There is a shift in the City Of Toronto’s real estate market. We are no longer seeing dramatic year over year price appreciation in the overall market. While some housing types are doing better than others, if there are gains they are slight and modest making for a real estate market best described as stable and sustainable.
However, lack of supply and affordability for first-time Buyers are still issues of the day. While the intervention of government on both a federal and soon-to-be municipal level may incite more buyers and sellers to enter into the upcoming spring market it will not increase Toronto’s housing inventory.
Until Toronto finds more creative ways to cut through the bureaucratic red-tape and time delays in adding more housing these supply and affordability concerns will not go away.
There were 2,545 property sales in March down 9% from March 2018 when 2,797 properties sold. This however was a welcome increase from February 2019 when only 1,879 properties sold. Lack of sales in February was likely due to weather conditions.
It must be remembered that lack of sales volume does not necessarily mean a weakening Toronto real estate market but again highlights the lack of supply of properties available for sale for Buyers to purchase.
Demand for Toronto housing remains high for solid reasons. Our relatively open immigration policy, coupled with our international status as one of the best places to head quarter a technology company, continues to stimulate long-term interest in Toronto’s real estate market. This is evidenced by the fact that both the housing price index (HPI) and the average sale price still remains higher than last year.
All Toronto properties, including condos, sold for an average of $830,043, up 1.5% from March of last year when it was $817,642. It’s important to note that, while March’s average sale price wasn’t higher than February’s sale price of $840,000, this price decline is likely a short term rather than a long-term trend.
This conclusion is drawn because the HPI – a more reliable metric that smooths out the swings associated with averages - rose by 5.55% year over year for all housing types in Toronto. Accordingly, today’s prices are a lasting change in buyer’s willingness to pay to work, live and play in Toronto.
The continued price growth in the City was not mirrored in the rest of the regions covered by the Toronto Real Estate Board. For example, while the HPI for the York Region declined by -1.95%, the Peel Region HPI grew by 5.01%. Nonetheless, the overall HPI for “non-Toronto-core” markets declined by -1.46%.
Comparing this spotty growth with Toronto’s HPI loosely suggests that Toronto may not be completely inflated by cheap money and foreign buyers, but rather Toronto is a destination for both highly skilled workers and companies to plant their flags.
Two other metrics used to measure market conditions are days on market (DOM) and months of inventory (MOI). While the former metric is not perfect because it can be skewed by relisting a property, it is still useful in understanding how quickly real estate is moving. And it is. In Toronto, all property types sold at a relatively quick pace of 19 days. While this number is not as fast as the 17 days it took in March 2018 to sell a property, it is still impressive when compared to other desirable markets.
New York City regularly sees properties sit for almost 100 days and San Francisco sees homes sit close to 40. What is more, the MOI for all properties in Toronto remains very low at 2.0, confirming that Toronto is still in a seller’s market.
As addressed in our February 2019 Market Report, the last truly affordable housing type, condominium apartments, continued on the path of unaffordability.
Condominiums in central Toronto, the place where demand remains highest, sold for an average of $673,330. This is still much lower, however, than the $2,009,104 average commanded by detached homes in the same area.
Given this staggering number, the activity in the mid-priced condo market may be fueled by necessity rather than by choice of lifestyle.
Even though the high-end property market has fewer buyers, sales continued to grow. This March 99 properties sold with a sale price of $2 Million or more in the City. This is an improvement from the 90 sales that took place last month.
An interesting trend in 2019 is that 7% of homes sold in the luxury market are condos, as opposed to detached or attached houses. The reason for condo purchases in the luxury market, however, is markedly different than the reason for condo purchases in the mid-market.
High end buyers, unlike mid-market buyers, are choosing condos because of lifestyle and not because of necessity.
As we move into the spring market, we anticipate more properties coming to Toronto’s market. These properties, however, may still be out of reach for mid-market buyers looking to live in the Toronto core.
While continued low interest rates coupled with the federal government’s housing assistance plan may encourage buyers to become active in the market, this support will not be enough to improve Toronto’s affordability, thereby forcing most buyers to look to the more “depressed” 905 regions and causing a slow-down in Toronto’s year over year price growth.
Victoria Boscariolis a real estate agent in Toronto Canada with Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited Brokerage. With over 20 years experience, Victoria has been helping people successfully buy and sell condos and houses in Yorkville and downtown Toronto. As a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) she has worked with Buyers from around the world moving to Toronto from China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, The United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. By building an international marketing strategy for every property she puts up for sale, Victoria's listings of Toronto homes and luxury condos get global exposure that attract qualified buyers from around the world.
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purchase, sale and lease of real estate as part of a cooperative selling system. Canadian Real Estate Association Last Updated: 9/21/2019 11:18:03 AM