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Toronto Real Estate Market Update – October 2018


The real surprise in October was that the Toronto and area marketplace was more buoyant than expected, especially with a further interest rate hike during the month coming from The Bank of Canada. After being at 0.5 percent for two years, the Bank’s rate has jumped to 1.75 percent in the last 18 months with the latest increase in October.



Notwithstanding these increases, sales in October were 6 percent higher than in the same month last year, and the average sale price for all properties reported sold increased by 3.5 percent.


Last October the Toronto and area market reported 7,069 residential property sales. This year that number climbed to 7,492 reported sales. Last year the average sale price in October was $780, 400. This year it increased to $807,340. The Toronto and area marketplace did not, however, perform evenly.


For example, the increase in the number of sales in the 416 region was more than 8 percent compared to last year, and the average price came in at almost $870,000, more than 8 percent higher than the overall average sale price of $807,340 achieved in the greater Toronto marketplace.



There were other differences as well. All sales in the 416 region took place in only 20 days, whereas it took 24 days for properties to sell in the 905 region. Available inventory is substantially higher in the 905 region. Outside the City of Toronto, there are 2.6 months of inventory and only 1.9 in the City of Toronto. In actual numbers, the number of available properties in the greater Toronto area totalled 18,926 of which only 5,665, or 29 percent, were located in the 416 region. It is not surprising therefore that in the City of Toronto all properties that sold did so for (on average) 100 percent of their asking price, whereas 905 properties only achieved 99 percent of their asking price. There is no doubt that the average sale price as compared to list price achieved by 905 sold properties was even lower than the reported 99 percent. The reported sale price does not account for any reductions in asking price that may have occurred during the life of a listing.


As these numbers indicate there has been no moderation in sale prices in the City of Toronto. In October the average sale price for all detached properties came in at over $1,300,000, semi-detached properties came in at over $1,000,000 and condominium apartments came in at 603, 153, almost 9 percent more expensive than they were last year. Concerns about affordability in the City of Toronto are well-founded.


Another positive change in October was the performance of higher-priced property sales. This sector of the market had been lagging, notwithstanding the improvement of the broader market over the last year. In October 234 properties in the greater Toronto area having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Twelve of these reported sales were condominium apartments. Last year only 208 properties in this price category were reported sold, a year-over-year improvement of more than 12 percent.


As 2018 comes to an end the concern going forward will be available inventory. In October 14,431 properties of all types came to market, almost 3 percent less than the 14,837 properties that came to market last year. As we enter November, there are only 18,926 available properties for buyers, a number almost identical to the number available last year. Over the past 5 months, annual sales growth has outdistanced the number of new listings coming to market, highlighting the unenviable fact that supply remains and is becoming an increasingly troubling issue in the Toronto and area marketplace.


In some areas of the marketplace, the supply problem is becoming acute and unhealthy. In October 331 semi-detached properties in the City of Toronto were reported sold. At the end of the same month, only 323 semi-detached properties were still available for sale, 2.5 percent less than the number of properties that sold. It is not surprising that all semi-detached properties sold for 106 percent of their asking price. In the stalwart neighbourhoods of Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches, 93 semi-detached properties were reported sold. At the end of the month there were only 44 properties available for sale. In these neighbourhoods, semi-detached housing stock is virtually disappearing, lasting only 14 days on the market, and at average sale prices exceeding the asking prices by more than 110 percent.


The number of condominiums available for sale has also dwindled. At the end of October, the available stock in the City of Toronto totalled 1.6 months of inventory, with all sales taking place in a mere 20 days and at 100 percent of their asking price.


There is no doubt the market is strong and stable. Even the mortgage interest rate hikes and the now applied stress testing —- borrowers must qualify at rates approximately 2 percent higher than what they will be paying —- have not destabilized the market, although they have had a moderating effect. Even with declining inventory levels, the higher borrowing costs will constrain uncontrollable increases in sale prices.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – July 2018

There were no surprises as to the market’s performance in July. There has been a consistent improvement both as to sales volumes and average sale prices since January.  July saw the most dramatic year-over-year improvement. As compared to last year, sales volumes in the greater Toronto area increased by 18.4 percent, and the average sale price was 4.8 percent stronger than the average sale price last July.



In July 6,961 residential resale properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area. Last year only 5,869 properties were sold. The average sale price came in at $782,129 as compared to $745,971 last July. The average sale price in the city of Toronto came in at $824,336, almost 6 percent higher than the greater Toronto average, notwithstanding that the bulk of the property sales responsible for this average sale price were condominium apartments.


For the first time since the introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan measures, every housing type saw price increases as compared to last year, including detached properties. The average sale price for detached properties came in at $ 1,350,700, an increase of 3.6 percent.  Semi-detached properties increased by 7.4 percent to $935,300, and condominium apartments continued their upward trajectory, coming in at $582,247, an increase of almost 10 percent.  The average sale price for condominium apartments in Toronto’s central districts, where most sales take place (65 percent), came in at $653,137. Translated as the cost for space, central district condominium apartments are now selling for approximately $1,000 per square foot.


July also saw a recovery in the high-end of the market. The high-end of the market, primarily single-family properties, was dramatically impacted by the implementation of the 15 percent foreign buyer’s tax, the new mortgage stress testing, and three rate increases implemented by the Bank of Canada. For example, during the first 7 months of 2018, realtors reported that 1,247 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more had sold. This number compares very poorly with the 2,625 similar properties that were reported sold over the same period last year, a negative variance of well over 50 percent.

In July this negative pattern was reversed. In July 181 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. All but 16 of these properties were either detached (160) or semi-detached (5) properties. This compares favourably to the 149 similar properties that sold in July of last year, an increase of 21 percent. It should be noted that this improvement in sales volume is due to a combination of buyers adjusting to the various measures introduced by governments, increased mortgage rates and sellers accepting that their expectations as to the ultimate sale price of their properties had to be lowered. This is reflected in the fact that the average sale price came in at only 98 percent of asking price for detached homes, and in districts where Toronto’s most expensive properties are located, at only 96 percent. Even these figures are not entirely representative since they do not account for any price reduction from the original list price of these properties.


Inventory levels are a concern. Throughout 2018 they have been declining, particularly in the 416 regions. Of special concern are semi-detached properties and condominium apartments. In both categories, levels are now lower than they were last year at this time.  In July there were only 329 active semi-detached properties available to buyers in Toronto, and only 2,583 condominium apartments. Last year there were 2,710 available and that figure was substantially less than the prevailing buyer demand. Due to these shortages, all semi-detached properties sold at 103 percent of their asking price. All condominium apartments sold at 100 percent of their asking price.


Going forward the lack of inventory (semi-detached and condominium apartments) will continue to put upward pressure on average sale prices, but that pressure will be limited. The increase in mortgage interest rates and the implementation of the new mortgage stress testing will limit buyers’ ability to stretch to higher prices as was the case last year. What should result is moderate increases in average sale prices and the number of residential resales. Increases should not exceed 3-5 percent until either interest rates decline, or we see substantial increases in wages and salaries. 

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – February 2018

There were no surprises in February’s residential resale data.


Last year in February the market was verging on delirium. With record low mortgage interest rates, a severe supply problem, and a collective psychological belief that if you didn’t buy immediately you would be shut out of the market permanently. Under these conditions it was not surprising that prices were increasing by more than 30 percent on a year-over-year basis.




Its also not surprising that this year we are witnessing negative variances as compared to last year. Since the early months of last year, we have seen government intervention in the form of three mortgage rate hikes, a 15 percent foreign buyers tax, and a rigid new form of stress testing borrowers seeking conventional mortgage loans. Conventional loans are mortgages that do not exceed 20 percent of the value of the property. Yet despite all of this the Toronto and area residential resale market has held up fairly well.


There were 5,175 reported sales in February, a 34 percent decline compared to the 7,955 sales reported last year. But comparing this year’s sales against last February is like comparing the Toronto market against a fictional metropolitan area that no longer exists. Last year’s results were extraordinarily driven by a never before seen market delirium, a delirium that crashed with the announcement of the provincial government’s Fair Housing Plan and the implementation of the foreign buyers tax.


Yet despite all these market shocks, all properties still sold in only 25 days and the average sale price in the greater Toronto area came in at $767,818, a 12 percent decline compared to last February. That decline, however, requires some clarification. The decline in average sale price was primarily driven by the decline in sales and prices in the 905 region and the decline in sales of higher priced properties ($2 Million or higher).  The average sale price in the City of Toronto (416 region) came in at $806,494 and that despite the fact that the bulk of all condominium apartment sales——- the least expensive housing type———are located in the city of Toronto. Prices in the 905 region declined to $767,816, a substantial decline from last year when they came In at $876,000.


The biggest drag on average sale prices was the decline in higher priced property sales. This is not surprising and expected. In last year’s frenzied market, 389 properties sold having a sale price of $2 Million or more, most of them being detached properties. This February only 126 properties in this price point were reported sold, a 67 percent decline. A decline of this magnitude, representing more than 5 percent of the entire market, will have a powerful, negative impact on the market’s average sale price.


Again it is not surprising that this decline has occurred. Detached property values had reached stratospheric, unsustainable levels. Last year the average sale price for a detached property was approaching  $1,600,000 for the greater Toronto area and more than $2,500,000 in Toronto’s central districts. This year average sale prices have been reduced to $1,282,240 and $2,027,761 respectively. These are prices that are beyond the reach of most buyers, particularly with the increase in mortgage interest rates and the new stress testing. Given the impact of these factors we can anticipate further softening of prices for sales of this property type, or at the very least a plateauing.


Semi-detached sales are also in decline compared to last year but to a lesser degree and for different reasons. Across the city of the Toronto the average sale price for semi-detached properties still came in at $985,902, and at more than $1,235,000 in Toronto’s central districts.  Sales of all semidetached properties took place in only 19 days and at 103 percent of their asking price. These are not statistics emerging from a market that is in trouble but rather the opposite. In Toronto’s eastern districts, particularly those closest to central Toronto, all sales took place in only 13 days and for sale prices approaching an astounding 110 percent of the asking price. These numbers point to strong demand and a very limited inventory.


The supply of resale condominium apartments is approaching crisis levels. In February 1,687 new condominium apartment listings came to market, a 10 percent decline in the number of listings that came to market last year. The Toronto condominium market effectively finds itself in exactly the same position as last year at this time, except that prices are almost 11 percent higher. The condominium apartment that one could buy last year for $515,000 will now cost buyers $570,000. In the central districts where most buyers would prefer to locate, the average sale price is now an amazing $645,000.  Last year the average sale price was $ 577,000. All condominium apartments sold on only 22 days and for 100 percent of their asking prices. Ironically in Toronto’s central districts, where prices are highest, all condominiums apartments sold in only 21 days and for 101 percent of their asking prices.


The Toronto and area marketplace is where it would have been without the provincial government’s intervention, constrained by the weight of, what is now clear, unsustainable prices. Going forward sales will pick up as sellers come to the realization that except for the most desirable properties in the most desirable areas, sale prices achieved last year are no longer realistic, particularly with higher mortgage interest costs.  Basic economic factors——employment, strong economy, increasing wages——are very positive and therefore demand will remain powerful. When prices align with buyers’ financial capabilities the market will once again begin to grow, but prices will remain in check, especially if we see further increases in mortgage interest rates, as anticipated.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – December 2017


We move into 2018 saddled by a number of market factors that make predictions more difficult than they already are for any year in real estate. 2017 was, without doubt, one of the most remarkable years in the history of the Toronto residential real estate market. The year began in the most frenzied fashion possible. During the months of January, February, March and April, sale prices were increasing in an unsustainable fashion, topping out at 33 percent on a year over year basis in March. By April the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area had reached an alarming $920,000. That number included all condominium apartment sales, the least expensive housing form available to buyers.



On April 20th, everything changed. On that day the provincial government announced the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. Amongst other measures, it imposed a 15 percent tax on residential real estate purchases by foreign buyers. Technically this measure should have had an insignificant effect on the market – after all only 4 percent of all homes were purchased by foreigners, as defined by the legislation. But the implementation of the tax acted as a psychological wake up call, causing buyers to stop, look at the astronomical amounts they were paying for properties, and wait to see what the impact of the tax would be on sales and sale prices.
By May sales of residential properties had declined by more than 20 percent (with more to come in the ensuing months) and average sale prices began a steady decline. By June the average sale price for all properties sold had declined from $920,000 in March to $794,000.
During the first four months of 2017 Canadians had become the most indebted households in the world, carrying 170 percent debt compared to household income.
In the months that followed, and on the strength of the Canadian economy, the Bank of Canada increased rates twice by a quarter point on each occasion. Suddenly buying a residential property in the greater Toronto area became more expensive to service the associated debt. But government intervention was not yet at an end. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced that effective January 1st, 2018 new stress tests would be applied to buyers borrowing from federally regulated lenders. These stress tests would also be applied to conventional borrowers, that is, borrowers with a down payment of 20 percent or more (high ration borrows have always been stress tested). Effective 2018, conventional borrowers will be qualified using the Bank of Canada’s 5-year benchmark rate (which is approximately 5 percent) or at the current contracted rate plus 2 percent if that rate exceeds the benchmark rate. A buyer currently approved at 3.5 percent will now have to qualify at 5.5 percent.
This brings us to December. Notwithstanding the market upheavals of 2017, December closed the year in a very positive fashion. There were a respectable 4,930 reported sales, only 7 percent less than the 5,305 sales reported in December 2016. The average sale price came in at $735,000, almost 1 percent higher than the average sale price during the same month last year.
A deeper analysis of the resale market indicates that the 416 region has fared much better than the 905 region. The average sale price in the city of Toronto remains strong, with detached properties selling for $1,250,000, semi-detached for $903,000 and condominium apartments for $532,000. By comparison detached properties in the 905 region sold for $910,000, semi-detached for $636,000 and condominium apartments for $430,000.
The most dramatic change between December this year and 2016 was the change in the number of active properties available for sale. Last year there were only 4,930 available properties. This December that number has increased to 12,926, a startling increase of 172 percent. Once again, a deeper analysis indicates that the bulk of the properties available for sale are located in the 905 region, where sales have been slower and prices have declined. Last December there were 2,736 properties available for sale in the 905 region. This year that number has swollen to 9,190 an eye-popping increase of 235 percent. By comparison last year in the 416 region there were 2012 properties available for sale, this year that number rose to 3,736, or 85 percent, considerably lower than the increase of inventory in the 905 region.
Considering everything that occurred in 2017, we should take comfort in December’s numbers. Going forward buyers will have more choice, and given the new stress tests, they will need that choice to find the property that best suits their now more restricted debt servicing budget. Sellers can take heart in that value, for properties reported sold, particularly in the 416 region, have remained strong, with only a slight, and sustainable increase, compared to 2016. All this points to a balanced, sustainable, yet strong residential resale market for 2018. Desirable properties in desirable neighbourhoods will continue to attract buyer attention, generating multiple offers, and over-asking sale prices. What we don’t need is any more government intervention. The market will do nicely without it in 2018.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update – November 2017

November finished strong but in a fractured fashion. To use a cliché, not all markets were equal in November.

The City of Toronto (area code 416) continues to strengthen, following the market declines after the province’s announcement of the Ontario Fair Market Plan and in particular a 15 percent tax imposed on foreign buyers in late April. In the City of Toronto, where generally there was much less foreign buyer activity than in the 905 region, the shock of the foreign buyers tax has been absorbed. The impact of the tax in the 905 region continues to negatively impact that residential resale market.
The only drag on the City of Toronto’s residential resale market is the sale of detached properties.
November Real Estate Market Report Toronto
Detached property sales in the City of Toronto were off by 19 percent compared to November 2016. Sale prices faired more favorably. Compared to the same period last year they declined by only 5 percent, a clear indication that the market is further stabilizing.
Semi-detached and condominium apartments in the City of Toronto produced very strong results. Semi-detached property sales were only off by 4 percent compared to last year, and impressively prices were flat compared to November 2016. Condominium apartments provided even more remarkable results. Sales were up by almost 18 percent compared to last year, and sale prices declined by only 6 percent. This data makes it clear that the residential resale market has almost returned to where it was a year ago, which was the beginning of the irrational market runup that began in January of this year and was crushed by the provincial Fair Market Plan.
Although the market will continue to recover into 2018, it is not anticipated that it will parallel the Vancouver phenomenon after the British Colombia government promulgated a foreign buyers tax in that province in 2016. Since then we have seen two quarter point interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada and the announcement by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions that commencing in January 2018, uninsured borrowers (borrowers who put down more than 20 percent of the purchase price of a property) will have to demonstrate that they can afford their mortgage payments at either the five-year average rate noted by the Bank of Canada or two percentage points higher than whatever rate they were able to negotiate with their bank. Simply stated, borrowers will have to show more income to qualify for a mortgage than they did in 2017.
Overall sales of residential resale properties have shown an impressive improvement compared to the months following the Fair Housing Plan announcement. There were 7,374 properties reported sold in the Greater Toronto area. This compares to 8,503 properties reported sold in November last year, a decline of only 13 percent. Notwithstanding this negative variance, it compares very favorably to the massive negative variances in June, July, August and September. Another positive sign of market recovery. Although sales were not occurring as quickly as they were last year at this time, at only 24 days on market, sales were brisk by historical standards.
The large negative variances in sales in the months mentioned above, (June, July, August and September) and an increased number of properties coming to market have increased the supply of properties available to buyers, with the exception of condominium apartments. Due to their price point, condominium apartment demand has remained strong, resulting in tight inventory. At the end of November, there were 18,197 properties of all types available to buyers in the Greater Toronto Area. This compares with only 8,639 last year, an increase of 110 percent. It should be remembered that the 8,639 properties available last year was a critically and dangerously low supply. That was made evident by the explosion of the irrational resale market that we experienced between January and April 20th of this year. In November, 14,349 new listings came to market, a 37 percent increase compared to the 10,456 new listings that came to market in 2016. There is no question that buyers have considerable choice compared to last year. This is another factor that mitigates against a repetition of what occurred in Vancouver, here in Toronto.
For the first time in years on a month-over-month, year-over-year comparison, the average sale price declined. Last year the average sale price came in at $777,091. This November it came in at $761,091, a decline of 2 percent. The decline was primarily due to the decline in the average sale price of detached properties in the 905 region. There were 2,319 detached properties sold in the 905 region in November. Their average sale price came in at only $898,605. By comparison, the average sale price of detached properties in Toronto (416 region) was a staggering $1,276,184. Unfortunately, there were only 812 properties in this category, not enough to have a significant impact on the overall average sale price.
Going forward, what we do not need is any further government intervention in the market place, unless it is designed to stimulate the supply of housing, particularly purpose built rental units. The provincial government’s politically motivated decision to move to universal rent controls in Ontario may win the liberals the next election, but it will have a devastating impact on the rental housing market and will only hurt those it was “designed” to help – tenants. The market has moved into balance, with more choice for buyers, and price increases now consistent with inflation and wage growth. A balance that will be further stabilized by the new mortgage stress testing. Government should let market forces control the residential resale market, just help with 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.