Tagged ‘house‘

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – March 2018

In March the Toronto residential real estate market clearly demonstrated its resilience. Notwithstanding the provincial government’s attempt to engineer the market, it continues to respond to forces that have nothing to do with the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. That’s due primarily to the fact that the underlying basis for the province’s measures, namely foreign buyer speculation, were unfounded. Since the implementation of the Fair Housing Plan it has been demonstrated that less than 5 percent of all purchases of residential properties in the greater Toronto area involved foreign buyers.

The real and fundamental factors driving the Toronto and area marketplace have remained unchanged: low unemployment, rising wages, a growing (albeit modestly) economy, and most importantly, the combination of low supply and continuous immigration into the greater Toronto area. Ultimately what will control the Toronto residential marketplace is the market itself, specifically the cost of housing. The Fair Housing Plan, to its credit, did act as a wake up call to buyers, but ultimately it will be the cost of mortgage money, qualifying for mortgage financing, rising average sale prices (due primarily to a lack of supply) that will control and moderate the residential resale market.

In March the lack of supply was clearly demonstrated by the rising average sale price. March saw an average sale price for all properties in the greater Toronto area of $784,558, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to January, and almost 7 percent higher than February’s average sale price. Demand was demonstrated by how quickly all listed properties sold in March. The average days on market was only 20. That is a pace consistent with the most aggressive seller’s market. In some areas of the market, particularly in the 416 region, the days on market was even lower.
All detached properties in the 416 region (City of Toronto) sold in only 17 days. All semi-detached properties sold in a shocking 13 days, and in only 11 days in Toronto’s eastern regions. All condominium apartments in the City of Toronto sold in only 17 days. As hard as this is to believe, this is a pace not that different from the delirious pace of the first four months of 2017.

When the market moves at the above-noted pace, it is not surprising to see average sale prices rising. In the City of Toronto all properties, including condominium apartments, sold for 101 percent of their asking prices, coming in at $817,642. All detached properties sold for 100 percent of their asking prices, coming in at almost $1,300,000. Unbelievably semi-detached properties sold for 107 percent of their asking prices, the average sale price exceeding $1,000,000. Even condominium apartments sold for 101 percent of their asking prices
March 2018

with an average sale price of $590,000. In Toronto’s central core, the average sale price for condominium apartments was $656,836, not that much less than average sale price for all property sales in the greater Toronto area. Condominium apartment sales are now taking place at approximately $1,000 a square foot.

The ultimate reason for these incredible numbers is the lack of supply. Notwithstanding that the number of active listings in March (15,971) was 103 percent higher than the 7,865 properties available last year, the bulk of the available listings are located in the 905 region. Of the 15,971 available properties for sale, 75 percent are located in the 905 region. In the case of detached properties, 83 percent of all detached properties are located in the 905 region. The situation involving condominium apartments is reaching crisis proportions. In March 1,573 condominium apartments were reported sold. At the end of March there were only 1,854 condominium apartments available for sale, most of them in Toronto’s central core. If this rate of absorption continues, there will be almost no product for buyers. This is particularly troubling because condominium apartments have been the only affordable housing type available to buyers.

Detached properties were the only housing type that continues to lag behind the rest of the Toronto market. Sales were off, year-over-year, by more than 40 percent, and average sale prices were off by almost 18 percent. The explanation is self evident. During last year’s delirious market, mortgage money was historically cheap, and relatively accessible. Since then not only has mortgage money become more expensive – three bank rate hikes in the last year – but new mortgage stress testing for conventional mortgages makes qualifying substantially more difficult. It should also be noted that during the January through April real estate madness of last year’s average prices reached astronomical levels, levels that simply could not be sustained.

Going forward we are not likely to see much change in Toronto’s residential resale market. The key to change is more supply. There is no indication either at the provincial or municipal level that measures will be taken that would have a positive impact in this area. For political reasons governments may attempt further engineering, but any such actions will have a limited impact on the market, but are likely to have broader, negative economic impact. Without dramatic change to Toronto’s available supply, Toronto will become one of many other cities in the world that because of their political and financial stability where real estate ownership will not be available to everyone. That begs another question: what about the rental supply?

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – October 2017

The Toronto residential resale market returned to form in October. It returned to where it should have been before the frenzy set in at the beginning of this year and buyers began competing for properties indiscriminately and paying unreasonable prices. Price increases of 30 percent on a year-over-year basis are simply unsustainable. Even without the implementation of the 15 percent foreign buyers tax introduced in April the market would have returned to reality. Reality was accelerated by the tax.

Comparing the resale market today with what was happening in the first four months of 2017 is pointless, although that appears to be a favourite pastime of journalists. Rather, if we compare the market to last year, and assess what has happened since the end of May, we get a picture of a strong, stable market, that surprisingly has yet to move to a balanced market. Having said that, we also see a fractured picture in which some trading districts in the greater Toronto area are much stronger than others.



In October, there were 7,118 reported sales, a substantial improvement compared to the 6,379 in September. Last October there were 9,830 reported sales in the greater Toronto area. Although the year-over-year variance was 26 percent, that variance was a dramatic improvement compared to the monthly variances between May and this month.
Except for the condominium apartment sector, what has changed is the supply of properties on the market. In October supply was up by almost 70 percent compared to last year. At the end of October there were approximately 18,850 properties available for buyers to purchase. That compares to only 10,563 last October. It was last year’s lack of supply, coupled with historically low mortgage interest rates, that drove the market into the frenzy that we experienced during the months from January to April.
Buyers are still alive. They are now more deliberate. However when attractive homes in desirable neighbourhoods become available buyers respond quickly, often still finding themselves in competition. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that all sales in the greater Toronto area took place in only 26 days. By any assessment this is a scorching pace.
Twenty-six days represents the overall days on market. Depending on housing type and location the market is even faster. For example, and notwithstanding that the average sale price for detached properties came in at $1,287,765 in the City of Toronto ($1,008,207 in the 905 region), all detached properties sold in only 19 days. Semi-detached properties, with an average sale price of $948,309, sold in an astounding 17 days. Historically strong neighbourhoods like Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beaches are seeing sales take place in only 10 to 12 days, and for average sale prices substantially higher than asking prices. The market place in these neighbourhoods appears to be shockingly unchanged when compared to the pre-April market.
The average sale price for all properties sold also strengthened in October. It came in at $780,104, up 2.3 percent compared to October 2016. In September, the average sale price was $775,564. A year-over-year increase of approximately 3 percent is ideal. It is consistent with inflation and more importantly wage increases. During the later part of last year and into this year, price increases were many fold times higher than increases in wages. That is an unsustainable situation. Since April we have also seen the Bank of Canada increase the bank rate by 50 basis points, causing mortgage interest rates to rise, although at 3.5 percent (five-year fixed term) they continue to be historically low. Looming ahead is the stress testing that will take place in January. Even though borrowers will be paying the lenders reduced mortgage rates, they will be qualified on a rate 2 percent higher than what they will be paying. The new stress testing will act as a further control on exuberant increases in home prices.
Although prices generally have come under control and are in the sustainable range, condominium apartments continue to sell for approximately 21 percent more than a year ago. There are two reasons for this unique activity. Even though condominium apartments are becoming pricier, they are still the most affordable housing type available to buyers. Secondly there is little supply. Whereas the overall supply of housing year-over-year has increased by almost 80 percent. There have been no appreciable increases in the supply of condominium apartments.
Under these circumstances it is not surprising that condominium apartment prices are rising. In October, the average sale price for condominium apartments came in at $555,004. In Toronto’s central core where most condominium apartments are located and where most sales take place, the average sale price was an eye-popping $620,000.
In October, we also witnessed an improvement in the numbers of high-end sales, properties having a sale price of $2,000,000 or more. In September, there were 188 sales in that category. In October that number jumped to 208, an increase of more than 10 percent.
As the resale market moves towards the end of the year and a form of balance that we have not experienced in some time, both buyers and sellers should be thrilled with the markets transformation since April. We have an increase in supply for buyers, and steady but sustainable price increases for sellers. The area of major concern, which is beyond the scope of this residential resale market report, is the rental market and its critically low vacancy rate.

Real Estate Market Report October 2017

Prince Edward County Real Estate Market Update – October 2017

With the cooling weather and shorter days of autumn, the pace of the real estate market in Prince Edward County appears to be following suit, and reflecting the moderating trends the Greater Toronto Area (“the GTA”) faced over the summer. While choice and desirable waterfront, character and acreage properties continue to find buyers, the numbers produced by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) in its Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report confirm that while both new listings and inventory are increasing, the urgency of buyers has dissipated, with many holding out until the perfect opportunity comes along. Markets appear to be rebounding in the GTA with both sales and price recovering from the post peak doldrums, just as they have in the Greater Vancouver trading area following the imposition of measures (including the foreign speculators’ tax) intended to reign in the overheated real estate market, but as is often the case, there appears to be a lag of a couple of months in surrounding satellite markets to what is happening in the urban core.


toronto real estate market report October 2017

In October, 44 properties changed hands in the County which is both 7 fewer than the month previous, and 17, or 29% fewer than the 61 which were reported sold the same month in 2016. Overall, notwithstanding the robust pace of sales experienced in the first half of the year, sales year to date now trail last year’s numbers by 4% with a total of 568 sales being reported by months end in October compared with 592 at this time last year.
In addition, the number of new properties coming onto the market in the County increased in October, both as compared with September as well as the year previous. A total of 89 properties were reported as new listings which is 27% more than the 70 that came out in October 2016, and brings the number of new listings year to date to 1091 which, based on the earlier shortage of properties is still 3% behind last year’s figures at this time when 1120 new listings were reported. That, combined with the decline of sales inevitably has an impact on inventory. Not surprisingly active listings were also up 19% with 345 active listings being reported as available at month’s end compared to 290 last year at the same time.
Despite that, and perhaps due to the prolonged shortage of desirable properties available to buy in the County for so long, the average days on market continues to be lower than last year with the average property selling in 70 days compared to 74 one year ago.
Consistent with the comments at the outset of this report that desirable properties continue to find buyers, and confirmation that there is still strong demand for the right property (even if buyers are being pickier), the average sale price continues to go up, and not insignificantly. In fact, those properties that did sell, did so for 24% more than they did last year with the average sale price coming in at a very respectable $365,619 compared to $294,402 in October 2016. Any suggestion therefore that properties in the County have in any way lost their luster, or that there is a broader slackening of demand is misplaced. Rather, under the circumstances, and given what has happened in nearby urban markets, a sense of measure and sanity appears to have returned to the market, where qualified and interested buyers are simply less inclined to pay whatever it takes to get a foothold in the market and are instead, and as indicated, prepared to wait for the right property to come along and act decisively at that point.
Reports confirm that urban markets, both locally as well as across Canada are returning to a more bullish track, with Toronto in particular, being in the early stages of same as its suburban market continues to lag. But it is still too early to tell what the impact of further tightening in lending criteria with the imposition of broader stress tests to conventional mortgages will be. Some speculate that it could prompt a brief surge in activity as buyers try to lock in prior to the imposition of the more stringent financial qualification requirements. Generally speaking, however, the broader economic outlook appears positive with indicators generally strong despite the ongoing threat of potentially destabilizing caveats on the international stage with respect to trade and protectionism, amongst other influences.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – September 2017

September marked a change in the Toronto residential market place. For the first time since April, the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area actually rose.

The monthly average sale price had been on a downward spiral ever since the provincial government announced the introduction of a 15 percent foreign buyers tax on April 20th.
In September the average sale price came in at $775,546. September’s average sale price was 6 percent higher than August’s average sale price, and almost 3 percent higher than the average sale price achieved in September, 2016. This is a welcome change, and the first step to the resale market’s return to normalcy. Not the frenzied market that we experienced from January through April, but the 2016 market, that saw property values rise in a moderate, sustainable way.
Although the market did recover in September, the recovery remains fractured, with some sub-markets out performing others. On the broadest level, the 416 area code, as a trading district, is outperforming the 905. Sales volumes for the greater Toronto area were down 35 percent compared to last year. This September 6,379 properties were reported sold, last year there were 9,830. Comparing the 416 and 905 trading areas, a different picture emerges.
Whereas the overall market was o by more than 35 percent compared to last year, the 416 trading area had only declined by 29 percent. The 905 trading area did not fair as well, with sales o by almost 40 percent. The same is true for average sale prices.
As indicated above, the monthly average sale price for the greater Toronto area was $775,546, up 2.6 percent compared to last year. On an unweighted basis, the average sale price for all properties sold in the 416 region increased by almost 10 percent compared to last year. In the 905 the increase was slightly less than 6 percent. So clearly the numbers emerging from the 905 region are acting as a downward drag on the results of the overall resale market place.
But even within the 416 trading districts there are regional differences. Sales of detached properties were down by 41 percent in September. The volume of semi-detached properties sales was down by only 15 percent, and 23 percent for condominium apartments. Average sale prices for detached and semi-detached properties rose by 4 and 5 percent respectively compared to September 2016, whereas condominium apartment average sale price rose by 24 percent compared to last year.
Notwithstanding the negative press concerning the Toronto resale market place and its “collapse”, house prices in Toronto continue to be very expensive, but given prevailing interest rates, still sustainable. In September the average price for a detached home in Toronto’s 416 region was $1,355,234. The cost of a semi-detached home was not far behind at $935,467. Even condominium apartments are becoming pricy. In September, the average price for a condominium apartment was $554,069. In Toronto’s central districts, where most of Toronto’s condominium apartment towers are located, the average price for a condominium apartment was $615,654. There were 917 sales in this category, almost 1/6 of the total inventory of properties sold in September. Notwithstanding these elevated prices, all the condominium apartments sold for 100 percent (on average) of their asking price.
On the freehold side, the region just to the east of the central core, comprising the neighhourhoods known as Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches, continues to trade as if the downturn experienced everywhere else in the greater Toronto area miraculously missed it. In September all detached properties in these areas sold for almost 104 percent of their asking price and in a mere 14 days. Semi-detached properties moved even faster. Semi-detached properties in these neighbourhoods sold in just over 8 days and for sale prices that exceeded the asking price by more than 105 percent. The average sale price of detached and semi-detached properties reported sold in these neighbourhoods was $1,286,000 and $928,000 respectively.
Over the last 5 months the market has moved from an insane seller’s market to a more nuanced, balanced market (except of course in Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches). In September, 16,469 new properties came to market, an increase of more than 9 percent compared to the 15,050 that came to market last year. At the end of September there were 19,021 properties available to buyers, a stunning increase compared to the paltry 11,255 available last year. In percentage terms, availability has increased by 69 percent, year-over-year.
Needless to say, with an increase in supply, both average days on the market and months of inventory have increased dramatically. Year-over-year days on market have increased from 16 to 24 days. Months of inventory, calculated on a 12 month moving average is now 1.5 months for the greater Toronto area. Months of inventory, using September data, is more like 3 months, a much more accurate reflection of the market than the 12 month moving average.
The market is normalizing. It will continue to improve moderately, as year-end approaches. Sellers hoping for the heady days of January through April will be disappointed. In addition to assimilating the impact of the foreign buyers tax, the Toronto market has had to contend with two quarter-point mortgage interest rate hikes, and potentially more to come. There is also the looming threat of additional stress testing which the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has proposed. All of these factors will have a moderating effect on the residential resale market going forward.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – August 2017

There were no surprises in the market data for the month of August. It was expected that as compared to last year the number of reported sales would be down, and that the average price from residential resale properties in the greater Toronto area would once again decline.

There were 6,357 properties reported sold in August, almost 35 percent fewer than the 9,748 properties reported sold last August. It should be remembered the sales reported last August were record breaking in a record breaking year. Last year 113,044 properties changed hands, by far more than any other year in Toronto real estate record keeping. The good news is that notwithstanding the size of the decline it was less dramatic than the months of June and July.
The average sale price came in at $732,292, 3 percent higher than the average sale price of $710,978 achieved in August last year. Although August’s average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area is substantially less than the record breaking average sale prices achieved in April of this year, it would appear that the decline in prices may have plateaued. Throughout the month weekly average sale prices were consistently around $730,000.
In the City of Toronto detached properties have seen the sharpest decline in sales volume and in average sale prices. Sales volume on a year-over-year basis is down by almost 35 percent. (It should be noted that in the 905 region sales volume is down by almost 42 percent). Average sale prices were off by just over 1 percent. This means that on a statistical basis detached homes have given up all the price gains achieved leading up to the month of April and the province’s announcement that it would implement a foreign buyer’s tax of 15 percent of the sale price of properties.
It is not clear if all price gains achieved by detached properties have been lost. There just simply is not enough data to make this definitive determination. In August 132 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Last August 233 properties in this category were reported sold. Almost all of these properties were detached homes. Clearly when fewer properties in the highest price categories are selling, the over-all average sale price will decline. It is not uncommon to see fewer high end sales in August. The key question is were there fewer sales because these properties were not selling, or was it due to sellers not putting these properties on the market, and if they did, continued to hold out for higher prices. September’s data will go a long way in answering that question.
Although it is taking longer for properties to sell, the pace of sales was still brisk in August. All sales took place in only 23 days. Last year all sales took place in 18 days. Even detached properties in Toronto’s central core, which sold for an average sale price of $2,113,130, all sold in only 26 days. Semi-detached properties continued to move briskly selling in just 20 days. In the case of semi-detached properties in Toronto’s east-end districts (Riverdale, Leslieville, Beaches) sales took place in only 13 days on average and for sale prices that exceeded the asking price on average by about 104 percent.
Although condominium apartments sales have slowed year-over-year, condominium apartments average sale prices have not. Last August the average sale price for condominium apartments in Toronto’s central districts was a mere $493,324. This August that same apartment will cost a buyer $600,781, an increase of almost 22 percent. In fact, the average sale price for condominium apartments increased throughout the entire City of
Toronto by more than 20 percent in August. Sales on the other hand were down by about 25 percent.
The decline in condominium apartment sales in August is due to two factors. Rising prices have made some units inaccessible to a growing group of first-time buyers, while shrinking inventories have lessened the choice available to those buyers that can afford to purchase Toronto’s ever more expensive condominium apartments. In August there were only 2,353 units available for sale. Last August there were 2,950, a decline of 21 percent. This is contrary to the overall market trend which sees listings of all properties up an eye-popping 65 percent compared to the same period last year.
Listing generally are beginning to decline. In August only 11,523 new properties became available for sale, a decline of almost 7 percent compared to the 12,346 properties that became available last year. If this trend continues and if sales pick up there will be a rebound in average sale prices, not to the absurd price increases that were taking place in April, but annualized increases of 5 to 7 percent which are healthy and sustainable.
September’s performance will be a crucial month in providing some guidance as to how quickly the market will begin to see an increase in activity and healthy increases in average sale prices. Now that two quarter point interest rate hikes have been factored into the market, it will simply be matter of seeing when buyers will take their finger off the pause button. The fundamentals in the Toronto and area market remain sound and are growing stronger. Employment is growing, high levels of immigration to the region continue, consumer confidence is strong, and notwithstanding two interest rate hikes, by historical standards rates continue to remain low. All these factors point to a real estate market that should be stronger than what we are currently experiencing.

Collingwood Real Estate Market Update – August 2017

The Southern Georgian Bay Association Of REALTORS® (SGBAR) comprises two distinct markets. This report summarizes the monthly statistics for the SGBAR Western Region. 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 Association Of REALTORS® in 2014.



As unpredictable as the summer weather, the August 2017 market was just as irregular with some properties selling quickly with or without offer presentation dates and bidding wars, while plenty of others waited it out.
And even though the monthly Sales-To-Listings Ratio indicated a Seller’s market in August 2017, the significant drop from 97.73 in August 2016 to 58.28 in August 2017 showed a clear sign that the market had changed year over year and demand was not the same as last August. The ratio compares the number of sales to the number of new listings in any given market. A Seller’s market occurs when the Sales-To-Listings Ratio reaches 55% or more. A Buyer’s market occurs when the Sales-To-Listings Ratio is 35% or less.
Perhaps due to some Sellers hoping to bene t from the historically low inventory which has been helping to drive up sale prices, new listings were up 6% from last August with 326 new listings reported August 2017 over 309 in August 2016. Year to Date (YTD) new listings were down 12% year over year with 2660 new listings reported August 2017 vs 3022 in August 2016.
The Seasonally Adjusted Months of Inventory for August 2017 was 3.7 months, up from 2.1 months last August, but still well below the long term average for this time of year. Two years ago the Seasonally Adjusted Months of Inventory was 4.7, and 5 years ago it was 11.2. Months of Inventory is a measure of how long it would take to sell current inventories (assuming that no more listings are added) at the current sales pace.
And likely due to the usual summer slump combined with low inventory and patient Buyers waiting for prices to come down, sales were down 37% year over year with 190 sales reported in August 2017 compared to 302 sales reported in August 2016. Of those 190 sales, the number of sales in every price category from under $50,000 to $3,000,000 plus, was down or equal to August 2016 with the exception of sales of properties ranging from $700,000 to $799,000 and $900,000 to $999,999, where sales were up over the number of sales recorded August 2016. YTD sales were down 10% with 1752 sales reported vs 1943 in August 2016.
With ongoing demand for residential single family homes both from local Buyers and families moving from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the average price of a single family residential home in the Western Region rose 20.1% from $465,199 in August 2016 to $558,981 in August 2017. However, likely due to the decline in the number of sales year over year, the Total Sales Dollar Volume for August 2017 was down 30% over August 2016. YTD figures still showed an 11% increase given the particularly strong market performance experienced earlier in the year.
YTD, the average sale price of a residential single family home was up across the board for the Western Region August 2017 over August 2016 however the number of sales was down in all areas except The Blue Mountains. The YTD average sale price of a residential single family home in Collingwood in August 2017 was up 20.5%, 502,994 vs $417,399 in August 2016. The number of sales in Collingwood YTD was down 16.7% year over year. The Blue Mountains reported a 28.2% increase in average sale price, $786,686 vs $613,710 year over year, with a 6.4% increase in the number of homes sold in August 2017 vs August 2016. YTD, Prices were up 22.6% in The Municipality of Meaford with August 2017 reporting an average sale price of $404,611 vs $329,978 in August 2016. The number of sales decreased 20.2% year over year. Grey Highlands saw the largest price increase YTD with a 29.2% jump year over year, with the August 2017 price coming in at $580,400 vs $449,112 in August 2016. Sales were down 4.2%. Clearview reported a 9.3% increase in the average price, $554,153 over $464,436 year over year with a 24.8% decrease in the number of homes sold 2017 vs 2016. YTD, Wasaga Beach was up 27.4%, with the average sales price reported at $421,309 over $330,724 for August 2016. Sales were down 22.4% year over year.
Not only did August experience cool temperatures, the August market was definitely cooler than the frenzied spring market. Many bold Sellers with high expectations remained hopeful they would see higher prices, while tentative Buyers were prepared to offer less than asking or simply wait it out. With a second interest rate increase announced early September by the Bank of Canada, it remains to be seen whether that will add any additional pressure on fall market conditions.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – July 2017

It is safe to say that the lull in the Toronto and area residential resale market is not due exclusively to the summer doldrums, although the seasonal slowdown that happens every year in July and August is no doubt adding to the slow market.


In July, 5,921 residential properties were reported sold for the greater Toronto area. That is a far cry from the 9,929 properties reported sold for the same period in 2016, a decline of more than 40 percent. July was the second month in a row when year-over-year sales declined by more than 35 percent.
Average sale prices continue to be higher than the same period last year, but not by the staggering increases that we experienced earlier in the year. In July, the average sale price came in at $746,218, 5 percent higher than the average sale price of $710,471 achieved last year. The average sale price for the greater Toronto area is down dramatically from prices achieved at the beginning of this year. For example, the average sale price for all properties sold in April was $919,449. Since then the average sale price has decreased by almost $175,000 or more than 18 percent.
This unprecedented rapid decline in average sale prices has put tremendous pressure on lenders trying to determine current fair market value. As a result, buyers who purchased closer to April with closing dates in late June and July are having trouble funding their purchases as lenders reduce the amount they are prepared to loan based on the declining value of properties. Although this is a temporary and transitional period it is an unpleasant place to be if you are a seller who has bought and is having difficulty selling in the face of rapid declining average prices or a buyer whose financial institution is reassessing the amount of financing it is prepared to advance.
Buyers, who have hit the pause button, waiting to see how far prices will drop before they re-engage have more choice than they have enjoyed for a number of years. In July, 14,171 new listings came to market, 5.1 percent more than the 13,482 new properties that came to market last July. Added to the increase in inventory in May and June, at the end of July there were 18,751 properties available to buyers in the greater Toronto area, more than 65 percent than the paltry 11,346 properties available in July last year. Although the difference in the number of available properties this year compared to last is stunning, on a 12-month moving average at the end of July those 18,751 active listings still represented only 1.3 months of inventory. A balanced market is represented by 3 to 4 months of inventory. If the market picks up in the fall, as is expected, supply could once again become a problem.
Buyers are taking longer to make decisions about buying properties. In July, all properties sold (on average) in 21 days. Last year it only took 16 days for all properties to sell. Detached properties appear to be taking longer to sell than semi-detached and condominium apartments. In July, it took 22 days for detached homes to sell. Semi-detached properties sold in only 19 days and condominium apartments sold in 20 days and only 19 days in Toronto’s central districts were most of the condominium apartment supply is located. The only explanation for this difference is price-point. Less expensive properties continue to sell quickly.
This is clearly the case with condominium apartments, where a supply problem is developing. In July, there were 2,710 condominium apartments for sale in the City of Toronto. Last year there were 3,307 apartments. We enter August with 29 percent fewer available condominium apartments for buyers to buy. There will be tremendous pressure on condominium apartment prices, as more buyers begin competing for an ever-shrinking inventory in the fall. It’s not surprising therefore that in Toronto all condominium apartments sold for 100 percent (on average) of their asking price in July.
The change in the residential resale market, and the speed with which it has changed, is very confusing. There has been no change in the economic fundamentals between mid-April and the end of July, yet the market is substantially down in average price and in volume. The provincial foreign buyer tax in itself cannot be responsible for this tectonic shift. By the government’s own admission, foreign buyers represented only about 5 percent of all sales. This is a classic example of the market changing because of psychology. But at the end of the day, the demand that was in the market in April is still there today, and at some point in time, perhaps when buyers perceive that the botton has been reached, those buyers will be back in the market, perhaps not as exuberantly as before, but they will be there.
We enter August in an uneven market. Condominium apartments continue to sell briskly with supply declining. Detached and semi-detached properties are slower to sell as average prices declines.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – June 2017

June’s residential resale market data is as bewildering as the data was in May. The attention getting news is that sales were lower by 37.3 percent compared to sales achieved in June 2016. Last year 12,725 properties were reported sold. This June only 7,974.



Normally when sales are off by almost 40 percent other key market factors are also trending into negative territory. For example, the average days that properties are staying on the market, and the sale price to list price ratios. Ironically these aspects of the market are showing resilience. In June (on average) all properties reported sold spent only 15 days on the market. During June 2016, all properties were reported sold in only 15 days as well. It must be remembered that last year was a record breaking year for residential property sales in Toronto.
Not only did most properties sell quickly, but they sold on average for their asking price or more. Detached houses in the City of Toronto all sold for 100 percent of their asking price. In the eastern trading areas, they sold for 101 percent. Semi-detached property sales for the most part were even stronger coming in at 103 percent of their asking prices. Even condominium apartments sold for 101 percent of their asking price.
These two aspects of the market indicate that buyers are prepared to move quickly for the properties they want, and sellers are getting their asking prices or higher, and as indicated above, these sales are taking place at the same pace as they did during last year’s record breaking market. As a footnote, it should be noted that with so many properties having been listed more than once in the lst two months, it is hard to determine if days on market and sales to list ratios are reflecting accurately.
One other aspect of the market should be highlighted. That is the months of inventory. Over the past two months inventory levels in Toronto have increased dramatically. In May inventory levels were up almost 50 percent compared to the same period last year. During the month of June, 19,614 new properties came to market, almost 16 percent more than the 16,918 properties that came to market in 2016. However, notwithstanding these massive increases in inventory, at the end of June active listings only totaled 19,680. At 19,680 available properties for sale the months of inventory was still only 1.2 months based on a 12 month moving average.
Although the market stalled in May and in June, there is still insufficient inventory to meet demand, even with many buyers on the sidelines waiting to see how Toronto’s residential resale market will unfold.
Average sale prices continue to be higher than prices compared to last year. Detached houses in the City of Toronto sold for $1,386,524 a 10.1 percent increase. Semi-detached houses at $987,404 were similarly up by 8.1 percent. The most dramatic increase occurred in the resale price of condominium apartments. The average price in the City of Toronto came in at $552,619, a 23.2 percent higher than last year at this time.
In the central core of the city the average sale price for condominium apartments came in at $619,428, with all sales taking place in just 15 days and at 101 percent of the asking price.
Although prices are considerably higher than they were a year ago, they  have come down dramatically from the highs of April. At the mid point of the month the average sale price for homes in the greater Toronto area was $949,470. That price has steadily drifted down since then. Over the past few weeks it appears have stabilized around $775,000, which is still higher than the average sale price of $747,018 in June of 2016.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there are two types of buyers. Those that either of necessity or opportunity are taking advantage of the historically low mortgage interest rates and buying the properties they like, and those buyers that have hit the pause button on the assumption that prices might yet fall to lower levels. As indicated, it appears that price declines have stopped, but we will not be certain until we have at least 6 to 8 weeks more of average sale price information.
The pattern that is developing is similar to how the market unfolded after the B.C government implemented a foreign buyer tax. The market went into pause mode, with sales declining rapidly. A year later the Vancouver market is reporting record level sales and prices, with the government once again contemplating further measures it might implement to curb the market.
Conclusion for Infographic,
The implementation of the foreign buyers speculation tax has caused the market to stall with sales off by almost 40 percent. Buyers have hit the pause button anticipating lower prices.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – May 2017

There have been a number of changes in the Toronto and area residential resale market in the last two months, and yet in many ways it continues to resemble the market that had politicians and economists expressing sustainability concerns in February and in March.




How is the market different?
It can be summed up in one word: supply. The number of properties in the market is substantially higher than it was just two months ago and as compared to the same time last year. At the end of May, there were 18,477 listings available to buyers. This compares with only 12,931 listings available in May 2016, a stunning 42.9 percent increase.
The available inventory spiked as a result of all the new listings that came to market. In May 25, 837 new listings came to market. In May 2016 only 17,356 new properties became available for sale, an eye-popping increase of almost 49 percent. In considering the number of new listings that came to market, one must exercise caution. Properties that did not sell during the month were often “listed” on multiple occasions in an effort to find a list price that would attract buyers, especially those properties that were expecting multiple offers and failed to receive them. So how real the new listings number is that has been reported is questionable.
It should also be noted that the bulk of the new inventory coming to market in May was in the 905 region of the greater Toronto area. For example: whereas the increase in inventory was up by 48.9 percent in the greater Toronto area, it was only 24.7 percent in the City of Toronto. More surprisingly, whereas active listings increased by 42.9 percent in the greater Toronto area, the increase in active listings in the City of Toronto was an insignificant 1.8 percent.
This disparity is probably due to the Province’s announcement that it will implement a foreign buyer’s tax of 15 percent of the purchase price of properties. There has been a high concentration of foreign buyers in the 905 region, particularly in Richmond Hill, Markham, and Vaughan. The threat of this tax may have caused sellers waiting for prices to continue rising to put their properties on the market in anticipation of the new foreign buyer’s tax.
How is the market still the same? Firstly, and notwithstanding the plethora of new listing that came to market, the months of inventory available to buyers was only 1.1 months. By any measure this is an inadequate supply, still favouring a seller’s market. By contrast, at the end of May 2016, which was a record breaking year, there were 1.6 months of inventory in the greater Toronto area and 1.9 months in the City of Toronto.
Secondly, properties continued to sell quickly. In fact, on average all properties sold in 11 days throughout the greater Toronto area, as compared to 15 days last year, a decline of almost 27 percent. In Toronto’s eastern trading areas the average days on market was only 10 days and even lower in the trading areas that encompass popular neighbourhoods such as Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches.
Thirdly, properties not only sold quickly, but they continued to sell substantially above the list price. On average all properties in the greater Toronto area sold for 104 percent of their asking price. In the City of Toronto the sales- to-list ratio was even higher, with all sales coming in at 106 percent of their asking price. In May 2016 all properties in the City of Toronto sold at 105 percent of the asking price. Not one trading district in the entire City of Toronto saw sales on average less than 105 percent of the list price, with some districts reporting sales-to-list ratios of more than 110 percent.
Fourthly, average sale prices continue to rise. In May the average sale price came in at $863,910, an increase of almost 15 percent compared to May, 2016. In the City of Toronto detached property sales came in at $1,503,868 a 6.6 percent increase compared to last year. Similarly semi-detached properties increased by 27 percent to $1,062,318 and condominium apartments continued their increase in value to $564,808, an increase of almost 28 percent compared to a year ago.
A notable change was the pace of sales. Last May there were 12,790 reported sales for the greater Toronto area, an all-time record month for sales. This year reported sales of properties came in at 10,196, a decline of 20 percent. May marks the second consecutive month in which sales have decreased on a year-over-year basis.
The consensus is that the change in the market place will persist for a few months, perhaps into the fall or later, as buyer and seller expectations adjust. But as the Vancouver market demonstrated in May, governmental measures to cool that market and to bring a measure of affordability have failed. The Vancouver market cooled dramatically after the B.C. government announced legislation to curtail it, namely a foreign buyer tax, like the one announced for Toronto and Southern Ontario. But in May the Vancouver market was once again breaking records with an average sale price of $1,830,956 for detached properties, up 5 percent from the same month last year and just surpassing the previous high of $1,826,541 achieved in January 2016.
Expect the same scenario to play out in the Toronto residential resale market over the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

Muskoka Real Estate Market Update – May 2017

The best way to sum up the Muskoka and area recreational marketplace at the end of May is as follows: the number of sales is increasing, while the volume of available inventory is decreasing. This is clearly not an ideal market scenario, particularly for hopeful buyers.

The story on the inventory side unfolds as follows. Generally, both for recreational and residential properties, the numbers are down. The Muskoka – Haliburton Association of Realtors reports that year to date it has processed 3,964 listings in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia. That compares to 4,365 during the same period last year, a decline of 10 percent. The decline in available recreational properties is even more severe.

At the end of May there were only 726 properties available for sale across the entire region. Last year there were 1,123, a staggering decline of 35 percent. At the end of May 2015 there were 1,348 recreational properties available for sale. The same is happening in the three major regions in which Chestnut Park is active.

In the Haliburton Highlands there were only 154 properties available for sale, a decline of 39 percent compared to the 253 that were listed for sale in 2016. In 2015 there were 337 recreational properties available for potential buyers to purchase. Supply in the Haliburton Highlands has dwindled by about 55 percent in two years.

Lake of Bays is following the pattern of the Haliburton Highlands. At the end of May listings of recreational properties were down to a mere 75, a sharp 30 percent decline compared to the 105 available last year. In 2015 there were 132 available properties.

Although there are more properties available on Muskoka’s big lakes, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka, on a percentage basis the decline in available inventory is the same as that in Lake of Bays. At the end of May there were 273 properties listed for sale, a 30 percent decline compared to the 337 available last year. In 2015 there were 382 available recreational properties.

Notwithstanding these declines in available inventory, sales of recreational properties are on the rise in all regions. Over all the Association reports that 400 properties have been reported sold year-to-date. That represents an increase of almost 12 percent compared to the 359 properties sold in 2016. In 2015 only 278 recreational properties were reported sold at this time of year.

The region showing the greatest increase in sales year-over-year is Lake of Bays. Last year at this time a paltry 27 recreational properties had been reported sold. This year that number has jumped to 45, an increase of 66 percent.

Sales on Muskoka’s big lakes are also up. Last year 91 properties were reported sold. At the end of May 2017, that number has climbed to 108, an increase of almost 19 percent.

The only region showing a decline in sales is the Haliburton Highlands. I suspect that that decline is due to a supply shortage rather than a lack of buyer demand. It must be remembered that inventory decline in the Haliburton Highlands was greater than any other region. Last year 111 recreational properties were reported sold, this year only 101, a decline of approximately 10 percent.

A decline in supply in conjunction with rising sales usually means rising average sale prices. A look at sales and average sale prices for all reported sales on Muskoka’s big indicates that year-over-year prices are rising. In fact prices have been rising since 2010, with, of course, fluctuations on the various lakes depending on the volume of very high priced properties that have been reported sold.

In May the average sale price for all properties reported sold on Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph, and Lake Muskoka was $2,139,214. Last year the average sale price for all recreational properties reported sold on the big lakes was $1,962,797. This represents a year-over-year increase of 9 percent. Compared to the average list price for all properties sold on the big lakes the sale-to-list ratio is approximately 95 percent, only slightly better than the 94 percent achieved in 2016.
Chestnut Park’s number year-to-date have been very strong, notwithstanding the dramatic decline in inventory. Chestnut Park continues to be the dominant brokerage in the Port Carling area, outdistancing the next nearest competitor office by more than 33 percent in dollar volume of reported sales. Chestnut Park’s sales representatives were responsible for approximately 27 percent of the dollar volume of all reported sales. Chestnut Park’s sales have totaled more than $98 Million to the end of May.

At this stage it is difficult to forecast how the latter half of 2017 will unfold. The Provincial Government announced measures to cool the red hot Toronto and area residential resale market on April 20, 2017. For the most part those measures do not apply to the Muskoka and area market, yet the psychological affect of those measures may in infiltrate the Muskoka market and cause and cause buyers to be more deliberate and patient. Most of the measures announced in April should have had no impact on the Toronto market – only 4 to 5 percent of all buyers were foreign buyers – yet the market in the greater Toronto area is o by approximately 20 percent year over year.