March, 2016

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – February 2016

January’s exceptional start paled in comparison to February’s results. February set a new high water mark for sale prices in Toronto. This speaks to the power of the Toronto resale market. In the past when records for average sale prices have been set its usually in the months of April and May, the months that are most active. This year it occurred in February.

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In February the Toronto and area resale market reported an average sale price of $685,278, the highest ever recorded. The previous record was achieved in May of last year, with an average sale price of $649,648. The average sale price in the City of Toronto (the 416 districts) came in at $719,843. This average sale price is particularly startling in that it includes condominium apartment sales, which form the bulk of the sales in the City of Toronto. The average sale price achieved in February exceeded last February’s average sale price of $596,320 by almost 15 percent.

It is not surprising that the number of sales achieved in February was also a record. There were 7,621 sales reported, the highest number of sales ever produced by Toronto area realtors in any February. Last year there were only 6,294, an increase of more than 21 percent. This is an unprecedented increase for the month of February. The increase in sales was across all housing types.

In the City of Toronto detached property sales increased by almost 12 percent. Semi-detached property sales increased by almost 22 percent. But the biggest increase in sales was in condominium apartments. In February condominium apartment sales increased by more than 25 percent compared to February 2015. Given the steep increase in prices in Toronto, condominium apartments are the last resort for many buyers, especially first time buyers.

Prices for detached and semi-detached properties have increased dramatically in the last few months, once again breaking records in February. The price of the average detached house in Toronto is now $1,211,459. The price for semi-detached properties is not far behind at $848,835. Condominium apartments look very attractive at only $435,579. In Toronto’s central districts, where many of the city’s condominium apartments are located, the average sale price is $488,518.

In February all sales took place in only 21 days (on average), and much faster in some of Toronto’s trading districts and for detached and semi-detached properties. If you were fast enough to find one and offer on it, in most cases buyers found themselves in competition. Last year, which was a record breaking year for sales, it took 23 days for all properties to be marketed and sold.

Of special note are Toronto’s luxury sales. These are properties that had a sale price of $2 Million or more. In February 187 properties in this category were reported sold. This represents an incredible 82 percent increase compared to the 103 $2 Million plus properties sold in February 2015. Most of these sales were detached properties, however there were 5 condominium apartments that were sold in this category.

The focus as we head into March is Toronto’s inventory of properties available for sale. At the beginning of March there were only 10,902 active listings in the entire greater Toronto area. This compares with 12,793 in 2015, a decline of almost 15 percent. In the City of Toronto there were only 5,070 available properties, including 3,432 condominium apartments. In the greater Toronto area there are only 1.7 months of inventory. In January there were 1.8 months of inventory.

February’s inventory levels are the lowest that have been seen since the Toronto Real Estate Board began providing months of inventory data. We are a long way from a balanced market. That would require 3 to 4 months of inventory.

Looking forward we should expect more of what we experienced in February. It is unlikely that inventory levels will improve. Coupled with today’s historically low mortgage interest rates, there will be a mad scramble for properties becoming available for sale, which in turn will cause Toronto’s already high average sale prices to break new records.

Collingwood Real Estate Market Update – February 2016

This report summarizes the monthly statistics for the Western Region of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR). While the SGBAR trading area also includes the Eastern Region of Southern Georgian Bay due to an amalgamation of the Midland Real Estate Board and the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board in 2014, this report is restricted to the Western Region, formerly known as the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS®.


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This report summarizes the monthly statistics for the Western Region of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR). While the SGBAR trading area also includes the Eastern Region of Southern Georgian Bay due to an amalgamation of the Midland Real Estate Board and the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board in 2014, this report is restricted to the Western Region, formerly known as the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS®.


As reported in previous months, listing inventory continues to decline. Examining listings for the month of February 2016, there were 275 new listings vs 317 in February 2015, which represents a decline of 13%. Year to date comparisons show February 2016 with 523 listings vs 616 listings for February 2015, marking a decrease of 15%. February 2014 had 377 listings come on the market with 812 listings YTD.



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This trend has created a very strong seller’s market in certain neighborhoods such as downtown Collingwood and family neighborhoods in the Collingwood area resulting in multiple offers in certain price categories and in specific locations. Buyers must be ready to jump on properties as they hit the market. Having pre-approved financing and a good understanding of property values will be beneficial in successfully purchasing a property in current market conditions.


182 sales were reported in February 2016 which is a remarkable 44% increase over the 126 sales reported in February 2015. Even with the continued shortage of listings, sales are up for the third consecutive February, with February 2014 recording 113 sales. The YTD sales follow the same trend showing an increase of sales over the past three years. There has been a 26% increase in the sales YTD with 229 sales in 2015 vs 288 sales reported in February 2016.






When comparing February 2016 to February 2015, there is an increase in the number of sales in all price ranges between $150,000 and $700,000. Sales in the $300,000 to $349,999 price category have shown the most activity with a dramatic jump from 11 sales in February 2015 to 34 sales in February 2015.


There have been 4 sales in the $900,000 to 999,999 price range vs 1 sale in February 2015. Sales in the $1,000,000 to $1,499,999 have increased from 3 in February 2015 to 6 in February 2016. The spike in sales from $900,000 to $999,999 may be in part due to the new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rules for high ratio mortgages which changed February 15, 2016, even though most analysts believe the measure will have a minimal impact on house sales and prices.



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The new rule now requires a 10 per cent down payment on the portion of any mortgage it insures over $500,000. Prior to February 15th, 2016 homebuyers were required to put down a minimum of five per cent to qualify for insurance, protection that lenders insist on when providing a mortgage worth more than 80 per cent of the home’s value. The five per cent rule remains the same for the portion up to $500,000. Homes priced at more than $1 Million require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent, and therefore the CMHC guarantee doesn’t apply.


Southern Georgian Bay has experienced a vibrant winter in spite of unseasonably warm weather conditions. Thornbury’s growth is noticeable with a new Foodland, LCBO and lively downtown core. The Blue Mountain Village is bustling with skiers, visitors and local residents all enjoying winter activities and terrific ski conditions. The surrounding communities are all thriving. All in all, the Southern Georgian Bay real estate market continues to perform well.

Prince Edward County Real Estate Market Update – February 2016

Property, property, everywhere property, wherever you look in Prince Edward County (“the County”), but hardly a listing for sale! Well perhaps a slight exaggeration, but the scarcity of property for potential buyers has definitely been a consistent story these many months in the County. The County is not unique in this regard, but rather this appears to be a recurring refrain across southern Ontario in many of the markets served by this brokerage. With low interest rates continuing to support healthy demand, inventory has not been able to keep up. February is no exception and this appears to be the determinative force in the market outlook moving into the spring months when the real estate market in the County traditionally picks up and comes alive.


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According to the latest numbers released in its Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report, The Quinte and District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) disclosed that only 85 new properties came onto the market in the County in the month of February, a 14% drop from last year when 98 were reported as being listed. This number is also down significantly even from January when 104 properties were listed (which itself was a 32% decline from the numbers reported for the same month the year previous). These numbers combined to bring year to date figures to 189 which marks more than a 24% decline from last year at this time when a total of 250 new listings had been logged by the Quinte Board. The net effect of all of this is that there is simply less to buy with inventory being calculated at only 368 active listings across the County which is 26% less than was available last year at this time when 496 active listings were recorded when the Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report was issued.





Not surprisingly, sales have not kept up with last year either, though the numbers do not trail the decline in inventory to the same degree. Rather the number of properties sold in the County was only two fewer than last year, 22 as compared to 24, an 8% drop. Year to date then, 41 properties have been recorded as sold in the County in 2016 compared to 48 last year at this time, which makes for a 14.5% drop. All in all therefore, sales have not fallen as quickly or at the same rate as inventory. The numbers actually suggest that there is steady demand, but you simply can’t sell what isn’t for sale. With buyers chasing after fewer properties, the market remains tight and the average sale price for properties sold reflects this. The Quinte Board reports that the average sale price for February 2016 came in at $287,488, 22% higher than one year ago when it was calculated to $234,354.





Finally, according to the numbers released by the Quinte Board, it actually took longer to sell the particular sample of properties that did sell in February compared to those that sold in the same month last year, specifically on average 114 days compared to 72 days in February 2015. While this number is not definitive in what it indicates, it could be interpreted as indicating that with as little on the market as there is, even the harder to sell properties that had been languishing on the shelf were selling as there is limited new product to choose from.



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Generally speaking, the state of the County real estate market remains on strong footings moving into the rest of the year. As indicated, the cost of financing remains affordable as is the price point for the area compared to comparable markets served by this brokerage. After considerable economic volatility, particularly in the equity markets, precipitated in large part by the collateral negative impacts from falling oil prices as well as an ongoing sputtering recovery in other economic sectors and a lackluster domestic job market, conditions appear to have stabilized somewhat with the American economy continuing to gain traction and some of the positive spin offs from a lower Canadian dollar starting to take root. One clear message stands out and that is, taking all of the foregoing into account, property owners contemplating putting their property on the market should not hesitate to do so as demand is strong and property is scarce, and it is reasonable to expect a positive uptake and reception for any property that reflects good value.