October Market

October Market Report.

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.

This October there was also a sharp rise in the average sale price. Last October the average price for all properties sold was $851,877. This year the average sale price increased by almost 14 percent to $968,318. Depending on the location the average sale price was even higher. In the City of Toronto, the average sale price came in at $1,025,925. This number is startling when it is remembered that it includes 1,438 condominium apartment sales or 40 percent of the 3,514 properties that sold in the City.

The Toronto and area residential market is now all about fragmentation, a phenomenon driven by the pandemic and the psychological and physical impact that it has had on the residential market, both locally and throughout North America. People’s desire for more space, coupled with technological advances that allow people to work remotely, have untethered buyers from dense, crowded urban regions, allowing them to move to new marketplaces. That movement is clearly reflected in the October data.

There were 3,514 properties reported sold in the City of Toronto, (including condominium apartments). That represented a 6.6 percent increase compared to the 3,295 that sold last year. In the 905 region of greater Toronto, 7,049 were sold in October. Last year only 5,196 properties were reported sold in the same month. The year-over-year increase in the number of sales in the 905, namely 36 percent, dwarfs the increase in sales in the City of Toronto. Clearly, buyers were active in Toronto’s 905 region. No doubt a large part of those buyers were former City of Toronto condominium apartment dwellers looking for ground-level properties.

The exodus to the suburbs and the 905 region is no more evident than the impact it has had on both the condominium apartment and rental markets. In October, 1,438 condominium apartments were reported sold in the City of Toronto. Last year 1,575 were sold. This decline of 8.5 percent is one of the first declines we have witnessed in more than 10 years. Condominium apartments have been Toronto’s only affordable alternative. Detached and semi-detached properties, given their stratospheric increases in average sale prices, have been beyond the financial reach of most buyers, especially first-time buyers.

Declining sales usually mean declining average sale prices, unless the decline in sales is due to a decline in inventory. Unfortunately, condominium apartment supply has skyrocketed. In October, 4,494 new listings came to market, bringing the total available inventory at month end to 5,719 condominium apartments. By comparison last October only 2,213 new listings came to market, 50 percent fewer than this year. At the end of October last year there were only 2,098 condominium apartments available for sale, 63 percent fewer than this year. It is not surprising therefore that the average sale price for condominium apartments, namely $668,161, was almost 1 percent less than a year ago. Rentals of condominium apartments are suffering the same fate, with rising inventories and declining monthly rental rates.

Detached and semi-detached property sales were robust in October, increasing by 20 and 30 percent respectively as compared to last year. The average sale price for detached properties increased by more than 11 percent and semi-detached by only 5 percent, to $1,470,857, and $1,154,087 respectively in the City of Toronto.

It should be noted that the high-end of the market has been performing exceptionally well. Across the greater Toronto area, 488 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold in October. In 2019, only 254 were reported sold in this category, a year-over-year increase of 92 percent. The majority of these sales were ground level properties, with only 20 condominium apartments falling into this category.

As we move towards the end of 2020, without any anticipated change to the economic and psychological conditions that have given rise to the exceptional, though fragmented market that we have experienced for the last five months, all expectations are that it will continue, particularly if interest rates stay at their historically low rates, and if governments keep the pandemic damaged economy liquid. The fragmentation will continue to see strong demand in the 905 region and in the secondary markets surrounding the greater Toronto area. We can expect condominium apartment sales and price pattern so clear in October to continue: both sales and average sale prices will continue to decline while inventory levels will approach historic highs.

September Market

 

 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT
SEPTEMBER 2020: TORONTO REGION

 

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.

 

In September 11,083 residential resale properties were reported sold. This is more properties reported sold than in any previous September. By comparison, last September 7,791 properties were reported sold. This year’s sales were 42.3 percent higher than reported sales in 2019. September’s sales brought the year-to-date total to 68,793, 1 percent higher than the number of reported sales at the same period last year. This means that in the last four months the market has made up for the momentum lost during the implementation of the lockdowns and the provincial emergency measures designed to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in March.

 

The second record was the average sale price for all properties sold. In September it came in at $960,772. The previous record was set in August at $951,536, and the record before that was set in July at $943,609. September marks the fourth consecutive month in which a new average sale price record has been set. It is almost unfathomable that in April the average sale price was only $820,222. Since April it has increased by 17 percent.

 

It should be noted that in the city of Toronto the average sale price came in at $1,022,051. This is an astounding number when it is remembered that of the 3,551 recorded sales in the city of Toronto, 1,549, or 44 percent, were condominium apartments. During the pandemic condominium apartments have been out of favour. Buyers have sought out ground level properties that offer outdoor space. In September the average sale price for all condominium apartments sold only rose by 7 percent compared to the same month last year. Detached home prices increased by 28 percent and semi-detached home prices by almost 50 percent (in the city of Toronto).

 

For the third consecutive month more listings came to market compared to the same month last year. In September 20,420 new properties came to market, a 31 percent increase compared to the 15,616 that came to market last September. Due to the incredible absorption rate in September (11,083 sales), at month end there were 18,167 properties available to buyers, a mere 5 percent increase compared to the 17,254 available last year. In order to experience a balanced market, the marketplace would require an available inventory of at least 25,000 active listings. It is not surprising, given the absorption rate, that throughout the greater Toronto area all properties (on average) sold in just 16 days.

 

During the pandemic there has been an explosion of higher priced property sales. In September 461 properties having a sale price of $2 million or more were reported sold. This represents an 86 percent increase compared to the 248 properties reported sold in 2019. No doubt the need for space, coupled with historically low interest rates (5 year mortgage rates at less than 2 percent) have driven those that can afford it to larger more expensive properties.
September’s market data provides some empirical proof that buyers are looking for space and ground level properties far from the core of the city of Toronto. Although sales were strong in the city of Toronto – 3,555 sales which amounted to a 20 percent increase compared to the 2,987 properties reported sold in 2019 – that paled compared to what happened in Toronto’s 905 region.

 

Of the 11,083 reported sales in September, 7,528 of them were in the 905 region. Last September only 4,804 properties were reported sold in the region. Year-over-year this represents a 57 percent increase in the number of sales, substantially and dramatically higher than the city of Toronto. Also, in September, the average price rose by approximately 12 percent in the city of Toronto but by almost 17 percent in the 905 region with South Simcoe County, the region furthest north from Toronto, registering an average sale price increase of 20 percent compared to last year. At this rate average prices in the 905 region will not remain lower than prices in the city of Toronto for much longer. The average priced property in the 905 region, however, does buy more land, and more space compared to similarly priced properties in Toronto. It should be noted that some districts in the 905 region have also become pricey. In September the average price in Halton region was $1,087,859 and $1,066,380 in Peel, both higher than the average price for all properties sold in Toronto ($1,022,051).

 

Early data for October indicates that it will be as robust as September. Those buyers that have had not been directly and economically affected by the pandemic continue their quest to purchase properties that not only meet their needs but that can act as a sanctuary in these uncertain times. They do so while having access to mortgage financing at less than the rate of inflation.

August Market

Another astounding month for the Toronto and area residential resale market place. August broke two records: one for most sales ever recorded for the month of August and two, the highest average sale price for all properties sold in the history of record keeping for the Toronto and area market place.

 

Toronto and area realtors reported 10,775 sales in August. These sales represent a shocking 40.3 percent increase compared to the 7,682 sales reported last year, which was a very respectable August for reported sales. This dramatic increase was predominantly driven by an increase in sales of detached and semi-detached properties.

 

In the City of Toronto detached property sales increased by 65.3 percent and semi-detached properties by an eye-popping 81.2 percent compared to last August. Condominium apartments, for reasons discussed in my July report, did not fare nearly as well, rising by only 9.2 percent.

 

The Toronto and area average sale price record has now been exceeded for three consecutive months. June’s average sale price of $931,302 exceeded the previous record of $920,000 achieved in April of 2017, the month during which the then provincial government legislated the foreign buyers tax. In July, the average sale price jumped to $943,666, another record. This August it moved closer to the magical $1 Million mark coming in at $951,4014, the new record for Toronto and area resales.

 

The $1 Million mark has been exceeded for some time in the City of Toronto. Notwithstanding the mix of less expensive condominium apartments, the average sale price for all property sales in Toronto came in at $1,012,506, an amazing 24 percent increase compared to only a year ago. No doubt this increase was driven by the 413 reported sales during the month having a sale price of $2 Million or more, most of which were located in the City of Toronto. The average sale price in the 905 region, by comparison, was only $906,440 for all property types sold in August.

 

It is not surprising that sales took place at the real estate equivalent of the speed of light. All 10,775 sales for the month took place in only 17 days (on average) after hitting the market. By comparison last year it took 25 days on the market for properties to sell, an improvement of 32 percent. For some property types and depending on location sales took place even faster.

 

For example detached properties in the City of Toronto sold in only 16 days and for 101 percent of their asking price. Semi-detached properties sold even faster, in only 10 days and for an incredible 108 percent of their asking prices.

 

In Toronto’s eastern districts the pace of sales was record-breaking. All semi-detached properties sold in only 8 days and for an amazing 112 percent of their asking prices. There was a glimmer of hope for frustrated buyers in August. For the first time since the pandemic, August saw a dramatically high number of new listings coming to market. Almost 18,500 new properties came available to buyers, 56.8 percent more than became available in August 2019. Last year only 11,789 properties came to market.

 

Due to the high absorption level in August (10,775 sales) at month end there were still only 16,662 properties on the market throughout the greater Toronto area, only 5 percent more than the 15,870 available last year. If new listings continue at August’s pace into September, they will have a profound impact, helping the market to move away from the extreme seller’s market we have been experiencing and ultimately having a moderating affect on average sale prices.

 

Early September data indicates that September 2020 may be another record-breaking month both as to the average sale price and the number of reported sales. Stay tuned!

July Market

AUGUST 12, 2020

July’s residential resale market performance was record-breaking. Almost 11,100 properties were reported sold, a 28 percent increase compared to the 8,679 properties sold a month earlier. Compared to July 2019, sales improved by almost 30 percent. There were 8,555 residential properties reported sold last year. July’s numbers are the clearest indication as to the robustness and resilience of the Toronto marketplace, especially when fueled by record-low mortgage interest rates.

 

It is no surprise that average sale prices have also increased, also to record levels. In July the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area came in at $943,710, surpassing June’s record-breaking average sale price of $931,221. By comparison, last July the average sale price was only $806,971. Notwithstanding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, today’s average sale price is 17 percent higher than only a year ago.

 

In the City of Toronto, the average sale price is even higher. It came in at $1,017,320. This number is particularly impressive when it is remembered that it includes 1,689 condominium apartment sales out of a total of 3,577 properties reported sold.

 

It is also worth noting that the higher-end of the marketplace exploded in July. In July 452 properties having a sale price of $2 million or more were sold. By comparison, only 185 properties in this category were reported sold last year, an eye-popping increase of 144 percent. No doubt the resurgence of the equity markets has bolstered the confidence of purchasers of higher-priced properties.

 

The entire residential market has not reacted to the pandemic and its impact on the local economy equally. Condominium apartment sales were negatively impacted during the second quarter of 2020. The quarter saw the tightest economic restrictions and the resulting economic fallout. During the second quarter (ending June 30th), condominium apartment sales were down by over 50 percent, and new listings over the same period were down by almost 22 percent. Notwithstanding these very negative numbers, the average sale price increased by 5.1 percent to $619,707.

 

In July there was evidence that the condominium apartment market was making a recovery from its poor second quarter performance. In July sales modestly rose by 4.7 percent compared to last year. Sale prices were more robust, rising by almost 9 percent to $682,999 in the greater Toronto area. In the City of Toronto’s central core, the average sale price was a stunning $746,204.

 

The rental market was also negatively impacted by the pandemic in the second quarter. A combination of restrictions on showing condominium apartment units for rent and job losses across a multitude of economic sectors dampened demand for rental accommodation. As a result, condominium apartment rentals in the second quarter were down by 25 percent compared to the second quarter of 2019, where the number of available condominium apartments increased by 42 percent to 21,703. Not surprisingly, average rents have declined across the board from bachelor to three-bedroom apartments. Except for bachelor apartments, rents declined, on average, by 5.5 percent from a year ago. Bachelor apartment rents, understandably, declined by almost 10 percent. Increased choice has allowed tenants to negotiate rents downwards, a reversal of years of constantly rising rent levels.

 

Early August results indicate that the resale market will produce strong numbers once again, although not quite as robust as July. On a year over year basis sales will be approximately 10 percent higher than August of last year. It cannot be over emphasized that mortgage interest rates of less than 2 percent will continue to drive the Toronto and area resale market, even in the face of the negative economic impact of the pandemic. Those rates are not expected to rise for some time, perhaps as late as the end of 2021.