto’s real estate market has had its share of ups and downs in recent years, with significant fluctuations in both home prices and sales volume. 

In February, homes sold for an average of 17.9 per cent less than the previous year, and sales volume decreased by 47 per cent. However, there are now early signs of an uptick in demand and competition among buyers, according to the latest data from Wahi, a digital real estate platform. 

The number of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) neighbourhoods in overbidding territory tripled between January and February, possibly indicating an uptick in demand and competition among buyers.


Overbidding territory


Wahi analyzed nearly 400 neighbourhoods and found that roughly one quarter (24 per cent) were in overbidding territory in February, up dramatically from 9.0 per cent in January. 

The previous high of 14 per cent was recorded in July 2022. York Region continued to see the strongest signs of overbidding activity, with Rouge Woods in Richmond Hill, leading the pack with a median sale price 26 per cent higher than the median asking price. Berczy Village, Markham, followed at 22 per cent. Next was Rural Richmond Hill, where the median sale price was 20 per cent above the median listing. Wismer, Markham, inched out Westbrook, Richmond Hill, as its median overbid amount represented a 15 per cent increase from the median list price, compared to the latter’s 14 per cent difference. 

Wahi considers a neighbourhood to be in overbidding territory when its median sale price is higher than its median list price. Wahi excludes neighbourhoods where fewer than five homes changed hands in a given month. By these standards, there were 64 overbidding neighbourhoods in February, compared to 20 in January.


Factors at play


Overbidding is a reflection of market behaviour but can be driven by several factors, explains Eman Nejad, head of data science at Wahi. 

With inventory levels increasingly low, it could indicate demand exceeding supply or real estate agents pricing low to drive interest and initiate a bidding war among buyers. 

According to Wahi, overbidding markets generally were priced below or around the $1 million mark, while underbidding markets tended to be more expensive, with median prices in the multi-million-dollar range.

In the top five overbidding neighbourhoods, median sales prices ranged from $1,209,000 in Berczy Village to $1,500,944 in Rouge Woods. In contrast, in the top five underbidding neighbourhoods, prices ranged from $1,350,000 in Toronto’s Wychwood Park to $3,362,500 in Oakville’s Eastlake.


Majority of neighbourhoods remain in underbidding territory


Despite the spread of overbidding into more neighbourhoods last month, many buyers today are still managing to walk away with relative deals by making offers below the listing price. Only three per cent of GTA neighbourhoods are selling at asking, with the vast majority, 73 per cent, remaining in underbidding territory.