TORONTO TOP 5 FLOWER SHOPS

It’s hard to tell given the almost freezing temperatures but it’s actually spring in Toronto!

If you’re finding it as hard as we are to relinquish the grey winter weather, why not add some colour and texture to your surroundings with flowers from one of our Toronto Top 5 flower shops? We’ve picked these shops based on personal experience. If you’ve got some great florists to share, we’d love to hear about them! Put a comment below or send us an email

CROWN FLORA

Photo courtesy of style democracy  @styledemocracy

Photo courtesy of style democracy @styledemocracy

Crown Flora in Parkdale is hard to miss. I’d say it’s one of the most Instagramed flower shops in the city if for no other reason than it’s pretty pink exterior. But that’s just a great reason to check out Adam and Davis’ amazing collection of seasonal shrubbery. Always in style, Crown Flora expertly chooses plants and flowers that are both on, or ahead of the trends and still stylish and functional.

 

SWEETPEA’S

PHOTO COURTESY OF  @BLOGTO

PHOTO COURTESY OF @BLOGTO

We could come up with some great praise for this West-end staple florist or take a note from their own website. After all, when you’re regarded by almost every Toronto publication as being the best flower shop in the city, how much more can we say? Do note their commitment to eco-friendly and socially responsible flowers; that seems a business decision ahead of it’s time…

Sweetpea's is dedicated to quality, design and service. We offer some of the most unique, custom floral creations in the city.  

Focusing on eco and socially responsible floral design isn't always easy, but something we feel is the responsibility of an industry based in nature and used to express emotion and caring of others.   

Sweetpea's offers same-day fresh flower delivery throughout Toronto & the GTA.   Our retail boutique is filled with beautiful gifts and cards, perfect for that special someone in your life.  

 

CORIANDER GIRL

PHOTO COURTESY OF  @make_Something

PHOTO COURTESY OF @make_Something

We first became aware of Coriander Girl after a friend recommended them for Mother’s Day (how fortuitous!). What struck me about their arrangements was the inclusion of more a subdued, dustier palette of colours and floral styles. If you’re looking for something a little different, we highly recommend this one-of-a-kind shop in Toronto’s West-end.

YANG’S FLOWER MARKET

PHOTO COURTESY OF  @BLOGTO

PHOTO COURTESY OF @BLOGTO

What this store doesn’t have in modern branding, it more than makes up for in selection and service. I’ve never had a better experience buying flowers than at Yang’s. Located at Avenue and Davenport, Yang’s offers up a huge selection of beautiful blooms.

SUMMERHILL FLORAL BOUTIQUE

PHOTO COURTESY OF  @summerhill_FLORAL

PHOTO COURTESY OF @summerhill_FLORAL

Located directly across from famed Summerhill Market, Summerhill Floral Boutique offers arrangements and accoutrements for the whole home!

Whether you’re looking to do some last minute staging, get greater curb appeal or just adding some more colour to your home’s palette, we’ve got you covered!






TORONTO HOT SPOT! I DEAL COFFEE on OSSINGTON AVE.

This week’s Toronto Hot Spot continues to focus on the Ossington strip, in the Queen West area

I love all locations of i deal coffee and must be honest that I'm particularly biased as I worked there for sometime. BUT, they in fact do have some of the best coffee in the city, lovingly made by baristas who are expertly trained.

One of the reasons the coffee is so good is that it’s roasted locally at The Merchants of Green Coffee in Toronto’s East End so any coffee served or packaged to go is perfectly fresh.

BONUS the Ossington i deal coffee location now also serves wine along with delicious food! The Ossington strip has so much to offer these days but for coffee, this is my go to.

PRO SNACK TIP! The chocolate dipped coconut macaroons are TO DIE FOR

Have you been to i deal before? What was your favourite drink choice?

Follow i deal coffee on instagram @idealcoffee

Toronto Top 5 Events for May 10-12th 2019

Hey Toronto!

Here’s your weekly list of fun, upcoming events... Due to it being Mother's Day on Sunday, we're keeping these events all Mom friendly!

This week we’re super excited about The Toronto Blue Jays Mother's Day Oasis and SickKids Hospital's Spring Artisans' Market!

SickKids Hospital Spring Artisans' Market in the Atrium

Just in time for Mother's Day, the Spring Artisans’ Market is once again bringing together talented artisans to the Atrium at The Hospital for Sick Children on May 10! There will be dozens of vendors showcasing their handcrafted items and more.


She The People: The Resistance Continues The Second City Toronto

The ladies of Second City return with a brand new version of She The People – a sketch show entirely created, designed, and performed by the fearlessly funny women of The Second City!


Spring into Parkdale Sidewalk Festival & Night Market

Spring-Festival-Summary-F-2017.jpg

Parkdalians, Parkdalites and Parkadillos spill into the streets to meet local business owners, crafters and community groups


Toronto Blue Jays Mother's Day Oasis at Rogers Centre

On Sunday, May 12, bring the whole family down to the ballpark to celebrate Mother's Day as the Blue Jays take on the Chicago White Sox. The 200 Level WestJet Flight Deck will be transformed into an Oasis dedicated to pampering Mom.


Mother's Day Plant Cafe at Toronto Botanical Garden


Celebrate Mother’s Day at Toronto Botanical Garden’s Plant Sale. Treat your mom to lunch at TBG’s pop up indoor/outdoor Plant Cafe. Every mom will receive a colourful pashmina scarf and a free plant!

Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there! Have a wonderful, safe and relaxing weekend #Toronto !

JUST LISTED! MAGIC AT THE MADISON

Magic at The Madison! This 2+1 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite at The Madison Condominiums has almost 850 sq. ft. of open living space with lofty 9 foot ceilings, a large 126 sq. ft. terrace and stylish, modern finishes throughout. The building is a dream with a full indoor pool, 2-level fitness centre, 24 hour concierge and a Loblaws/LCBO below. 1 parking space and 1 suite-level locker included. 

CLICK HERE for more info.

Contact us today to book a showing!

5 Unique Boutiques to try for Mother's Day

Let’s face it. It can be hard to find the perfect gift for mom each year and sometimes brunches don’t quite fit the bill.

To help those who prefer to be a bit different, we’ve compiled 5 unique boutiques in the city to help with Mother’s Day or any other special occasion…

1. Eleven Thirty

Does mom need a new bag? How about a local, handmade bag made with not only great design aesthetics but ethical and environmental considerations put into it’s manufacture? Eleven Thirty ticks all the boxes!

2. Province Apothecary

What mom doesn’t like to be treated to some natural and organic beauty and skin care products? All that benefit with none of the by-product! Province Apothecary has you covered (literally!)

3. Frock

Okay, so not every mom is an older mom and some mom’s who’ve got more experience don’t want to dress like they’re still living in the 60’s… or some do! Luckily Frock on Roncesvalles caters to a wide variety of styles, shapes and eras; from the classic to the contemporary and everything in between.

4. Michelle Ross Jewellery

Is there a Mom out there who wouldn’t like a nice new piece of jewellery? I’m sure there’s one or two but for the third time charmed Moms, look no further than Michelle Ross’ gallery in the Distillery District. Amazingly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that dazzle and shine the way all great jewellery should. Take mom for a stroll around a part of historic Toronto and cap the journey off with a stunning piece of ear candy.

Make sure to call ahead as showroom times vary or are by appointment only!

5. FAWN

As their website states… “FAWN specializes in women's clothing and accessories providing something for everyone, of all ages. Each season FAWN offers a curated collection that focuses on clean lines, classic shapes with a modern and sophisticated edge.” Not sure we need to say more. Just do yourself a favour and check them out with mom. You’ll both be happy you did!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful moms making our world a better place!

The Modern Greek Experience at MAMAKAS Taverna

mamakas_interior.jpg

For years, greek food has been relegated to diners and fast-food joints. Greasy souvlaki with a greek side salad or maybe some fish if you’re lucky. But why not combine a family-friendly atmosphere with Greek cuisine done a little more upscale?

MAMAKAS Taverna on Ossington Ave. has done just that. With a bright and inviting dining space meant to evoke a Greek market, owner Thanos Tripi serves up classic Greek dishes like grandma used to make with a contemporary spin alongside sumptuous cocktails and desserts.

Check the menu out here and make a reservation today!

TORONTO MARKET UPDATE - JANUARY 2019

Oh the weather outside is frightful… but the Toronto market is actually doing pretty well. Contrary to some media reports, the Toronto real estate market is actually fairly stable at the moment. Though a lack of inventory is making it harder for buyers, the average sale price for the month of January has stayed fairly steady. For a full read on what’s been happening in the last month, check out the market update from our Chestnut Park’s CEO Chris Kapches…

2019 started positively, surprising many who were anticipating the double-digit declines that the Toronto and area residential resale marketplace delivered in November and December of last year. Although moderate, January delivered increased sales volume and average sale prices compared to January 2018.

There were 4,009 sales reported in January, a less than 1 percent increase compared to 2018, but an increase nonetheless. Encouragingly, January’s positive results were due to an improvement in Toronto’s 905 region. The Greater Toronto Area was dramatically impacted by the provincial foreign buyers’ tax and has lagged behind the Toronto 416 market since the spring of 2017. In January, the 905 region’s sales were up by 2.5 percent compared to last year, while the City of Toronto’s sales declined by 3.5 percent. The decline in City of Toronto sales was not caused by a decline in demand. Rather the decline was driven by a chronic shortage of supply. At the end of January, the Greater Toronto Area had 2.7 months of inventory, whereas the City of Toronto found itself with only 1.9 months of inventory. The difference in inventory is also reflected by the fact that sales in the 905 region took place in 33 days (an average), yet it took only 29 days for all properties in the City of Toronto to sell.


 Another positive aspect of January’s performance is the supply of new properties that came to market. In January, 9,456 new properties became available to buyers. This is a favourable 10.5 percent increase compared to the 8,561 new listings that became available last year. Entering February, active listings were slightly higher than last year. February began with 11,962 active listings compared to the 11,894 available last year. The bulk of these listings are located in the 905 region. OF the 11,962 active listings, 8,387, or more than 70 percent, are located in the 905 region.

 

January’s average sale price came in at $748,328, an increase of almost 2 percent compared to last year’s average sale price of $735,874. This is exactly the kind of increase that reflects a stable and sound market, not the double-digit monthly increases that became commonplace in 2016 and early 2017. Double-digit increases in average sale prices become unsustainable and unfortunately can lead to painful corrections.

 

In this regard, Toronto’s high-end residential market continues to adjust. In January, 76 properties having a sale price of $2 million or more were reported sold. This compared to 90 reported sold during the same period last year. The adjustment is also evident in the sale price to listing ratio witnessed in January. Detached properties in Toronto’s central districts are the most expensive properties in the Greater Toronto Area. All detached properties in these districts sold for 95 percent of their asking price. This ratio was much lower than the detached properties in other trading districts. For example, all detached properties in Toronto’s eastern districts sold for 100 percent of their asking price. The fact that the average sale price in the eastern districts is half ($916,588) that of the central districts ($1,938,617) is no doubt responsible for this divergence. Higher-end properties accelerated more dramatically during the pre-2017 introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and are retracting proportionally, especially with the introduction of the 15 percent foreign buyers’ tax.


Condominium apartments continue to be the most affordable housing form, but again, because of supply, average prices continue to increase. In January, the average sale price in the City of Toronto increased by almost 9 percent to $591,444. In Toronto’s central districts, where most condominium apartment sales are located, the average sale price came in at $677,997, a 10 percent increase compared to last year’s prices. In January, there were only 1,738 condominium apartments for sale in the City of Toronto and only 1,093 in Toronto’s central districts where most sales take place. This shortage of supply will continue to put upward pressure on prices, constrained only by affordability.

Although it is a little early in the year to be forecasting for 2019, January’s results – sales volumes, price increases and increases in supply – all point to a healthy 2019. Last year only 77,375 residential properties were reported sold, the lowest number since the recession of 2008. Barring any unexpected economic events this year, we should see between 83,000 and 85,000 reported sales, with average sale prices increasing by about 2-3 percent. January’s average sale price came in at $748,328. Last year’s annual average sale price was $787,000. By year-end, Toronto and area’s average sale price should be approximately $800,000. From a long-term sustainability prospect, we should be thrilled with this number.


PREPARED BY:

Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

6 REASONS TO INVEST IN HAMILTON

Despite the pressures of increasing interest rates and the new stress tests, the Toronto real estate market remains relatively stable, with more modest increases in price relative to the peak of the market in 2017. Which is great if you’re already in that market. But what about those buyers who can’t quite afford Toronto prices or those looking to invest in a less expensive property?

We’ve already seen a large shift of buyers to Hamilton in light of the above situation, contributing to a rejuvenation in it’s urban core. A trend we expect will continue into 2019.  Here’s 6 great reasons to invest in the Steel town real estate market…

6 REASONS TO INVEST IN HAMILTON

GREAT PRICES

You can buy twice the house in Hamilton for about half the price of Toronto. Lots of opportunities to buy into the housing market at affordable prices and raise a family in a safe and wonderful neighbourhood.

TRANSPORTATION

With the introduction of more Go Trains to make it easier to get to Toronto, Hamilton is on the rise. Internally the city is also adding bus service as well as looking to introduce an LRT going east to west in the city. 

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The job sector is thriving with an increase of jobs in Education (McMaster University and Mohawk College), Medical Institutions (McMaster Medical School and Teaching Hospital, Juravinski Cancer Centre, St Joseph’s Hospital) and over 300 Research Facilities in the area in Medicine, Tech and Agriculture. 

FINE DINING AND THE ART SCENE

Hamilton has seen a surge in fine Restaurants such as Brux House and Mattson & Co. on Locke St., a thriving local Organic Farming scene (Fernwood Farms and Lindley’s Farms) , a vibrant Art and Music scene (Hamilton Art Gallery, James St. North and Ottawa Street).

BEAUTIFUL SCENERY AND THE NIAGARA ESCARPMENT

Hamilton is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery and amazing views in Ontario with the famous Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Trail. There are dozens of walking trails and water falls (Webster Falls, Tiffany Falls, Albion Falls) conservation areas and the famous Royal Botanical Gardens in the area. A revitalization of the waterfront is also in the works. Easy access to the entire Niagara Peninsula with it’s famous wine region and wineries, great views of Lake Ontario and of course Niagara Falls - all make this a world-renowned tourist destination. 

PIVOTAL POINT IN THE NIAGARA PENINSULA

Hamilton has great access to both Toronto and Niagara Falls as well as Buffalo with easy access to several airports; Hamilton Airport, Pearson International, Billy Bishop and Buffalo Niagara International Airport. 

“Hamilton is unstoppable," gushed a city news release from The Hamilton Spectator, which included a quote from Mayor Fred Eisenberger boasting that Hamilton has "the most diversified economy in Canada, with sectors including health care, manufacturing and agribusiness — that are helping to drive Hamilton's economy and create new opportunities for employment."

 

If you’re looking for a great place to raise a family in a more affordable and potentially peaceful environment, with great access to some wonderful amenities and great infrastructure, Hamilton might be for you. 

We have a great listing with income potential in Hamilton. Give us a call for more information. 

TORONTO MARKET REPORT - JULY 2018

PHOTO BY SCOTT WEBB

PHOTO BY SCOTT WEBB

Despite hot temperatures, June's gains were relatively modest. During a time of year when most start to migrate north, Toronto's market is still pushing price increases on average. 

Nasty year over year comparisons came to an end in June. For the first time in more than a year, we saw positive variances in the number of sales and average sale prices. It was unrealistic to compare the first few months of 2017 to any period. Those months represented the most frenetic period in the history of the Toronto residential resale market, even more, dramatic than Toronto’s last frenetic increase in real estate prices in the late 1980’s. Last year’s collective market psychosis was fueled by historically low-interest rates, demand that exceeded supply, and an unrealistic belief that house prices would never stop rising. When the Ontario Fair Housing Plan measures were introduced in late April, it was the electric shock that woke up the psychotic market. What the government’s measure couldn’t impact was demand. With a large number of people migrating to the greater Toronto area annually and the limited amount of new supply available to buyers, demand will always remain strong. It’s not surprising therefore that the residential resale market produced such strong numbers in June. 

During the month of June 8,082 properties were reported sold. This compares favourably with the 7,893 properties sold last year. It was not surprising that the average sale price also popped in June. In June the average sale price came in at $807,871 a 2 percent increase compared to the $791,929 average sale price last year.  As the chart below indicates, the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area has been making a steady recovery since the beginning of this year.

Demand and supply will continue to play significant roles going forward. It is troubling that only 15,922 properties came to market in June. Last year 19,561 properties came to market, a decline of almost 19 percent. Although active listings at the end of June were on par with the number available to consumers last year, most of that inventory represents the residue of the market build-up following the implementation of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.

What the average sale price belies is the fact that it was achieved notwithstanding that the high-end of the market continues to lag. In June 237 properties were reported sold having a sale price of $2 Million or more. Last year 264 were reported sold over the same period. On a year to date basis, 1,067 properties in this price category have been reported sold, a stunning reversal from the 2,483 that sold last year. June’s results are, however, encouraging, and as continued positive variances are produced through the balance of 2018, the higher-end will begin participating equally with the rest of the residential resale market.

The long-term problem will become affordability. Average sale prices are starting to inch towards the numbers that prompted the Liberal government to implement the 15 percent foreign buyers tax. In the city of Toronto, the average sale price for all properties sold was $870,559, approximately 9 times the average household annual income. The resilience of the Toronto and area market makes it clear that if there is insufficient supply, and growing demand, no amount of government engineering will make housing more affordable. It will take a collective political will at the municipal, provincial and federal levels to address the supply issue. Unfortunately, we have seen no collective initiative in this regard.

Prepared by:
Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

TORONTO MARKET REPORT - JUNE 2018

Photo by eugene aikimov - @ @eugacc

Photo by eugene aikimov - @@eugacc

As the days get longer and the weather hotter, the Toronto housing market seems to be taking some pause. The month of May saw modest gains in the average sale price but a closer inspection of the numbers shows there's still a fracture between our neighbours in the GTA and the City proper. 

As usual, we got our President and CEO, Chris Kapches' take on what's happened over the month. Text version below or hit the link to check out the YouTube video. 

There were no surprises in the May resale figures for the Toronto and area residential market. The three themes that emerge are that the city of Toronto resale market continues to strengthen (416 regions); the 905 region continues as a drag on the overall market, and the high-end of the resale market ($2 Million plus) has yet to return to anywhere near its early 2017 performance.

The City of Toronto has almost returned to the way it was performing last year. The average sale price for all properties came in at $861, 970. Last year at this time it was $899,000. The number includes condominium apartment sales which, significantly, continue to represent the most affordable housing available in Toronto, and accounted for more than 56 percent of all properties reported sold in May.

All properties (including condominium apartments) sold in only 16 days, and impressively, sold for 101 percent of their list price. In the eastern districts located closest to the central core (Riverdale, Leslieville, Beaches) all properties sold in just over 8 days, at more than 110 percent of their asking price. These are some remarkable statistics that are generally ignored by the daily newspapers and articles related to the Toronto and area marketplace.

The data emerging from the 905 region is not as impressive. Notwithstanding the size of the 905 region, only 60 percent of all reported sales (7,834) took place in the region. The average sale price of $805,320 was more than $55,000 lower than the average sale price of $861,970 achieved in the City of Toronto.

What is troubling about the 905 region is that 73% of all available inventory is located in the region. In May there were 20,919 properties available to buyers, but only 5,797 in the City of Toronto. As a result, the sales to list ratio in Toronto was 56.5 percent, but only 46.8 percent in the 905. The months of inventory in the 905 is 2.6, while only 1.9 in Toronto. All sales in the 905 took place in 20 days, but only 16 in Toronto, and not surprisingly, all sales in the 905 took place at 99 percent of their asking price, but at 101 percent in Toronto. Given this discrepancy in market performance, it becomes extremely deceptive if the Toronto and area resale market are analyzed as a whole, and not as two distinct marketplaces.

In May 233 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more was reported sold. This compares very poorly with the 427 similar properties reported sold in May last year. This represents a 45 percent reduction year-over-year. The explanation for this decline is many-fold. Last year, on the obsessive belief that house prices would continue to skyrocket, high-end average sales prices reached unsustainable levels. Since then there have been three mortgage interest rate hikes, and banks are now applying more restrictive stress testing on all properties. The 15 percent of foreign buyers tax is playing some role in this scenario, but less significant than the provincial government’s perception.

All of these factors have had a strong psychological impact on buyers. They are clearly waiting to see if prices will continue to fall at the high end. That hesitation has resulted in the sharp drop in sales in this price category. However, as May’s results for the City of Toronto indicate, the market is improving which will have an ameliorative impact on the psychological hesitation of buyers in this price category.

Inventory levels are becoming a concern, particularly in the City of Toronto. Last year there were 5,779 active listings at the end of May, a period of severe inventory shortages. This year there are only 5,797. Although the difference is marginal, it represents a pattern that has been emerging. Declining inventory will lead to rising prices and hyper-competition for good properties in desirable neighbourhoods.

Condominium apartment inventory is also declining. Last year there were 2509 active listings at the end of May. This year there are 2552. Again, the difference is insignificant but a declining pattern is emerging. This is very concerning because condominiums apartments remain the most affordable housing in Toronto, at least for the time being. Prices for condominium apartments have been increasing. The average sale price for condominiums apartments in Toronto is now $602,000 and a stunning $671,000 in the central core. Considering that 64 percent of all apartment sales in Toronto are in the central core, affordability is now becoming a concern, even for condominium apartments.

Looking forward to June, it’s possible to see a marketplace that once again can be favourably compared to last year. The initial impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan measures will be history and next month’s chart will look much smoother than the one below: 

Toronto-Average-Price-2017-2018-May.png

TORONTO MAY MARKET REPORT & AVERAGE PRICE CHART

If you've been following our blog or social media pages, you'll know that we've been keeping a close eye on what's been happening in Toronto proper since at least October of this year. Since that time, we've been signalling the shifts in the market. To give you an overview of how far we've come since last years dizzying highs and not so nice lows, we've provided a chart of the average sale price in the City of Toronto (not the GTA) so you can see how close we are to being back into positive territory. 

Toronto-Average-Price-2017-2018-May.png

Now that I know you're into graphics, check out the latest infographic for May's market! We're up modestly from April's average but condos and semi-detached properties continue to lead the way in sale price increases...

Toronto_MarketReport_May2018.png

THE APRIL CP MARKET REPORT

The words of the month for April was recovery and supply. In the City of Toronto, we're seeing numbers coming closer and closer to last year's all time highs due to a lack of supply in many areas of the city. But we're not quite there yet, and appear to be only entering our recovery phase from last year's correction. 

Our President and CEO Chris Kapches breaks it down below; check out the video or read along. Be sure however to check out the chart of the average sale prices for the GTA from the past year, so you can get a sense of where we've been over the last year and where we appear to be headed. 

TORONTO REGION
REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT

The Toronto and area residential resale market continued its recovery in April. For the fourth consecutive month, the market has shown improvement in both the growth of average sale prices and the number of properties reported sold. In April 7,792 residential properties were reported sold, and the average sale price for all properties reported sold in the Greater Toronto Area came in at $804,584. In January, the average sale price had slumped to $735,754. In four months, Toronto’s average sale price has increased by almost 10 percent.

blog-2018-05-09-1217539.png

 

The market has not recovered to where it was in April 2017, but it is showing signs that it might, particularly in the City of Toronto (416 region). The reason for this recovery is obvious. The fundamentals that drove the frenzied early 2017 resale market are unchanged: strong employment numbers, a growing economy, migration to the greater Toronto area, and insufficient inventory to meet buyer demand. With more than 100,000 people migrating to the Toronto area annually, the supply-demand scenario is no longer in balance. It’s a testament to the strength of the Toronto resale market that it has continued to recover notwithstanding three mortgage interest rate hikes and new more rigid stress testing for mortgage qualification.

In the City of Toronto, the average sale price came in at $865,817 for all types of properties sold, including condominium apartments. The cost of a detached property rose to $1,354,719, while semi-detached homes came in at $1,021,986. These numbers are starting to approach the numbers that the market was producing last year. Year-over-year sale volumes are down by 34 and 16 percent respectively, but in the case of semi-detached properties, this is a product of supply and not demand. In some of Toronto’s trading area, there were no reported sales of semi-detached properties. That’s because there were no listed properties for buyers to buy.

The strength of the market is profoundly demonstrated by the short time periods that detached and semi-detached properties remained on the market. All detached properties sold in only 17 days and for an amazing 101 percent of their asking price. All semi-detached properties sold in an eye-popping 13 days and for a startling  106 percent of their asking price. These numbers are only slightly short of what was happening last year.

Condominium apartment prices have risen consistently, even through the downturn in the market following the announcement of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan in April of last year. In April, and for the first time, the average sale price for all condominium apartments sold exceeded $600,000 coming in at $601,211. In Toronto’s central core, where more than 67 percent of all sales take place, the average sale price reached $667,345. Toronto’s most affordable housing form is rapidly becoming less affordable. Not only did condominium apartments sell with growing average sale prices, but they all sold in only 16 days and at 101 percent of their asking price. In the central core, they also sold at 101 percent of their asking price and in only 15 days.

Condominium Apartment sale prices are, like other housing forms, being driven by a severe lack of supply. At the end of April, there were only 2,130 apartments available to buyers, a little more than one month’s supply. Last year at the height of Toronto’s frenzied market there were 2509 condominium apartments on the market, a year-over-year decline of available inventory of more than 15 percent.

The high-end market has been the only laggard in Toronto’s resale market. Year-to-date only 600 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more have been reported sold. Last year 2221 had been reported sold, a decline of more than 73 percent. This market sector is, however, also improving. In April the negative variance, as compared to last April, was only 48 percent.

The Toronto and area marketplace is beginning to send out two powerful messages. Firstly, the foreign buyer’s tax that was part of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan was directed towards a non-existent enemy. There were no hordes of foreign buyers buying Toronto real estate. There were no barbarians at the gate. That has been subsequently verified by not only the provincial government but by other sources, namely the Toronto Real Estate Board and CMHC. Secondly, the Toronto resale market is being driven by local, domestic forces. That being the case, governments should abandon any attempt to engineer the marketplace and focus on measures that will help the increase of supply.

Prepared by: Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

 

TORONTO REAL ESTATE MARKET APRIL INFOGRAPHIC

If you haven't been tracking the sales stats in Toronto over the past months - let's face it, stats are kinda boring so we expect you haven't - you can check out this slick infographic produced by the fine people in our marketing department; yet another perk of working with a Chestnut Park Realtor. 

Condos continue to increase in price as the most affordable product on the market up to their average in April of $601,211 (+3.5% from March!). But more shocking perhaps is the overall Average Sale Price for Toronto, which is approaching something similar to last April when the market saw it's highest highs of all time. What does this mean? That the correction was just that and that buyers still hold Toronto real estate in high regard. 

If you're wondering where you stand as a buyer or where your property stands as a seller, please get in touch today for a free consultation. We're always happy to help!

April 2018.jpg

THE MARCH CP MARKET REPORT

We're admittedly 1 week behind posting this information but we've got some excellent critical analysis of March's statistics...

We'll start with the video version. But if you're someone who prefers the written word, we've put the whole report below. 

In March the Toronto residential real estate market clearly demonstrated its resilience. Notwithstanding the provincial government’s attempt to engineer the market, it continues to respond to forces that have nothing to do with the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. That’s due primarily to the fact that the underlying basis for the province’s measures, namely foreign buyer speculation, were unfounded. Since the implementation of the Fair Housing Plan it has been demonstrated that less than 5 percent of all purchases of residential properties in the greater Toronto area involved foreign buyers.

The real and fundamental factors driving the Toronto and area marketplace have remained unchanged: low unemployment, rising wages, a growing (albeit modestly) economy, and most importantly, the combination of low supply and continuous immigration into the greater Toronto area. Ultimately what will control the Toronto residential marketplace is the market itself, specifically the cost of housing. The Fair Housing Plan, to its credit, did act as a wake up call to buyers, but ultimately it will be the cost of mortgage money, qualifying for mortgage financing, rising average sale prices (due primarily to a lack of supply) that will control and moderate
the residential resale market.

In March the lack of supply was clearly demonstrated by the rising average sale price. March saw an average sale price for all properties in the greater Toronto area of $784,558, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to January, and almost 7 percent higher than February’s average sale price. Demand was demonstrated by how quickly all listed properties sold in March. The average days on market was only 20. That is a pace consistent with the most aggressive seller’s market. In some areas of the market, particularly in the 416 region, the days on market was even lower.
All detached properties in the 416 region (City of Toronto) sold in only 17 days. All semi-detached properties sold in a shocking 13 days, and in only 11 days in Toronto’s eastern regions. All condominium apartments in the City of Toronto sold in only 17 days. As hard as this is to believe, this is a pace not that different from the delirious pace of the first four months of 2017.

When the market moves at the above-noted pace, it is not surprising to see average sale prices rising. In the City of Toronto all properties, including condominium apartments, sold for 101 percent of their asking prices, coming in at $817,642. All detached properties sold for 100 percent of their asking prices, coming in at almost $1,300,000. Unbelievably semi-detached properties sold for 107 percent of their asking prices, the average sale price exceeding $1,000,000. Even condominium apartments sold for 101 percent of their asking prices with an average sale price of $590,000. In Toronto’s central core, the average sale price for condominium apartments was $656,836, not that much less than average sale price for all property sales in the greater
Toronto area. Condominium apartment sales are now taking place at approximately $1,000 a square foot.

The ultimate reason for these incredible numbers is the lack of supply. Notwithstanding that the number of active listings in March (15,971) was 103 percent higher than the 7,865 properties available last year, the bulk of the available listings are located in the 905 region. Of the 15,971 available properties for sale, 75 percent are located in the 905 region. In the case of detached properties, 83 percent of all detached properties are located in the 905 region. The situation involving condominium apartments is reaching crisis proportions. In March 1,573 condominium apartments were reported sold. At the end of March there were only 1,854 condominium apartments available for sale, most of them in Toronto’s central core. If this rate of absorption
continues, there will be almost no product for buyers. This is particularly troubling because condominium apartments have been the only affordable housing type available to buyers.

Detached properties were the only housing type that continues to lag behind the rest of the Toronto market. Sales were off, year-over-year, by more than 40 percent, and average sale prices were off by almost 18 percent. The explanation is self evident. During last year’s delirious market, mortgage money was historically cheap, and relatively accessible. Since then not only has mortgage money become more expensive – three bank rate hikes in the last year – but new mortgage stress testing for conventional mortgages makes qualifying substantially more difficult. It should also be noted that during the January through April real estate madness
of last year’s average prices reached astronomical levels, levels that simply could not be sustained.

Going forward we are not likely to see much change in Toronto’s residential resale market. The key to change is more supply. There is no indication either at the provincial or municipal level that measures will be taken that would have a positive impact in this area. For political reasons governments may attempt further engineering, but any such actions will have a limited impact on the market, but are likely to have broader, negative economic impact. Without dramatic change to Toronto’s available supply, Toronto will become one of many other cities in the world that because of their political and financial stability where real estate ownership will not be
available to everyone. That begs another question: what about the rental supply?

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THE FEBRUARY MARKET REPORT - The Press Isn't Telling the Whole Story

We've got the recap in video format again and straight from the horses mouth! In this case, the horse in question is CP's President, CEO and Broker of Record, Chris Kapches LLB. In this video Chris analyses the Toronto housing market for February and discusses how there is more than is being reported by press headlines.

The broad strokes are as follows...

- The market is currently quite "fractured" and isn't doing as well as last year. BUT, last year's market was operating in a "state of delirium"

- Variances in average sale price year over year will remain negative until we get to April/May when, as of last year, the government instituted the fair housing plan and the large market correction transpired.

- Inventory remains low within the 416 area code (which is to say The City of Toronto), particularly in the case of condo apartments. Chris considers the condo market to be in "crisis" at the moment.

- The inventory issues have resulted in some well priced, "turn-key" homes in the 416 having exceedingly high numbers of offers on them.

- Year over year price declines in the 905 have continued to paint a negative picture of Toronto's overall market conditions despite the 416's average sale price rising since the correction.

- Foreign buyer's tax and other government fair housing legislature has effected the 905 market place more than the 416, resulting in an skewed perspective on the overall GTA market. 

- Concerns going forward are that the lack of inventory and the continued demand may result in escalating prices in the 416 area code.

- High-priced homes, ie. houses over $2M or more have declined by 67% from February 2017. That disparity has driven the average sale price down dramatically. 

Get the full story from Chris below...

 

 

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: The CP Weekly Meeting Recap

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Each week The Glenn Team provide highlights from the weekly CP office meeting to provide a balanced overview of the Toronto and GTA markets and relevant issues affecting real estate markets. Meetings are overseen by Chestnut Park's CEO and Broker of Record, Chris Kapches, LLB, who provides weekly analysis and commentary. Additional input is provided by the CP Toronto office Realtors who give a day to day, real life perspective of the local markets.

BACK AT IT

We took a two week hiatus from the weekly meeting posts as last week both Chris and Richard Stewart (on-staff lawyer) were away and the week previous, there was very little news of relevance beyond to us Realtors and Brokers.

We began this week as usual; with a few stats. If you don't receive our monthly market reports, you can see the latest infographic along with Chris' comments on our blog here.

Additionally, new data for this week is beginning to show the real discrepancy in the year over year statistics. With just over 1,100 properties sold so far this month, Chris expects this number to go to 2,200-2,300 by the end of the month; down 24% from February 2017. Though this reads dramatically, it should be restated that early 2017 saw the highest inventory and sales averages Toronto has ever seen, so it's not an overstatement to say that the market was inflated. That being said, this years numbers represent a more sustainable level of inventory. The primary reason for this decline outside of previous market data is that detached properties aren’t selling nearly as much as semi-detached and condominium apartments. As reported in the Market Update, the number of $2M properties sold is also down, and the average sale price in the 416 is still around $750,000 where last year's was almost $850,000.

No doubt up until May, when prices began to correct, we'll see lots of negative press about this, but the larger story is that the market is still going through a correction to achieving more sustainable numbers and that the 416 area is still experiencing growth, albeit at a slower pace.

 

CHMC SEES IT DIFFERENTLY

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation doesn't share our modestly positive viewpoint on the Toronto real estate market. It's latest Housing Market Assessment says markets like Toronto, Hamilton, Victoria and Vancouver are still being overvalued and are vulnerable to further price corrections. The report takes into account economic fundamentals such as personal disposable income and population growth, as well as price acceleration as it's indicators for the valuation. House prices in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina appear broadly in line with fundamentals, but strong evidence of overbuilding is still observable. 

 

A NEW LEASE ON LIFE IN TORONTO

It was announced a couple weeks back that as of April 30th, 2018, a new standardized lease agreement for all rentals in Ontario will become mandatory. This new document will not be retroactive but will be required for anyone wishing to lease a residential property on or after April 30th. The new form virtually negates the use of any existing OREA Offer to Lease forms which could otherwise detail conditions that would contribute to the final lease document. Though the details are not 100% clear at this point, we expect that the new form will either be used as a schedule to an offer to lease or function as the primary document to facilitate the lease agreement. More information, as well as a link to the document itself, can be found on the Government of Ontario website.

 

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CHESTNUT PARK JANUARY MARKET REPORT

The residential resale market in the first month of 2018 is, in a phrase, a tale of two markets. Actually, that is not entirely true. It is a tale of many markets, a fractured landscape that varies by housing type, and, importantly, by location.

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The overall data for the greater Toronto area indicates that compared to January 2017 sales declined by 22 percent, from 5,155 last year to 4,019 this year. The average sale price also declined, from $768,351 last year to $736,783. A closer look at the data reveals that, except for detached properties, the decline in average sale prices was almost exclusively in the 905 regions. The 416 regions, or the City of Toronto, actually experienced price growth.

 

In January 2017 the average sale price for all properties sold, the bulk of which were in the 905 region, was $770,745. This year the average sale price declined to $736,783. Last year, the average sale price in the 416 region was $727,928. This January the average sale price increased to $766,616, an increase of 5.4 percent. So, whereas prices are declining in Toronto’s outlying areas, within the city itself, they continue to increase.

 

The only housing type in the 416 region that saw price reductions was detached properties. The decline was modest at 3.9 percent. There is no surprise in this decline. Detached properties in Toronto in early 2017 had become exceedingly expensive. Detached properties continue to be expensive, the average sale price coming in in January at $1,283,981. The high end of luxury properties sales had an overall decline in January. Last year 166 properties were reported sold having a sale price of $2 million or more. This year that number dropped to only 90.

 

There are a number of factors responsible for this decline. Firstly, the run up of prices in early 2017 for detached properties, particularly in the City of Toronto, was simply unsustainable. Secondly, we were greeted with new mortgage stress testing rules in 2018 for conventional mortgages (all sales over $1 Million must be conventional – that is the minimum deposit required by buyers is 20 percent of the purchase price). Early indications are that the new mortgage stress tests reduce the purchasing horizon of buyers by about 15 percent. That means that buyers will either buy lower priced properties, or pay less than they could have before the new stress testing. Lastly, there is an uncertainty in the market place that is resulting in hesitancy. There is a belief that prices may continue to decline, so why buy now.

 

Active listings are also up substantially in early 2018. Last year at this time there were only 5,034 available properties for sale, less than the total number of sales that were achieved in January 2017. Active listings this year have increased by 136 percent, to 11,894. Interestingly, the increase in active listings is heavily concentrated in the 905 region.

 

For example, last year there were 211 semi-detached properties for sale in the greater Toronto area. This year that number has jumped to 765, an increase of 262 percent. By comparison, in the City of Toronto last year there were 102 semi-detached properties for sale, and this year there are 219, an increase of 115 percent, substantially less than the increase in the 905 region. In fact, in the case of semi-detached properties in Toronto, even with the increase we have experienced, the supply remains insufficient to meet demand. It is for this reason that in Toronto’s popular eastern districts (Riverdale, Leslieville, Beaches) sales continued to take place at more than 105 percent of asking prices, and on average in only 16 days. Sales in the Greater Toronto market place took place on average in 32 days, 68 percent longer.

 

As has been the case for a number of months, condominium apartments sales continue at a blistering pace, albeit not quite as fast as last year. Sale prices have been sky rocketing. Last year the average sale price for condominium apartments in the Greater Toronto area was only $442,598. This year it is $507,492. In the City of Toronto the average sale price has jumped from $471,409 to $543.279. Prices have reached challenging levels in Toronto’s central districts. Last year the average sale price was $529,000. That same condominium apartment will now cost you $616,322, almost 17 percent more than last year.

 

As we move into February the resale landscape remains fractured. It will continue to remain in this strange state until May, when comparisons on a year over year basis become more balanced. Until then comparisons will be made with the first few months of 2017, the most incredible months in Toronto’s resale market history, and unless the various markets in Toronto’s overall landscape are examined, the variances will appear very negative. It’s that psychology that will be at play for the next few months.

 

Prepared by: Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: The Weekly CP Meeting Recap

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Each week The Glenn Team provide highlights from the weekly CP office meeting to provide a balanced overview of the Toronto and GTA markets and relevant issues affecting real estate markets. Meetings are overseen by Chestnut Park's CEO and Broker of Record, Chris Kapches, LLB, who provides weekly analysis and commentary. Additional input is provided by the CP Toronto office Realtors who give a day to day, real life perspective of the local markets.

 

MARKET UPDATE

As we typically do, we began this week's meeting with an update of the Toronto (read 416 area code) stats. Though the media is reporting on most negative aspects of the market, this last week (Jan 22 - 29th) saw the best sales average for the month of January at about $759,000. That makes the current average sale price for the month around $736,000, up 1.2% since last year. Despite prices having begun to sky rocket in January of last year, we're still seeing increases in the average sale price. Inventory, or lack thereof, seems to be the primary contributor to these price increases; especially in the condominium apartment market. The number of sales in total is down by about 20-25% from January 2017. 

The 905 hasn't faired as well. Though condo sales are also leading the way in both sales and prices, they are still down overall from last year; 8% from April to Jan. 1. Freehold properties are doing even worse dropping 20% since April 2017. 

Despite the new stress test rules, some condo owners may do well to attempt to get into the freehold market now, while demand for condos is high and freehold prices are softened. 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS?

Speaking of stress testing, Karlee Kusnierczyk from Hanley Mortgage Group stopped by to discuss the current climate of the mortgage market under the new stress test rules. They did a random sampling of 50 clients looking to renew their mortgage and found that 15% of those clients wouldn't have qualified for the fixed rate they obtained 5 years ago under the new stress test. Karlee stated that if a larger sample size was used, she estimates that number would have gone up to 20%. This falls in line with what many economists predicted the stress test would impact. Karlee felt that this wouldn't take people out of a buying position so much as it would knock their price point down. 

Anyone needing to renew their mortgage is likely best to stick with their current lender, as any new lender will use the new stress test rules for qualification, effectively making shopping around a moot point. 

 

RENT RELIEF

Though it's not well advertised by the city, landlords should be aware that if they apply for a reduction in property taxes and the reassessment results in a reduction of 2.49% or more, their tenants have the right to seek an adjustment to their monthly rental amount. The City of Toronto website details the calculations for this law. I expect that most new landlords, and likely many seasoned landlords are unaware of this law, so it's important to be aware of. Though the reassessment might only result in a 1-3% reduction in monthly rental income, new landlords may depend on those amounts to keep their investment sound, so it's good to know it's at least on the table for landlords. It's not clear as to how the city knows when the property is being rented but the rule nevertheless applies.

 

Don't just be a spectator on the sidelines of the real estate market. Contact us today to formulate a game plan! We love helping our clients determine their next best steps to real estate joy. Email us here or contact us at 416-925-9191. 

 

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: The Weekly CP Meeting Recap

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Each week The Glenn Team provide highlights from the weekly CP office meeting to provide a balanced overview of the Toronto and GTA markets and relevant issues affecting real estate markets. Meetings are overseen by Chestnut Park's CEO and Broker of Record, Chris Kapches, LLB, who provides weekly analysis and commentary. Additional input is provided by the CP Toronto office Realtors who give a day to day, real life perspective of the local markets.

 

TORONTO MARKET SUMMARY

As TREB continues it's freeze on weekly stats, Chris has continued to collect his own in the 416 area code. More deals were done last week than in the first two weeks, though not many more. Inventory levels remain low and are looking to be about 20 - 25% lower than last year. As of the January 18th, there were 771 properties reported sold putting us on pace for around 1,500 sales for the month, compared to the 1,900+ from January 2017. The average sale price in the 416 is about $710,000, a decline of about 1.5 - 2.5% from last January. This is actually pretty good considering the highs the market came from in January 2017. Where the market continues to fall short is in inventory, which will almost certainly affect sale prices going forward. This continues to be the case with condo apartments whose average sale price came in at $556,156 for the 155 sales across the 416 area; 93 of which sold in the Central districts.

Other parts of the country are up and down. Vancouver continues to outperform any other city nationally, with their average sale price going up 16% year over year to $1,060,000. Regina and Calgary have had harder times with their average sale prices coming down by 4% and .4% respectively. Ottawa's average sale price is up by 6% year over year, which could be an indication that foreign capital is looking to our capital to invest in other markets; though this is simply speculative. Oakville and Milton prices are down by about 4.8%, which is comparable to other GTA markets. All of this makes for a confusing and fractured marketplace nationally, especially in light of the next agenda item.

 

INTERESTED?

Our resident mortgage expert, Darlene Hanley came into the office to discuss how the new stress test and BoC interest rates are affecting those looking at purchase, pre-approvals and refinancing. 

Here's a summary of what she said. We've also included a link to her presentation here, which contains more examples of the info. below.

NEW RULE CHANGES

On January 1st, 2018, OSFI implemented new conventional (uninsured) mortgage rules, attempting to protect homebuyers from mortgage default in a rising interest rate environment.

The government introduced a rate cushion which will affect all uninsured mortgages (those with a down payment of 20% and all refinances). They must now qualify at the greater of:

The Bank of Canada posted rate (4.99%)
OR
Their contract rate + 2%

This means, if your rate is 3.39%, you would be qualifying at 5.39%

Some Other Important Notes

  • If a legally binding Purchase and Sale Agreement is dated/signed prior to January 1, 2018, the customer can qualify under the old rules.
  • If the legally binding Purchase and Sale Agreement is dated/signed on or after January 1, 2018, the customer must qualify under the new rules.

BANK OF CANADA RATE INCREASE

On January 17th, 2018, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight lending rate to 1.25% from 1%. The major 6 banks have followed their lead, and increased their prime rate. Each lender decides what their prime rate will be. 

EX: Scotiabank’s Prime Rate is now 3.45%, RBC as well, up from 3.20%. TD has a prime rate of 3.60%, up from 3.45%.

Changes in Prime influence variable interest rates, ie. if you have a variable rate of Prime – 0.50% with Scotiabank:

Before the stress test: 2.70%

After the stress test: 2.95%

= Increase of .25%


INSURED MORTGAGES

Insured mortgages are only available for properties under $1M for purchases with a down payment of less than 20% and are insured by one of the three insurers in Canada. The minimum down payment is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the difference up to $999,999.

EX: If you are purchasing for $800,000, the minimum down payment would be $55,000 ($25,000 on $500,000 and $30,000 on the other $300,000)

Those looking for an insured mortgage will be qualified at the Bank of Canada posted rate of 4.99% or their contract rate, whichever is higher. This means, even if your contract rate is 3.14%, you still have to be able to qualify for a mortgage with a rate of 4.99%.

This may price many first time buyers out of the market, whose only hope of homeownership in Toronto is/was through insured mortgages.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT = UNRELIABLE

Due to the Real Estate market being so wrapped up in the economy, and economies tied to indicators such as the unemployment rate and the GDP, Chris thought this new study by The Fraser Institute was instructive as far as how we should view unemployment, or rather employment, as a means to determining economic strength. 

Essentially, the study looks at how unemployment rates have traditionally been used to indicate strength in labour markets but that "the unemployment rate can decrease for two reasons that imply very different performance: 1) people are finding work, which is positive; or 2) potential workers are dropping out of the labour force and not looking for work anymore, which is usually negative." 

Additionally, since 2008, the labour force participation rate has declined 67.6% - 65.7% and is expected to decline further due to Canada’s increased ageing population. So the institute is recommending going forward that we should be using the employment rate as the best barometer for the state of the labour market. Click the link above to read more. 

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Are you enjoying our weekly posts? Looking to get something else out of them? Is there a way we can improve? We'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or get in touch directly! 

MARKET UPDATE AND ANALYSIS - DECEMBER 2017

Once again, our wonderful President, CEO and Broker of Record Chris Kapches breaks down the Toronto market from December and into 2018. This month we've got both video or print, so take your pick and get some real insight for the year ahead. Happy 2018!

 

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.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

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