August real estate sales reveal a stable market with modest price increases and healthy sales. The biggest surprise is the growth in the number of sales in the 905 area versus the 416 area which is a result of both a greater number of properties available in addition to the perception of value as prices had been down substantially in that area since the foreign buyer tax was implemented in 2017. The 416 area continues to have a lack of supply which keeps the average sale price strong.
The 416 area of Toronto which includes a portion of Central, East and West district
Kitchens are probably the best return on investment if you renovate but do choose wisely and make decisions that accurately reflect the property. I have renovated my share of kitchens in my life and have seen a variety of options. I am currently embarking on a new build and have for the first time decided to work with a kitchen company rather than a cabinetmaker that constructs the cabinets based on an architect’s drawings. Architects are great at design but kitchen layouts and cupboard customizing aren’t always their strong suit.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. One thing about a cabinetmaker is that they can customize sizes to fit the kitchen dimensions like a glove, save for filler pieces that may be required as walls are rarely 100% straight. You can choose how you would like the kitchen constructed whether it be wood, MDF, stainless steel or even Corian cabinets. You can request things like dovetail drawers, upper-end hardware with soft close and any handle you would like to use. I have had some stunning wood customized kitchens done by cabinetmakers and we have been happy. Wood is always unstable, though; it is sensitive to heat and humidity so you need to choose a cabinetmaker that is capable of producing a product that withstands these conditions that are common in kitchens. There is a definite trend away from wood in kitchens to other materials such a stainless steel and even a composite plastic material as they are more durable than wood.
After visiting showrooms I realized there are definite benefits to using a kitchen design company versus a cabinetmaker. They have full optionality for drawers with a purpose as well as amazing corner cupboard units that make full use of space that is often wasted or difficult to access.
For those on a budget I must say IKEA kitchens have come a long way. If you have just bought your first home in Trinity Bellwoods, Leslieville, Riverdale, Roncesvalles or Dovercourt Village an IKEA kitchen may well be the best way to provide a nice return on investment. There are a few other cabinet companies that provide quality without a huge expense. I had my laundry room cabinets updated by Summerhill Kitchens and they did an excellent job with great attention to detail at a reasonable cost.
For a luxury property in an upscale neighbourhood it is important to invest in a quality kitchen with quality appliances as buyers are expecting that. Trust me, the discerning buyer notices the difference.
I liked the aesthetic of all three of these and they all provide a quality product. However Bulthaup stood out to us as it provided a balance of a quality product with the highest level of customization in every aspect of the kitchen. Bulthaup offers unique wood cabinet door fronts that are solid core with a veneer of the same wood laid vertically to the horizontal piece to add stability. A lacquered white MDF cabinet will complement the wood cabinets and lighten up the kitchen but the wood cupboards will add warmth. Both Poliform and Bulthaup provided an amazing corner pantry mechanism to utilize what can become dead space if not properly accessible. We plan to enjoy the home we are building for a few years, but maybe not forever, so I feel a branded kitchen will be a great marketing tool when we go to sell the home.
For loft-dwellers Bulthaup offers two lines, B1 and B2, a moveable, open-concept kitchen idea in which the pieces are more like furniture and can be moved with you when you sell. In a luxury home a kitchen should be fixed so the B3 option is the one for us; customized to make perfect use of the space we have and every drawer will have a purpose with the appropriate dividers.
For those looking to support a homegrown talent right in Toronto, Downsview Kitchens provides both contemporary and traditional cabinets. They have been so successful providing a quality product that lasts over the years that they now have showrooms in Palm Beach, Philadelphia and Boston.
Smallbone kitchens from the UK are perfect for those looking for a more traditional look. Nigella Lawson would be very happy cooking in a well-appointed, signature Smallbone kitchen! They have been around for years and are a high-quality product. A Smallbone kitchen goes hand in hand with a stunning Aga Stove.
A quality kitchen requires quality appliances and Sub Zero,Wolf,La Cornue,Miele and Gaggenau seem to trump most other brands. With a more modest property, your money is better spent on solid traditional brands like GE, LG, Fridgidaire, Dacor, and the slightly more upmarket Viking appliances, but not a luxury property. Appliances are a big part of the budget but you will make it up on resale by choosing quality.
Make sure as you do your kitchen you plan for each appliance you own and that the doors around the appliances are unencumbered, the cupboards have the height requirements for you mixmaster, juicer, etc. as well as storage for you big pots and pans. A good kitchen designer will guide you through the planning so the end product is seamless.
Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Limited
I am sure many people have seen the red flags at crosswalks around the city. I was confused as to what they were until I witnessed a little boy crossing the street by grabbing the red flag and waving it as he crossed the street on Summerhill Avenue by “The Ramp”. I realized how brilliant this is. It is hard to miss a red flag waving therefore makes it very clear to drivers there is a child crossing the street.
The bright orange flags are located at each corner of the intersection in canisters strapped to the Streetlight poles It is quite simple for pedestrians to use: Take one flag, look both ways, maintain eye contact with the driver, cross street with flag held up in the air, place flag in the canister at the other side of the street. Further details can be found in this BlogTO post.
As kids head back to school in September we should all be mindful of kids crossing at intersections. This red flag project will help us all notice young kids on there way to the schoolyard.
Wishing everyone a great end to summer and a smooth transition to your fall routines.
Helen Braithwaite, Sale Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited
Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker
CHESTNUT PARK REAL ESTATE LIMITED, BROKERAGE | CHESTNUTPARK.COM
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 economyand 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 experiencingthe whiplash effect. Leading up to April 2017 detached property values increased substantially higher than other propertytypes. 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 about3 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.
I would like to welcome Michelle Phillips to the team. Michelle graduated from Queen’s University with an Honours Science degree, specializing in Geography. Upon graduating, Michelle began working as a customer service representative at Tridel, the largest builder of condominiums in the Toronto area, where she gained significant knowledge of condominium construction and design. She assisted purchasers with the entire process from construction to occupancy in various Tridel buildings, including the Sherwood at Huntington.
Michelle has a passion for design and is currently attaining her Advanced AutoCAD certificate for design and drafting. She will have the ability to create and read floor plans and layouts, an asset when working with clients in real estate.
Michelle is very driven, and is known to push her limits with running, fitness, basketball and waterskiing. This approach will inform her work with clients as she will always be driven to do her best for them in any real estate transaction.
I am excited to watch Michelle achieve success in her real estate career.
Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited
The June market report represents a very healthy Toronto real estate market with an increase in the number of sales and a modest increase in average sales prices. Toronto continues to struggle with affordability and even with the introduction of the first time buyers incentive program that will not help out first time buyers in the central core of Toronto.
Chris Kapches Market Report discussing the entire GTA
As an alternative to home ownership, many people are now looking to condominiums for a variety of reasons, chief among them being affordability, turn-key features and location.
Based on what I have seen in the entry-level condo market, I think it’s important to discuss that although condos are lower maintenance than a detached home, they, like all investments, do require some care and maintenance.
Whether you live in a condo or a house, when you own your property, you do need to invest in it. It’s important to know that a condo owner is responsible for all maintenance within the unit and that the condo corporation only maintains the common elements.
Some regular maintenance problems I have come across when showing condos…
Most condo units have a heat pump within the unit. It can either be owned or rented, and you should make sure you are clear on which it is when you are buying. A rented unit can become another cost in addition to the maintenance fees. Either way, the heat pump needs a service call every six months to have the filter inspected and cleaned so that it continues to work properly. If you have done any pre-move-in construction there may be a lot of dust clogging the filter. Mark on your calendar the times you need to get this inspected! The cost of the service call will always be less than the cost of major repairs.
Make sure you clean your dryer ducts from time to time and always be sure to empty the dryer filter after each use.
In a condo, your appliances are a big part of the investment. Be sure to clean them regularly and try not to ding them up. Poorly maintained appliances will devalue your unit.
Bathroom tiles need cleaning regularly or calcification can occur, doing irreparable damage to them. If you are too busy, a bi-weekly cleaning service would be a prudent way to protect your investment.
Kitchen drains are not designed for grease to be poured down them! This could cause grief in your entire building. Make sure grease goes into a can and is thrown in the garbage rather than dumped down the drain.
Windows on your balcony are not always cleaned by the building’s semi-annual window cleaning as they are considered “exclusive use”. Take the time to clean them seasonally or as dirt accumulates.
Be respectful of the common areas. Part of your condo unit investment depends on a clean and pristine common area. Treat the common areas as you would your own space. I have been in condo buildings just a few years old with deep stains in the carpets. That will ultimately add to your maintenance costs as carpets will need replacing ahead of schedule.
If you notice a maintenance issue in a common area, let your building management know as soon as possible so that the issue can be quickly remedied.
Things you need to know when investing in a condo…
Who was the builder? Are they reputable? Ask people who have bought units in the building or another building constructed by the builder.
Is Airbnb, or any form of short term rental, allowed? Unless you are an investor, you want to make sure that Airbnb is not allowed. A minimum 6-month lease term would be ok, but 1-year is preferable. Short term rentals generally just add wear and tear to a building.
What is the actual size of the unit? Make sure you understand how they have calculated the measurements. Builders have been known to take creative license, by including things like an outdoor space for instance, measuring from the interior wall.
Do you want to buy pre-construction or re-sale? This is tricky. There are benefits to buying straight from the builder in terms of price and having the opportunity to choose your finishes. You have to be quite savvy in reading plans and understanding exposure, however. Currently, construction costs have risen to the point that the value in buying pre-construction has diminished and you can actually find re-sale for less. If your priority is brand new, however, then pre-construction is the only way to go. Just be prepared to have occupancy dates change due to construction delays. You are less likely to experience delays with a more experienced builder, but they do happen.
What exposure is best? Southwest gives you the lightest and brightest spot but you have to look as what is being built nearby. Is there a chance a new building will be constructed and take the light? North views in this city are actually lovely, frequently with nice ravine vistas. The indirect light is easier on your artwork and upholstery too.
Do you want a large high-rise or a boutique building? If you want views, there is no doubt a high-rise is the way to go. One caveat about high-rise buildings is the possibility of lengthy elevator wait times. Ask the concierge about this or go view the unit at 5pm to see how busy it is. Boutique buildings offer a slightly quieter existence and, if they are a little older, can provide much larger units on a price-per-square-foot basis.
With every condo purchase there is a Status Certificate that provides a rundown of the building’s financial statements, a review of the individual unit and a summary of the rules and regulations. A very important thing to know, for example, would be if the building allows pets and if they do, what are the restrictions?
Older buildings tend to offer more generously-sized units and for a lower price per square foot, however they also have higher maintenance costs. It will take a little number-crunching to decide if the large size is worth the additional maintenance fees.
It is easy to get wooed by the fancy ammenities in new buildings. Gyms, pools, rooftop decks with BBQs, pool tables, screening rooms, sound studios, craft rooms, meditation rooms, guest suites, squash and racquetball courts, yoga studios…and the list goes on! A purchaser has to think long and hard about what value those amenities provide, and, more importantly, if they will use them. Also think about whether those amenities will require a refresh, update or repair in 5-10 years, which directly affects maintenance fees and/or whether an assessment is required.
There are many small condos created from converted churches and old mansions in Toronto neighbourhoods that provide a unique condo experience that feels more like a home. Before stepping into a cute small condo building situation, however, make sure you meet the neighbours and feel comfortable that you all will make good business partners, because if there are a mere four units in a building, that is exactly what you will be.
Parking. How important is it downtown? I always say having a designated owned or exclusive-use parking spot is very important for resale. New developments are now allowed to build without providing parking for all units. The trend is for walkability and leaving the car out of the model. Based purely on supply and demand, a coveted parking spot will only go up in value. If you are a true environmentalist and don’t want a car, that spot can be rented to someone within the building, but make sure you know the parking rental rules first.
Downsizers, if you are considering making a shift from your suburban home to a city condo make sure you get a feel for the neighbourhood and condo life before taking the plunge. There are many cool neighbourhoods in the downtown core but giving up a large lot, a wide driveway and lots of outdoor space is a big change! Test it out by staying in a hotel for a few days in the neighbourhood you are considering, do the math on the annual maintenance and tax costs and compare that to the costs of running your current home. Also understand that a downsize to a condo is exactly that if your plan is to take money out of the market. Go visit a few spaces to determine what square footage you are comfortable with. If you are buying based only on floor plans, ask to see some re-sale condos of similar size to make sure you can live with the space.
If you view a condo that is in disrepair or just plain dirty it could be an opportunity to get the unit for a good price. It is not that expensive to get cabinets re-painted or to change out hardware or even update a countertop. A few minor improvements combined with a good industrial cleaning can enhance the appeal and value of a condo.
When buying a condo many people don’t think it’s worth getting a home inspection done, but I disagree. At a minimum, they will walk you through to show you how things work in your unit. They will also notice things even a keen buyer may not, such as moisture or electrical panel issues. Sometimes builders do things like double-tapped wires when they are in a rush to finish. I agree it can be hard to find time for an inspection in this fast-paced market but it will be helpful in the long run, especially for a first-time buyer.
Toronto condominium life is here to stay and is growing steadily! Condo sales are the most active part of the market right now, based mainly on affordability and convenience. They are a great option, but make sure you do your due diligence!
If you are interested in looking into a house in the sky, or even one a little closer to the ground, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, a Christies Real Estate Affiliate. cell 416-561-3114 office 416-925-9191
Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Chairman’s award 2018
The Central Toronto area showed a huge climb in the number of sales of detached, semi detached and townhomes with the number of sales of Condominiums flat. The greatest year over year price increases continued to be condos and townhomes as that is where the affordability so the demand continues for those property types. The Average sales price for the central toronto area was $988,995 even greater that the 416 area (which includes some east and west districts of $937, 804) .
Chris Kapches summary of the May market performance is found below. Please note he speaks to all of the GTA with his figures. The GTA average sales price is muck lower than the 416 area and central Toronto.
For the second month, the Toronto and area market place produced double-digit increases compared to the same month last year. In May 9,989 residential properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area, a stunning 19 percent increase compared to the 8,402 that sold in 2018. The recovery of the Toronto housing market is due to a number of factors. The mortgage stress testing rules introduced in January 2018 appear to have been absorbed by buyers. More resale properties have come to market, although still not enough to create a balanced market. And lastly, interest rates have edged downward, softening the impact of the new mortgage stress testing.
It comes as no surprise that with the increase in the number of sales, average sale prices have also continued their upward momentum, although not as dramatically as the number of reported sales. In May the average sale price came in at $838,540, 3.6 percent stronger than the $809,305 average sale price achieved last year.
In the City of Toronto, average sale prices were even stronger. The average sale price for all properties sold in the City of Toronto came in at $937,804, 12 (416) percent higher than the greater Toronto average sale price. This is a particularly startling number when it is remembered that it includes condominium apartment sales, the bulk of which are located in the City of Toronto. Almost 70 percent of all condominium apartment sales take place in Toronto (416 region). They continue to be the least expensive housing form available to buyers, although “least expensive” is becoming a relative term.
The increase in the average sale price was driven by an increase in the number of expensive homes that sold in May. This month 293 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. That compares favourably with the 243 that were sold in 2018, a 20 percent increase. Over the past two years, higher-end sales have been relatively dormant.
In May 19,386 new property listings came to market, an almost identical number to the 19,237 that came to market last year. Unfortunately, the new listings that came to market were insufficient to effectively increase the supply. At the end of May, there were 20,017 properties available to buyers in the greater Toronto area, almost 5 percent less than were available at the same time last year. As the resale market moved into June there were 2.5 months of inventory in the 905 and only 2 months of inventory in the City of Toronto.
Not only did more properties sell in May with rising prices, but all sales took place at lightning speed. All properties sold (on average) in only 19 days. Depending on the type of property and location, the speed of sales was even faster. For example, semi-detached properties in Toronto’s central core sold in only 14 days. In Toronto’s eastern districts they sold in only 10 days, at 106 and 109 percent over the asking price, respectively. Generally, it took much longer for properties to sell in the 905 region, ranging from 25 days in the Halton region to 36 days in Simcoe County. Sale in the York region took 27 days.
In May 2,542 condominium apartments were reported sold, almost 70 percent of them were located in the City of Toronto. The average sale price for all condominium apartments sold was $648,891. In Toronto’s central core, where 63 percent of all reported sales were located, the average sale price came in at an eye-popping $718,455. What may be even more startling is that all these condominium apartments sold in only 17 days and at 100 percent of their asking prices.
Notwithstanding that condominium apartments are now becoming quite pricey, the supply still remains insufficient to meet demand. At the beginning of June there were only 2,568 condominium apartments available to buyers, more or less the same number as were available last year when the average sale price was $40,000 less than it is this year. To qualify for an average priced condominium apartment in Toronto’s central core now requires a household income of substantially more than $100,000 annually and a 10 percent down payment of more than $70,000.
Looking ahead to June we can anticipate that sales will probably decline from May’s torrid pace to a more moderate 9000 sales, with the average sale price increasing moderately by about 3 percent. Price increases in this modest range are exactly what the Toronto resale market needs in order to remain sustainable.
Given that we are in the thick of the spring market I felt a blog piece on the best way to stage your home was timely. In the current Toronto Real Estate environment it has become a mainstream practise to stage a home for sale. A few basic staging requirements that are probably the most important are listed below.
Declutter: Moving is the perfect time to rid yourself of belongings that you do not need or use. A cluttered space means a possible buyer will not see the potential of the home. Less is more in this instance.
Clean, clean and clean: Hire a professional team to do a full cleaning of your interior space. This includes steam cleaning carpets and cleaning the windows inside and out as well as washing walls.
Painting: If you have some really bold colours consider going with a more neutral palette. Check for dings in baseboards and doors as those trim areas should look pristine. If the weather is conducive, consider touch-up painting the exterior also as that is the first impression to a potential buyer. If the outside is looking tired it doesn’t matter what the interior is like if that first impression was tarnished.
Small repairs: Take care of any little items such as replacing burnt-out lightbulbs, clearing gutters, changing furnace filters, repairing any broken appliances and tightening loose door knobs.
Depersonalize: As much as we love family photos, a potential buyer wants to visualize themselves in the space. It doesn’t mean removing all photos but just don’t overwhelm a potential buyer with coffee tables and walls filled with photos.
Keep the soul: My philosophy has always been to stage a home not as a furniture show room but rather as a home with a soul. People want to visualize their life in a home so a little warmth is very important. Don’t make things too sparse.
Don’t overdo it: People can be coerced into extravagant staging. You have to remember that no matter what furniture you put in a house, the market is what the market is. Buyers are very savvy right now and though they expect a nicely staged home, they also will not be tricked into paying significantly more than what a home is worth.
Work with what you have: A good stager will be able to come into a home and decide what pieces they can work with to offset the cost of staging and maintain the illusion that the home is not staged.
Defer to the experts: Part of staging is for photographs. The key to entice a buyer to come view a property is impressive online photos. What may seem disproportional in person is amazing for photos. Try your best not to move items that have been placed by a stager and remember that thought has gone into their process. Once you list the home it essentially becomes a public space and you have to detach yourself.
The staging should match the property: If you are selling a massive Rosedale home then the furnishings should reflect that. I often see economical furnishings in a home that warrants something a little more sophisticated. A small starter condo can get away with less expensive pieces as they are more likely to represent the type of items a potential buyer would be placing in the home.
Scale: A large room requires larger scale pieces and a small condo requires “condo size” pieces to maximize the space.
Art: Don’t forget that art can make a home. It is important that the walls have some life to them. Ensure the art suits the style of the home and avoid art so far out of the mainstream that it could be offensive to a buyer.
Be green: Part of bringing a home to life is through greenery. Having live plants through out the home adds warmth.
Curb appeal: A tidy front garden and some enticing outdoor seasonal planters at the front entrance to make an immediate positive impression on a prospective buyer are very important. Make sure the planters are fresh and represent the correct season. No one wants to see brown evergreens left over from the winter season in April. Make sure the lawn is nicely mowed and that all stone work is tidied up. If there is an interlocking path that has become uneven have it levelled out.
Be respectful: The staging business is an expensive one. The inventory required to outfit many homes is very costly. The items placed in the home are for marketing purposes and not personal use. There is a line in any staging contract to that effect. Please be mindful not to use furnishings, accessories or other items the stager has provided. If you are living in the home, please tuck away items for your personal use, such as towels and linens.
Understand the essence of staging: A home worth $1.5 million won’t sell for $2 million based on paint and furniture. In order to gain those types of increases a buyer would expect a newly renovated bathroom or kitchen. A professional Realtor looks at the property history and asks what improvements have been made. Aesthetic changes help if you need something more concrete to get that premium. Staging is designed to maximize your home’s value and reduce the days on market. Understand that if you do not stage your home it may sell below market value as today’s buyers want to see a clean, pristine home.
Successful staging is the fine balance of preparing a home for sale without too much disruption in people’s lives. Often it is cost-prohibitive to move out for an extended period of time and just not practical. A good stager can work around a family as they stage a home. The first two weeks on market are key as that is when the majority of the showings occur. I do suggest that, if possible, sellers move out the first and second week a home is on market to provide easy access for showings and maintain the home’s pristine condition.
Should you require some guidance on the steps required to prepare you home for sale, including a market valuation and comprehensive marketing plan for your home, I would be happy to provide one.
Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited. Chairman’s Award 2018
Below is a summary of April’s Toronto Real Estate Market provided by Chris Kapches President and CEO of Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited.
April’s housing market results clearly demonstrated that the Toronto and area resale market is strong and robust. As indicated in previous monthly reports, any sluggish behaviour by the resale market was due to a lack of inventory, and not to a decline in buyer demand.
In April, for the first time in several months, the number of new listings coming to market exceeded expectations. No doubt improved weather conditions were a major factor. In April 2017, 205 new properties came to market, 8 percent more than the 15,933 that came to market in April last year. For the first time in many months, buyers had a choice that had previously been unavailable to them. Notwithstanding this increase in new listings, by month-end, the total number of active listings available to buyers was only 18, 037 properties, still 1 percent less than the 18,206 available last year. The explanation? Absorption.
April saw Toronto and area realtors posting 9,042 sales, a dramatic 17 percent increase compared to the 7,744 properties that were reported sold last year. It is obvious that buyers were waiting for more properties to become available. They did, however, have to act extremely quickly.
In April all properties sold (on average) in only 19 days, an astounding number when it is considered that this number represents the sale of all properties in the greater Toronto area, including condominium apartments. In some neighbourhoods, the pace of sales was even faster. For example, all semi-detached properties in the neighbourhoods of Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beaches sold in only 8 days, a pace not seen since the frenzied period leading up to April 2017. In fact, all semi-detached properties throughout the entire 416 area of Toronto sold in only 10 days, and for average sale prices of 107 percent over asking.
Condominium apartment sales were just as resilient. All condominium apartment sales in the City of Toronto took place in only 17 days and for average sale prices of 100 percent of the asking price. This was also true in Toronto’s central districts were more than 60 percent of all Toronto condominium apartment sales are recorded. What is a troubling about these results is that for the first time the average sale price in the central core exceeded $700,000. The once affordable alternative housing is now becoming quite pricey in Toronto.
With sales happening at these speeds throughout the greater Toronto area, it is not surprising that the average sale price also increased In April. The greater Toronto average sale price came in at $820,148, almost 2 percent higher than last April’s average sale price of $804, 926. In the City of Toronto, the average sale price was even higher, coming in at $904,000, once again a number similar to the one that caused the provincial government to implement various measures to try to cool the resale market, including the implementation of 15 percent foreign buyer’s tax. It should be added that that number includes condominium apartment sales, which account for 50 percent of all reported sales. If condominium apartments are removed for this calculation the average sale price for detached and semi-detached property sales in the City of Toronto comes in at $1,193,000.
In April we saw some improvement in the number of higher-end sales. April saw 250 reported sales having a sale price of $2 Million or more. This compares favourably with the 233 that were reported sold last year, a 7 percent increase. These numbers were one of the first increases recorded in this price-point in some time. Although most of these sales were represented by detached properties, it is worth noting that almost 10 percent of the sales reported in this price-point were condominium apartments. Only 8 of these $2 Million or more reported sales were semi-detached properties.
It is clear from April’s data that the resale market has recovered in the City of Toronto but continues to lag in the 905 regions of the greater Toronto area. In the 905 regions sales took place at a slower pace, and average sale prices are substantially lower. As indicated earlier, the average sale price for all properties sold in the City of Toronto came in at $904,000, including condominium apartments. In the 905 region, the average sale price was only $820,000, almost 10 percent lower. Similarly, all sales in the City of Toronto took place in only 17 days and at 101 percent of asking prices. In the 905 regions sales took 19 days and at only 99 percent of asking prices. As April came to an end the 905 regions had 2.6 months of inventory, whereas the City of Toronto was reduced to only 2 months of inventory.
The looming concern in all this good news is affordability. It is exciting and invigorating to see how resilient the greater Toronto area resale housing market is, however with average sale prices approaching $1 Million in Toronto and $820,000 in the 905 regions, buying a property in the greater Toronto area may soon be beyond the reach of most first-time buyers.