October, 2013

Toronto Real Estate Market Update September 2013

Since June the Toronto residential resale market place has outpaced sales achieved in the same month in 2012. September was no exception. September’s performance was very strong. 7,411 sales were reported for the month, far out-distancing the 5,687 sales reported in September 2012. This represents a 30 per cent increase. August’s increase, compared to August 2012, was 22 per cent.

These strong numbers are no doubt being driven by consumer concern over increasing mortgage interest rates. In the last few months rates have increased by more than 30 per cent. The fear is that rates will continue to rise throughout 2013 and into 2014. The strong performance by the Toronto area market place in part is an indication of buyers making buying decisions today that would otherwise have been made in 2014.

All property types showed very strong agains compared to the same period in 2012. In the City of Toronto detached home sales were up by 31.7 per cent, semi-detached by 13.3 per cent, townhomes by 18.3 per cent, and condominium apartments by 31.5 per cent. Similar data emerges from the 905 trading area.

It is not surprising that the average sale price continued to rise in September. The average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area was $533,797, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to September 2012’s average sale price of $501,326. In the City of Toronto the average sale price was even higher, coming in at $571,410. Last year it was $547,901. Detached and semi-detached homes in the City of Toronto are the most expensive housing types. The average price for a detached house was $856,169 in September. Semi-detached homes were less expensive, but still pricey at $616,049. It is not surprising to see buyers rushing to take advantage of still low interest rates. Five year fixed mortgages are still available at 3.69 per cent, and in some instances as low as 3.59 per cent. The most expensive homes in Toronto are detached properties located in the central core of the city. The average price for a detached home in the central core was $1,397,683. Last September the same property sold for $1,224,940, an increase of more than 14 per cent.

Not only were a lot of sales achieved in September at higher average sale prices, but properties sold in very fast order. All properties (on average) that came to market in September in the entire greater Toronto area sold in 27 days, 2 day faster than last year. The speed of sales was even faster depending on housing type and location. Detached homes coming to market in September in the City of Toronto sold in 22 days. Semi-detached homes sold in an eye-popping 14 days. In Toronto’s central core they sold in only 11 days. This pace verges on frenzy. Only condominium apartment sales lagged behind other housing types. Condominium apartments took 36 days to sell, more than 30 per cent longer than the overall market pace. This pace is identical to the rate at which condominium apartments sold in September 2012.

Luxury home sales (properties having a sale price of $1 million or more) showed a marked improvement in September. In this price category 473 properties were reported sold. Of these properties 71 enjoyed a sale price in excess of $2 million. Last year only 343 luxury homes were reported sold in September, similar to the 334 reported sold in September 2011. Compared to last year luxury home sales increased by 38 per cent.

Unfortunately new housing product coming to market did not keep pace with sales. In September 14,938 new listings became available for sale, a decline of 1.3 per cent compared to last year. As a result of this decline, and compounded with the 7,411 sales that took place, active listings heading into October declined to 20,194. Last year there were 21,621, a decline of 6.6 per cent. These declines will only make buying conditions tighter, resulting in multiple bids for many properties that come to market in October.

Condominium apartment sales continue to surprise. Sales were up by 31.5 per cent compared to last year. However, unlike the overall market, average sale prices for the condominium apartments that sold declined by 3.7 per cent in the City of Toronto. It would appear that although sales numbers are up, the condominium apartments that sold were the least expensive units available to buyers. The average sale price for all condominium apartment properties was $363,149.

Looking forward market conditions are likely to remain unchanged in October and likely into November. Sales of properties in the greater Toronto area to date total 68,907. At the market’s current pace sales for the year should total about 86,000 properties. Slightly more than the 85,498 that sold in 2012.

Prepared by: Chris Kapches, President & CEO Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage

Muskoka Real Estate Market Update

The heavy weather that the region experienced this winter and the early spring, including the flooding in many parts of the region, is now long forgotten. The early fall has seen some of the best weather of the year, and with the improved conditions, listings and sales have increased, bringing the market to a status quo similar to where it found itself at this time last year. During the first quarter of 2013, both sales and inventory were off by 20 percent. Market conditions improved in the second quarter, with continued improvement throughout the summer months.

At the beginning of October there were 1236 active listings of recreational properties available in the Muskoka-Haliburton multiple listing service. This represents an increase of 4.7 percent compared to the same period last year, and a dramatic improvement compared to the recreational property inventory available at the beginning of July. Available recreational properties increased in all the trading areas in which Chestnut Park’s agents work with buyers and sellers. On the Muskoka Lakes 341 recreational properties were available, an increase of more than 10 percent. On Lake of Bays there are 131 available properties, an increase of 4 percent, and 311 in Haliburton, an increase of almost 5 percent.

With increased inventory and better weather sales have dramatically improved, matching or exceeding sales results for the same period last year. Although sales for the entire cottage region are slightly off, in the Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays, and Haliburton, the market’s performance has been encouraging. 651 properties have been reported sold for the entire cottage region, 37 fewer recreational properties than for the same period last year. On the Muskoka Lakes the results have been stronger. 184 properties were reported sold to the beginning of October, 2 more than last year. Lake of Bays was only marginally off last year’s pace, 81 in 2012 and 79 this year. In Halilburton the results were marginally better, 200 sales this year compared to 198 last year. Compared to the slow start of the year, these results are very impressive.

Pricing of recreational properties continues to be a hinderence to sales. The sale of cottages is rarely driven by necessity. Consequently sellers can be more leisurely in selling their cottages, often settling on asking prices the buyers do not perceive as reflecting value. Pricing of cottage properties is more complex than urban markets: location, exposure, grade, acres, water depths and access can all impact value in dramatic ways, making direct comparisons with properties already sold very difficult. But as sellers are not motivated by necessity, buyers most often seen even less motivated. As a result properties that have not been competitively priced will take a considerable amount of time to sell, with, in many cases, numerous price reductions.

Looking forward, beyond to the end of 2013, the market will begin its seasonal deceleration, as happens every year. I anticipate, barring any weather issues or economic issues, that the market’s start will resemble that of 2012, but by year end 2014 should see improved sales results if not any dramatic increase in average sale prices.

Prepared by: Chris Kapches, CEO Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage

Collingwood Real Estate Market Update

After a brief pause in August which registered steady but not breathtaking sales, the Georgian Triangle real estate market appears to have rallied to the pace-setting groove to which it has apparently become accustomed this season, recording more sales for the month of September than any year since 2005. Some of these sales may have been spurred by the recent increase in fixed term borrowing rates and the prospect of further tightening in the lending regime, prompting some buyers to get off the fence and commit to purchasing. But rather than being a temporary and anomalous blip September’s numbers appear to be part of a broader phenomenon attributable to the Georgian Triangle real estate market being on firm ground and benefitting from the ongoing comparative value, attractiveness and affordability of property available for sale in the area. September’s results therefore build upon this year’s strong performance to date, suggesting that the Georgian Triangle is well positioned to move into the final quarter of 2013 with sustainable growth and healthy sales.



According to the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (“GTAR”) MLS® Statistic Report for September, 203 properties were sold logging a 28% increase over the 158 sales recorded in September of last year, and 15% more than the 176 sold in September 2011. While the surge in property sales was particularly concentrated in the $100-149,999, $250-349,999 and $600-699,999 ranges the strength of the market was generally felt across the board. In fact sales figures for this September were either better or equal to those for September of last year in every price category but one ($240-249,999). This month’s numbers bring year to date sales to 1644, 8% ahead of last year at this time when 1517 were recorded, and almost 16% ahead of the year previous when there were 1410 sales by the end of September. Total dollar volume for the month increased at an even higher level beating out last year’s performance by 35%, and updated year to date figures to reflect a 10% bump over last year.


New listings were up by 3% with 545 properties coming onto the market in September compared to 529 last year, bringing year to date figures to 5168, 3% behind last year’s total of 5316 at this time. With the disproportionately robust sales pace, however, inventory was down 3.5% from last year with only 2388 active listings recorded at the time that GTAR’s report was created, compared to 2476 last September, and even fewer than the 2501 active listings recorded at this time two years ago.


Not surprisingly, with sales outstripping supply, the average residential sales price year to date is almost 5.5% higher than last year coming in at $332,619 compared to $315,436 last year. The average sale price for single family residential properties for the month of September was $332,830, 3.5% more than the $321,501 average sale price last September. Measured over a twelve month period, the average sale price for this property type is up 6% year over year ($334,529 compared to $315,334) highlighting the steady price increases that have been racked up over the last year.


All in all prospects are good for a healthy fall market. Comparatively speaking, the Georgian Triangle continues to be well placed to weather changing economic conditions, including some variation in the lending environment. Given the tight market and fundamentals which support an optimistic forecast for property sales in the Georgian Triangle as we move into the final quarter of 2013, sellers contemplating putting their properties on the market would be well advised to do so, keeping in mind of course the old adage that pricing should reflect value in the property.


Prepared by Richard Stewart, VP and Legal Counsel Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage


Buy or Sell First?

Good question. Unfortunately, like with many good questions, there is no one clear answer. The answer really is: it depends. It depends on your personal preference, the type of home you are selling, the type of home you are buying and the current market conditions.

Option 1) Selling first (preferably with a long closing) and then buying, mitigates the risk of carrying two properties at the same time. But putting your home up for sale before having found your new home can provide uncertainty. What if you cannot find a home you like? If you are looking for an unusual home, this is not practical and you may find yourself leasing in the interim.

However, if you are clear on the type of home, the neighborhood, the price AND you find several places that meet your criteria, then putting your home up for sale first may be your option.

Option 2) Buying first, especially if you are looking for a unique property, can make the most sense. But keep in mind, if you are unable to sell your existing home within the closing period, you may be left carrying the cost of two properties. Bridge financing is available, but the term may be limited.

This option ensures you buy the home you love, but keep in mind, a unique property will be in high demand, so buying conditionally on the sale of your home may not be an option. Are you willing to buy firm (no conditions)?

As you can see, there is merit to both options. You may even find yourself selling first this time and buying first next time. Really…it just depends…