This Week’s Top Stories: What Risk? Thousands of Toronto and Vancouver Real Estate Buyers Jump In During The Pandemic

Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories.

Canadian Real Estate

One In Ten Canadian Restaurants Have Permanently Closed AlreadyCanada’s restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and a lot of the damage is permanent. The industry estimates over 800,000 restaurant jobs were lost in March. They also estimate 1 in 10 restaurants have permanently shuttered, and almost 2 in 10 more will close if April is the same as March. By the end of this month, nearly two-thirds of all restaurants in the country could be permanently gone, along with the jobs they provided.
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Canadian Mortgage Growth Hits Highest Level Since 2018… After Revisions
Canadian homeowners drove their mortgage debt to a new record high. The balance of mortgage credit reached $1.63 trillion in February, up 5.0% from last year. With January’s 5.1% revised lower to 4.9%, this marks the highest 12-month growth in a couple of years. Typically revisions aren’t worth paying much attention to, but this one reverses a trend.
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Toronto Real Estate

Over 3,300 People Bought Toronto Real Estate – After The Lockdown
The global pandemic put a drag on sales in the second half of last month, but thousands of people still bought. TRREB reported 4,643 sales between March 1 and 15, a 49% increase compared to last year. The remainder of the month saw 3,369 sales, down 15% from last year. Considering the board recommended all face-to-face business be halted on March 24, a surprising amount of people still bought a home.
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Toronto New Home Sales Doubled, Even With COVID-19 Pandemic Warnings
Warnings of a pandemic didn’t slow down new home buyers in Toronto either. The City of Toronto saw  1,310 sales in February, up 121% from a year before. York Region, now the biggest new home sales region in the GTA, reported 1,336 new home sales, up 667% from last year. The biggest difference between this surge and the one seen in 2017 is inventory – which reached 17,199 units, up 4% from a year before. To contrast, the surge in sales during 2016 and 2017, were met with some of the lowest levels of inventory in years.
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Toronto Commercial Real Estate Break And Enters Jump As COVID-19 Quiets Streets
Toronto’s quiet pandemic streets have led to a surge of break and enters (B&E) at commercial properties. January reported 258 B&Es, down 9.79% from last year. February also came in lower with 317 reports of B&Es, down 2.61% from last year. In March, after most essential business shut down, we saw the numbers surge. The month saw 317 reports of B&Es, up 32.08% from last year. Commercial B&Es represents 87% of the total increase across all segments, a trend that was falling before the pandemic.
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Vancouver Real Estate

Over 930 Greater Vancouver Homes Sold During A State Of Emergency
Greater Vancouver real estate buyers bought almost a thousand homes during a state of emergency. REBGV reported 2,524 sales in March, up 46.1% from a year before. Last year was unusually slow however, and this past March still came in 19.9% below the average for the month. The most interesting part of these numbers is the last 10 business days of the month. There were 903 sales made during this period, while BC was in a state of emergency. The emergency didn’t even make some buyers pause.
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