May, 2015

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – April 2015

The Toronto residential resale market continues to strengthen as we move into the spring buying and selling season. Month after month the greater Toronto market reaches new milestones. All home types, including condominium apartments, saw both price growth and growth in the volume of properties sold.

In April 11,303 properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area. This compares to only 9,660 sales in 2014, an increase of 17 percent. The increase of 17 percent is the highest year-over-year increase in sales on a monthly basis since before the 2008 recession. Although an increase of 17 percent pales in comparison to some of the recent increases experienced by the Vancouver market, by historical comparison a 17 percent increase is dramatic and unprecedented. For example, last month saw an increase of 10 percent compared to March 2014. That was the first double digit increase in years.


Not only did we see unprecedented sales volume, but all properties sold in record breaking time. All 11,303 properties reported sold (on average) sold in just 18 days. Last April, which was also a very fast sales month, all properties sold in 20 days. Certain housing types in various Toronto trading areas sold even faster. All detached properties in Toronto’s central core sold in just 15 days. They sold for 103 percent of their asking price. The average sale price for these properties? A record $1,591,721. Although prices were dramatically lower in the eastern trading areas, all detached homes in these districts sold in just 11 days at 105 percent of their asking price. The average sale price of these eastern district homes was $746,110, a record price, almost 16 percent more than what detached homes in the eastern districts sold for last year.


Given the high volume of sales and the speed with which they took place it is not surprising to see that the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area also set a new monthly record. The average sale price for all properties sold came in at $635,932, a 10 percent increase compared to April 2014’s average sale price of $578,354. April marks the third consecutive month establishing a new record high for average sale prices in the greater Toronto area.


In the city of Toronto the average sale price was even higher. It came in at $690,261. This is a remarkable number when one considers that it includes the 1,706 condominium apartments that were reported sold. If condominium apartment sales are removed, the combined average sale price for detached and semi-detached homes in Toronto would be about $900,000, and dramatically more in some of the more sought-after neighborhoods.


The continually rising average sale price for Toronto properties is redefining the meaning of “luxury”. In April 1275 properties having a sale price that exceeded $1 Million were sold, another record. That represents a 54 percent increase compared to the 828 that sold in the same category last year. There were 195 properties sold that had an average sale price of more than $2 Million. Last year only 135 sold in this category. The “high end” of the market continues to grow every month. In April the 1275 reported sales over $1 Million represent more than 11 percent of the overall market. It is humourous to note that in the midst of these high end sales there were 6 properties that sold having a sale price less than $100,000.


Inventory levels continue to be a problem, contributing to rising prices and the pace of sales. In April 17,248 new properties came to market. Unfortunately this was 5 percent less than the 18,177 that became available to buyers in 2014. The cumulative effect of the monthly shortages is that the Toronto market enters May with only 17,182 properties available for sale, more than 10 percent fewer than the 19,118 that were available to buyers last year. These inventory shortages account for the growing phenomenon of multiple buyers bidding for the same property. This auction-like environment also contributes to the rapidly rising average sale price for properties in Toronto.


For first-time buyers condominium apartments are their only housing refuge, and the numbers indicated that that’s where first time buyers are flocking. In April 1,706 condominium apartments were reported sold, an increase of almost 14 percent compared to last year. These sales represented more than 22 percent of all reported sales. In the city of Toronto condominium apartment sales represented 42 percent of all reported sales.


Prices of condominium apartments are beginning to creep up. For the first time, the average sale price for condominium apartment sales in the city of Toronto exceeded $400,000 ($407,612). In central Toronto, where most apartment sales take place, the average sale price came in at $465,143, another record. Without the financial help of parents, even condominium apartments would be beyond the reach of many first-time buyers.


As we move into May we are firmly on pace to break the 2007 record of 93,193 sales for the entire year. With 30,854 sales already reported in the first four months of 2015, we can anticipate yearend sales exceeding 100,000 properties.

Collingwood/Southern Georgian Bar Real Estate Market Update – April 2015

As a REALTOR® it is to be expected that when you are out and about in the community and engaged in conversation whether it be at a local coffee shop, the grocery store, arena or golf course that at some point someone will say “How’s the market?” Quite simply put when asked about the month of April and the first four months of 2015 collectively it is hard not to reply with simple words like solid, robust and even hot. Especially, when these simple words are backed up with statistical evidence.


For the fourth consecutive month the real estate statistics as reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR) are strong. In several statistical categories the April figures for 2015 far outpace those reported a year ago both for the month of April and Year-To-Date (YTD) for 2014. In other categories April’s figures for this year are more in line with those reported at the end of May 2014 versus April 2014 giving further statistical merit to the strength of market year-to-date figures and the potential that 2015 could be a record breaking year statistically as it relates to real estate in the Southern Georgian Bay marketplace and more specifically the Western Region* if sales continue at the current pace.


As reported by SGBAR, sales for the Western Region for the month of April 2015 totalled 214 units, representing an 18% increase over the 182 unit sales reported for April 2014. YTD the total sales for the same region were reported at 631 units. This represented a 26% increase over the 502 unit sales reported for the first four months of 2014. This is further illustrated when the sales figures are broken out by price point for the Western Region.


Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.14.25 PM


The above chart clearly highlights two points. One, reasonable distribution of sales across all price points and secondly, positive percentage increases across all six price points including double digit percentage increases for five of the six price points.

The above statistics reflect price ranges across the region as a whole for all sales categories (residential, commercial, farm, vacant land etc.). However, in keeping with past reports the same positive picture is portrayed when we isolate the YTD single-family sales (from total sales) by sub-district within the Western Region. Specifically, the Town of Collingwood (22.5%), Clearview Township (25%), The Blue Mountains (25%) and the Town of Wasaga Beach (43.4%) all reported double-digit percentage increases for the total number of sales for the first four months of 2015 as compared to the same time period a year ago and both Grey Highlands and the Municipality of Meaford demonstrated modest growth with single digit growth at 9.5% and 2.7% respectfully. In addition, within these same six sub-districts each reported a positive percentage increase in the 12 month average sale price YTD. Grey Highlands leads the way with the largest YTD change over the same time last year with a 24.1% jump from $373,079.00 to $463,042.00. Of these six sub-districts The Blue Mountains has the highest 12 month average price at $577,327.00 up 3.8% from $556,131.00 for the same time a year ago. Again, all positive numbers across the board.


Although the above figures are impressive and together paint a positive picture as it relates to the market, the statistical numbers that jumped off the page this month were Total Sales Dollar Volume (TSDV) for the Month and YTD. As illustrated below the percentage increases for TSDV for the Month and YTD were impressive in their own right. However, what is more impressive is that the TSDV for the month of April ($72,094,774.00) is almost in line with the TSDV ($74,531,527.00) for the month of May 2014. Historically, the month of May and June have outpaced the month of April giving further statistical evidence that the spring market ahead is going to be even stronger than last year’s if current conditions persist.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.15.19 PM


Last month, we reported that March was the first month of 2015 to see an increase in new listings as compared to the same month a year earlier. April however, fell back in line with January and February of this year as we witnessed once again a decline in new listings as compared to the same month one year earlier. For the month of April 2015 there were 489 new listings a decline of 109 or -18% from the 598 new listings reported of the April 2014. YTD new listings for 2015 continue to lag behind those reported in 2014. For 2015 YTD there were a total of 1527 new listings down 248 listings or -14% from April 2014’s YTD reported number of 1775. Further the 1527 new listings reported YTD for 2015 are off by -21% as compared to the 1925 new listings reported YTD at the end of the first four months of 2013. At the end of April 2015 there were a total of 2489 active listings in the MLS® system for the Western Region up by 213 from the 2276 active listings reported at the end of March 2015.


Finally, when reviewing the Performance Record for the Western Region as provided by SGBAR, monthly sales to listings for April 2015 as a percentage was 43.76% as compared to 30.43% for April 2014. YTD the sales to listings ratio for 2015 was 41.32% compared to 28.28% for the same


time period in 2014. In previous months we have discussed and elaborated on the tightening of the market with a year over year decline in listings and year over year increase in sales. Perhaps no other statistic best demonstrates this point than this month’s YTD sales to listings ratio which at 41.32% handily surpasses the highest YTD ratio reported for 2014, which was in December at 36.89%.


As a postscript, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage (“Chestnut Park”) is pleased to announce two milestones. First Chestnut Park has joined the REALTORS® Association Grey Bruce Owen Sound as a firm member and looks forward to serving the Grey Bruce marketplace. In addition, 2015 marks Chestnut Park’s 25th anniversary of service excellence within the real estate industry. Here’s to many more!


Prepared by: Keith Hull, Broker and Office Manager, Collingwood/Southern Georgian Bay & Richard Stewart, Vice-President & Legal Counsel at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage


Prince Edward County Real Estate Market Update – April 2015

As predicted in our last report, things are definitely heating up in Prince Edward County (“the County”)! Not only have we finally experienced our first few sunny days of summer-like weather after what felt like an endless deep freeze, but the warmer temperatures are accompanied by an awakening of the real estate market, and properties of all kinds are starting to fly off the shelf.


Property sales across the broader Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. (“the Quinte Board”) have been strong throughout the first quarter of 2015, but April marks the first month in which the County has caught up with the robust property market that is being experienced across both the Quinte Board as well as Southern Ontario, generally. In fact April is also the first month this year in which the number of County real estate sales have surpassed those for the same month last year. The primary reason for both this drag on sales to date and the current expression of pent up demand built up over the preceding months can likely be attributed to the harsher than usual weather which has a disproportionate impact upon a more seasonally dependant market like the County.



According to the Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report for the County prepared by the Quinte Board, 56 properties were sold in April, 30% more than in April 2014 when only 43 properties were sold. This is remarkably consistent with sales activity across the Quinte Board which shows a 29% bump up in monthly sales year over year with 375 properties changing hands in April 2015 compared to 290 in the same month last year. In the County, year to date sales trail last year’s numbers only marginally now with 138 sales being reported thus far in 2015 compared to 142 last year at this time, a decline of only 3%. On the other hand, sales across the Quinte Board year to date amount to 933, 21% more than last year at this time when only 772 were reported sold. Total dollar volume across the Quinte Board has increased even more than unit sales both on a monthly as well as a year to date year over year basis with 34% and 25% increases, respectively. These numbers are consistent with the generally bullish conditions being experienced in neighbouring market places served by this Brokerage including Toronto, Muskoka and the Southern Georgian Bay areas.


Listings across the County, however are down somewhat with 201 new properties coming onto the market in April, 4 fewer and 2% less than last year when 205 new listings came out. Year to date comparisons, however, reveal a 4% gain in listings with a total of 593 and counting this year compared to 569 last year at this time. This increase in listings is directly mirrored in an identical 4% boost to property inventory in the County. The Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report shows 656 active listings at the end of April when the report was produced compared to 631 last year at this time.


A robust sales pace has brought the average days on market for properties sold in April in the County from 102 in April 2014 to 84 this past month. This amounts to an almost 17.5% reduction in the amount of time it took to sell the particular cross section of properties sold. Finally, and not surprisingly given what is happening and the strength of the market in both the County as well as much of Southern Ontario , the average sale price of properties sold in the County rose by 13.5% based on a comparison of average sale price last April ($268,782) and April 2015 ($305,173).


As the saying goes, spring has definitely sprung, from both a weather as well as real estate activity perspective. With hot selling conditions abounding in neighbouring and complementary markets there is little reason to think that the County will be left out in this regard. Lending conditions remain historically favourable for buyers, and economic prospects continue to look cautiously positive both domestically as well as south of the border. Barring any unforeseen disruptive events, most commentators, including the Bank of Canada downplay the likelihood of either a significant correction in, or derailing of the market. There is good reason therefore for buyers and sellers to be optimistic about real estate opportunities in the County this summer which continue to reflect excellent value and comparative affordability.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – March 2015

Market data for March has the Toronto residential resale market poised for a record shattering year. In March 8,940 resale properties were reported sold, 11 percent higher than the 8,052 properties reported sold in 2014. On a year to date basis 19,595 properties have been reported sold in the greater Toronto area. Last year at this time there were 17,851 reported sales, an increase of approximately 10 percent. At this pace more than 100,000 resale properties will be reported sold by year end, shattering the previous record of 93,193 reported sales in 2007. The Toronto resale market, particularly at some price points and for various housing types, has been unstoppable.


As I have reported in recent updates, the market continues to set new records. The average sale price for March came in at $613,933, eclipsing the previous average sale price high of $596,200, achieved only last month. The average sale price for the City of Toronto ($613,933 was the average sale price for the greater Toronto area, including the 905 region) was even higher at $655,067, notwithstanding the proliferation of lower priced condominiums apartments located in the central core of the city.

The average sale price of $655,067 was primarily due to the number of properties selling that have a sale price that exceeded $1 Million. In March 960 properties in this category of homes were reported sold. This is also a record for this price point. Last year in March, which was an active month, only 596 properties were reported sold. The 960 properties reported sold in this category represented more than 10 percent of the overall market. It is interesting to note that 121 of these properties had an average sale price of $2 Million or more.


A bright spot in the March data for buyers was the number of new listings that came to the market. In March 15,531 new properties became available for buyers to purchase in the greater Toronto area. This represents an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the 14,717 new properties that became available last March.  The year over year increase is one of the few that we have seen in recent months. Unfortunately the increase in new listings did not improve the overall availability of homes for sale. At the end of March there were 15,295 properties available for sale, 7.5 percent less than the 16,543 listings available last year.


These properties represent only 2.1 months of inventory. Due to the number of condominium apartments available for sale in the City of Toronto, the months of inventory are a little higher at 2.3 months. The inventory shortages are particularly acute in the detached and semi-detached housing sectors. For example all detached homes in the City of Toronto sold in just 15 days for an average sale price of  $1,042,405, exceeding the average sale price of $1,040,018 achieved for detached homes just last month, another record. The average sale price for semi-detached homes increased fairly significantly to $723,167,also a record. In the City of Toronto all semi-detached properties   ( on average) sold at the speed of light. In March 287 semi-detached properties sold in only 10 days, also a record. The number of semi-detached properties sold would have been even higher had there been more properties available for sale on the market.


Condominium apartments continue to be the slowest sector In the City of Toronto’s resale market, although even that sector is seeing rising prices and sales.  In March 1506 condominiums apartments were reported sold. This is more sales than the combined total of semi-detached and detached properties (1,337) that sold. The 1506 condominiums apartments sold represent an increase of 13.5 percent compared to the number of sales that took place last year.


Sale prices for condominium apartments were not quite so frothy as for freehold properties. The average sale price of condominium apartments in March increased to $398,337 up 3.3 percent compared to the average sale price achieved last year. In central Toronto where most of the city’s condominium apartments are located, the average sale price was substantially higher at $450,584. It was encouraging to see that for the first time it only took only 30 days (on average) for all condominium apartments that came to the market to sell. This is not as fast as the freehold market which is averaging less than 20 days, but a vast improvement compared to the 40 days plus it took to move condominiums apartments last year.


Looking to April expect more of what we saw in March. Mortgage interest rates have further declined— a fixed five year mortgage can be obtained at an interest rate of 2.64 percent—allowing buyers to stay in the market even though prices have been constantly rising. Only a dramatic increase in mortgage interest rates can detour this market. With that likelihood not on the horizon, expect another strong, record breaking month, in April.