November 2021 was not only a strong month for luxury real estate compared to last year but one of the best months for condo sales above $2,000,000 ever. There was a total of 28 sales throughout the city’s downtown neighbourhoods (more…)
December’s Toronto and area residential marketplace exhausted all the superlatives that we would normally apply to a robust resale market. Not only was December’s housing market strong by historical standards, but it dramatically exceeded historic norms, performing more like a spring market than what we have come to expect of property sales during the holiday season. It’s almost as if the holiday season didn’t exist, and unfortunately, because of the restrictions imposed by the effects of Covid-19, normal retail shopping was non-existent. Deprived of retail shopping, it appears that buyers focused their attention on housing instead.
The Toronto and area residential resale market continued its torrid pace in November, defying all expectations and forecasts. It wasn’t, however, homogenous in its performance, with different housing types and areas performing at dramatically different levels.
Overall, reported sales for the greater Toronto area were up a scorching 24.3 percent compared to November 2019. Last year, 7,054 residential properties were reported sold. This year that number jumped to 8,761. That number was driven primarily by the sale of ground-level properties, detached, semi-detached, and townhouse homes. Sales of these types of homes increased in both the City of Toronto and the 905 region, and correspondingly, so did average sale prices.
It was no surprise that October’s resale market results continued the record pace that began in June. Reported sales hit a new high in October, with 10,563 residential properties trading hands during the month, a 25 percent increase compared to last year. Not only were sales volume at record levels, but average sale prices also continued their steady upward march. Last October, which was a strong month, 8,445 properties were reported.
We have run out of superlatives to describe the greater Toronto residential resale marketplace. Records have been broken consistently for the last few months, and September was no exception. Two records were shattered in September: most sales ever recorded for the month, and the highest average sale price for all properties reported sold.
Until the Ontario Provincial Government declared a state of emergency, the Toronto and area residential resale market was on course to produce one of the strongest, most robust markets on record, including the establishment of a record-breaking monthly average sale price. All that changed around the middle of the month as people began following provincial health authorities directives: stay home, maintain social distancing, no large gatherings, and of course, wash your hands frequently. When many of Ontario’s businesses were ordered closed, the real estate market didn’t stop but stalled dramatically. (more…)
Happily, the Toronto and area residential resale market place delivered August results as anticipated and in a way that ensures that the resale market will remain stable, sustainable and accessible. The only concern is inventory, particularly in the City of Toronto.
Sales volumes were up by over 13 percent compared to August 2018, while the average sale price increased by 3.6 percent, right in line with the increase in wages. In August wages for permanent employees in Canada increased by 3.8 percent year-over-year. Considering that sales volumes are still playing “catch-up” from 2016 and 2017 numbers, a 13 percent increase compared to last year is modest.
In actual numbers 7,711 properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area. Last year 6,797 were reported sold. The average sale price came in at $792,611 compared to $765,252 for the same period last year. It should be noted that the increase in sales volumes was concentrated in Toronto’s 905 region. Of the 7,711 reported sales 5,158 were primarily located in Halton, Peel, York, and Durham regions. Only 2,553 were City of Toronto properties. This number is almost identical to the 2,550 sales that took place in the City of Toronto last year. As these numbers indicate the City of Toronto made no contribution to the 13 percent increase in sale volumes across the entire marketplace.
The reason for this disparity is two fold. Firstly, the City of Toronto’s average sale price came in at $818,715, at least 5 percent higher than the average sale price achieved in the 905 region. More impactfully is the lack of inventory available to buyers in the City of Toronto.
Condominium apartment sales were practically flat in August (2.2 percent higher than last year). Condominium apartments have not only become pricey —— in the Central core of Toronto where most condominium apartments are located and sell, the average price is approximately $700,000. With mortgage stress testing a buyer of a condominium apartment would need household income substantially higher than $100,000 annually, and if their mortgage financing is high ratio at 10 percent equity, at least a $70,000 deposit. It is these factors that ultimately will keep average sale prices from increasing substantially more than 3 percent year-over-year for sometime to come, even if the Bank of Canada reduces its overnight lending rate, which its wisely refrained from doing at its meeting in early September.
Although condominium apartments are still selling briskly ——- all condominium apartment sales took place in 22 days (the rate in the overall market place was 25 days) and at 100 percent of their asking prices ——- inventory levels are down. Last year there were 2,307 active listing at the end of August. This year only 2,117. The same is true for the overall market. Last year there were 17,864 active listings available to buyers in the greater Toronto area, this year that number has dropped to 15,870, an 11.2 percent decline. This not good news for buyers, even those who have the financial means to comfortably afford Toronto real estate prices, a serious concern going forward.
The high end of the residential resale market also continued its slow recovery. In August 159 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Last year 144 were reported sold, an increase of 10 percent, a number that lags the over market place increase of 13.4 percent. As discussed in previous reports the average sale price of luxury properties out-distanced the overall market place in 2016 and early 2017. That sector of the marketplace is still correcting, however that process is now almost complete. In August the sale of detached properties (average sale of $1,246,392) increased by 0.3 percent compared to last year, one of the few year-over-year increases in the City of Toronto over the last few months.
Given some recent economic numbers there is nothing that would indicate that the prevailing resale market place will change throughout the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. As indicated above, wages rose by 3.8 percent in August; 81,100 new jobs were added to the Canadian economy, 23,900 of those being full-time jobs; and the Bank of Canada did not lower interest rates. If the Canadian economy continues to create jobs throughout the balance of 2019, we should make it to year-end with out the Bank of Canada reducing rates. All of this economic activity ensures a stable real estate market going forward, with modest increases in sale volumes and 3 to 3.5 percent increases in average sale prices.
Chris Kapches, LLP, President and CEO, Broker
July marks the 5th consecutive month of recovery in the Toronto and area residential resale market place. It started in March with 7,138 reported sales. Since March there have been substantive positive monthly variances compared to 2018, culminating in July’s performance.
In July there were 8,595 reported sales, a dramatic 24.3 percent increase compared to the 6,916 sales that were reported in July of last year. Reduced mortgage stress testing thresholds, marginal declines in mortgage interest rates, a strong economy and growing consumer confidence are some of the factors responsible for this string of positive monthly results.
Another market positive is that we are seeing increases in the average sale price for homes in the greater Toronto area, but modest increases consistent with the rise in wages and the consumer price index. In July the average sale price came in at $806,755, only 3.2 percent higher than the average sale price of $781,918 achieved last July. This is the forth connective month where increases on a year-over-year basis have averaged about 3 percent. These increases are very encouraging because they ensure market stability and sustainability.
Market disparity between the Toronto market (416 region) and the greater Toronto area (905 region) continues, although it is not as extreme as it was in 2018 and early 2019. For example: the average sale price in the City of Toronto was $840,000, but only $807,000 in the greater Toronto area. The months of inventory in the City of Toronto is only 1.8 months, and 2.4 months in the 905 regions. All properties sold in the City of Toronto, including all condominium apartments, sold for 100 percent of their asking price (on average) and for only 99 percent in the 905 regions. Lastly in the City of Toronto all new listed properties spent only 20 days on market before being reported sold, while in the 905 regions they spent 23 days on the market. To repeat, although the disparity persists it is declining and not as marked as it once was.
The most sought-after housing type in the greater Toronto area are semi-detached properties. There was a startling increase of 42.3 percent in reported sales of semi-detached properties in the City of Toronto compared to similar sales in July 2018, although price growth was restrained at 5 percent. At months end there were only 257 semi-detached properties available for sale in Toronto. This is very problematic, since 276 semi-detached properties were reported sold in July, more than the total inventory of available properties in August. Unless a plethora of properties come to market in August and the fall, semi-detached properties will be like unicorns in Toronto’s resale marketplace.
The lack if inventory continues to be a concern for the greater Toronto market place. In July 14,393 new listings came to market, almost 4 percent more than the 13,873 that came to market in 2018. Unfortunately, due to the string of absorption numbers over the last four months – over 36,000 properties have been reported sold since March – we enter August with only 17,938 active listings, almost 10 percent less than the 19,725 listings that were available to buyers last year.
Although strong sales numbers were reported for detached properties in July – detached property sales were up by almost 30 percent compared to last year – average sale prices declined by almost 10 percent. Detached property prices are experiencing the whiplash effect. Leading up to April 2017 detached property values increased substantially higher than other property types. During 2019 there has been a downward pull on detached property values, bringing them in line with other housing types, correcting the pre-April 2017 run up.
As has been forecast in these reports for the past few months, the future of the Toronto and area residential resale market is clear – anticipate monthly increases in sales volumes of at least 10 percent and increases in the average sale price of about 3 percent compared to the same month last year. I do not believe that the fall election will have any significant impact on Toronto’s housing market and any stimulation that might be experienced by further declines in mortgage interest rates will be tempered by the mortgage stress tests that remain in place.
Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker