Toronto Real Estate Market Update – November 2015

Two more market records were broken by the performance of the Toronto resale market in November. The first was the sales results for the month of November. Toronto area realtors were responsible for 7,385 property sales in November. This result represents the highest number of reported sales ever achieved for the month. By comparison only 6,476 sales were reported in November 2015, an increase of more than 14 per cent. This is an incredible achievement at a time normally associated with the beginning of the holiday season when buyers in particular are focused on matters other than real estate.

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Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, by month end the Toronto Real Estate Board had reported 96,401 residential resales for 2015. This number shattered the previous annual record of 93,193 sales achieved back in 2007, with one more month to go before the greater Toronto’s sales totals are finally calculated. Last December there were 4,418 reported sales. If this December’s results are equal to last year’s, and the anticipation is that they will be higher, 2015 will close out with almost 101,000 sales. This would be a 5 per cent increase over the record year of 2007.

The growth in sales can be attributed to the increase in condominium apartment sales since 2007. Over the past eight years numerous condominium projects have reached the registration stage, and consequently have become available for resale. In November there were 1,198 detached and semi-detached properties reported sold in Toronto’s 416 districts. In the same month 1,351 condominium apartments were reported sold, almost 13 per cent more than the total amount of free-hold properties sold.

The average sale price for condominium apartments was $415,316, much lower than the average sale price for detached and semi-detached properties. In November the average price for a detached house in Toronto came in at $1,018,621. Semi-detached properties came in at $750,608. It is clear that for many buyers the only affordable alternatives are condominium apartments.The average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area was $632,685, almost 10 per cent higher than the $577,502 achieved in November 2014. The average sale price for 416 area sales came in at $654,221, about 4 per cent higher than the broader greater Toronto area market.

The number of listings coming to market has been increasing over the last few months, but still insufficiently to meet demand. In November 9,609 new properties came to market, a 10.2 per cent increase compared to the 8,716 properties that came to market last year. Notwithstanding this increase, at month end the Toronto market was still almost 9 per cent short of the number of listings it had in 2014. Last year there were 14,717 active listings at the end of November. This year we enter December with only 13,454 active listings.

In November 130 properties were reported sold having a sales price of $2 Million or more, a very healthy number for November. Aside from the high end market, as we near the end of the year the concern remains that Toronto’s average sale prices have reached levels that might not be sustainable. The historically and exceptionally low mortgage interest rates have been the primary reason for the record breaking sales that have taken place throughout this year. Fortunately there is no immediate risk of rates rising. The Canadian economy continues to be sluggish, particularly in Western Canada were less than $40 a barrel oil prices have crippled real estate sales. If average sale prices continue to rise at their recent double digit pace, any increase in mortgage interest rates will see sales stall and prices level off. Continued rising inventory levels will help ease this potentially dangerous situation from developing.