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

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: 

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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. 

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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...

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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.

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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

 

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: Weekly CP Meeting Recap

Toronto_FB.jpg

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.

 

A GREAT MARKET... NO, REALLY!

The focus of this week's meeting was to focus on the positive. Which is to say, the positive market we are currently experiencing in Toronto. Chris wanted to reenforce this reality by comparing this market to the market in 2011, which at the time was regarded as being a great market. In 2011, TREB stated that "it’s a seller’s market... the results have been above average annual rates of price growth for most homes." At that time, the average sale price for the GTA was only $442,000, average days on market were about 26 and total sales numbers were 7642; very close to sales numbers for this past month. What's changed since 2011? Average sale price is now up to $780,000 (according to TREB's October numbers) and we've had a substantial increase in interest rates coupled with a lot of government legislation. And yet, despite these changes, the average days on market for October 2017 was 23 for the GTA, 3 days fewer than in 2011. Sales numbers are down from last year by about 26%, but compared to the 35% drop we had after April, we're actually slowly reducing that gap. 

The main point here is that we all need to have some perspective about where we've been and where we are now. The period from Oct. 2016 to April 2017 was, according to Chris, “not a real market. When you have prices changes of 30% year over year, clearly that's not sustainable.” Last year's average days on market was 16, which Chris says is “incomprehensible for an area like the 416 and 905 to be selling that fast.”

As stated above, there were 7118 sales in the GTA for the month of October, down from around 9000 last year, or about a 26% decline. That number was less dramatic in the 416, declining by only 21% vs. the 29% in the 905 area code. Clearly, the 416 continues to move faster than the GTA, but the pacing is still quite fast for the entire area. Chestnut Park's other on-staff lawyer Richard Steward commented that "comparators are off... every past experience becomes the new norm," meaning that many looking at the Toronto market fail to appreciate how good the market continues to be because of negative media rhetoric and because they are still comparing it to that crazy run from October 2016 to April of this year. Chris thinks the market has now regularized and is in a good place. 

 

FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN

As another point of comparison, Chris thought it interesting to look at the average days on market for properties in the Manhattan real estate market. The average days on market for this past year in Manhattan was 447! Last year, it was a heady 346 days! Clearly Toronto is not New York and property values in Manhattan far exceed many in Toronto on the whole, but the point here is that even with the "insane" numbers we're seeing in Toronto, properties are still selling in a very short amount of time, relative to major city boroughs like Manhattan, which would indicate that we're still very much in a seller's market. 

 

THE REST OF THE STORY

To finish up with discussions of October's statistics, the average sale price for detached properties in the GTA came in at $1,287,000, semi-detached properties were $948,000 on average and condos were $555,000 on average for the GTA. In Toronto's central core, where the majority of condo sales are occurring, the average rises to $620,000. Because of these higher numbers, detached property sales are down by about 1.5% Like the Manhattanites, Toronto buyers seems to becoming more patient and decisive about what they are buying; especially in the highest price point. As mentioned, average days on market came in at 23; Chris still feels that a truly balanced market would see days on market increase to the 90 day mark. Lastly, there were fewer properties over the $2M range selling this October at 208 from the 300 we saw last year. This would help account for the decline in average sale price since last year. 

TREB indicates inventory levels are around 1.7 months for the GTA and 1.4 months for the 416. Chris feels these numbers are skewed by the market rally since October, as TREB uses a 12 month running average. His numbers would put the 416 closer to 2.5 and the 905 closer to 3 months. Properties in certain areas continue to sell over 100% of asking and in some cases, in less than 18 days. There is little difference in average sale price between eastern and western districts; both being around $740-750,000. Condo inventory continues to be problematically low being less than 1.8 months, with average days on market coming in at 22 days. Clearly condos are still the hottest property on the market. As a final point, we seen quite a few price reductions in many areas of the city and even the GTA. This again would seem to point to buyers becoming more discerning in their purchases. 

 

CONCULSION

With all of the information we have above, we should really feel good about this current market. We’ve reached a stage where we can look at the market going into 2018. 80,198 total sales for the year were reported at end of October. Chris expects just over 90,000 for all of 2017. If that's the case, this would be 3rd best year of the TREB, so what’s wrong with the market exactly?

We'd love to know where you are in the market and how you feel about what's happening. Do you agree with our assessment or have a different opinion? Contact us directly or leave a comment 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.

MARKET STATS

As TREB has continued it's stoppage of weekly stats, Chris has continued to generate his own within the City of Toronto (the 416), and interesting things are happening. Up to October 28th, total properties sold for the month are at 2653; last years numbers for October were 3715. Projecting to the end of October for 2017, we expect just under 3000 sales, which means there will be a negative variance of 20% year over year. That may seem like bad news but that variance is up from the -29% we saw in September, so the gap is lessening. 

In addition to number of sales, the average sale price for each of last 3 weeks has been $833,000,  $826,000 and last weeks average of $825,000. The total for October should be about $828,000, an increase of 6%. 

Chris' opinion that is there is “essentially a stabilization of the market." So long as we can stay on this trajectory, we should be good going into 2018.

Open house reports from Toronto CP agents indicate a bit of a mixed bag, with many open houses in the central core garnering lots of visitors and the same buyers at various open houses listed in similar price ranges. Agents also reported seeing more buyers who had already sold their property; practically the opposite situation from months prior to April's downturn. This would seem to indicate buyers are being much more cautious about where and what they're buying.

3RD QUARTER CONDO & RENTAL REPORT

TREB did publish it's 3rd quarter condo and rental report. Among the data, sales volume was down by 29% and new listings were down by more than 10%, from 11,000 to 9000. At this pace, condos will be in short supply in the 4th quarter and going into 2018; something we've already noted in previous week's posts. Active listings in the quarter are down a little over 1%

Despite sales being down, the average days on market for condos was 22. Last year that number was closer to 25. This would give credence to the market accelerating and as noted, there is still a supply issue. The average sale price increased by almost 25% from $415,000 in 2016 to $510,000 for the GTA. Of the 5684 sales in the GTA, almost 65% took place in the 416. Additionally, the average sale price in the 416 is higher at $542,000. The central district accounted for 66% of all condo sales in the 416 and had an even greater average sale price at $603,000. 

RENTAL CRISIS CONTINUES

Toronto continues to be in a rental crisis, with the average rent in the city going up by 11% year over year. Renters can expect to pay $1,976 on average for a 1 bedroom apartment and $1,672 for a bachelor. We, as well as other continue to question the Liberal governments housing initiatives based on these numbers. There is clearly no product available and things appear as though they'll only get worse for renters going into 2018.

 

KEEP CALM AND TARION  

In more positive news, the Tarion Warranty Corporation announced that effective January 1st, 2018, it will be increasing it's coverage on deposits for new construction of free-hold properties from $40,000 to 10% of the purchase price. The insurance will go from a minimum of $60,000 to a maximum of $100,000. 

Unfortunately, deposits for condominium apartments will still only be insured up to the $40,000 mark. We guess this is because most new construction for condos will fall into the $400-500,000 range.

ASSIGN OF THE TIMES

The CRA has announced that it will now force the disclosure of assignment sales from developers. In the past, there was no way for CRA to know an assignment took place as it was a privacy issue.

The CRA is now taking the position that the profit, or "lift" as it's commonly referred to, from the assignment sale will not be a capital gain but instead income. Additionally, anyone selling an assignment who doesn't declare the income and is subsequently found to have done so, will have to pay tax penalties. This means we'll likely see fewer assignments going forward, and more sales going to so-called "end-users"; where buyers intend to live in the unit. As investors are less likely to purchase units for the purposes of realizing gains prior or just after incorporation of the condo. This is potentially positive news given the inventory issues mentioned above.

NEW ZEALAND IS FOR NEW ZEALANDERS!

The new New Zealand government has announced it will ban foreign buyers from buying property of any kind. No non-residents may purchase property. The rationale here is based on low interest rates, limited housing stock and immigration rising causing housing prices to have been pushed up. Sound familiar? This is a strikingly similar situation to what's happening in Toronto. This news comes after the latest election of a new government in NZ, who feels that overseas buyers are putting too much pressure on infrastructure and housing prices. Chinese buyers account for the largest percentage of foreign buyers. 

Average sale prices were up 10.4% in most cities and 18.1% in Wellington (the country's capital). The average sale price for in Auckland is now at $1,000,000, about $881,307 Canadian. Toronto's average as mentioned is now about $828,000. With all the same pressures going on here, is this what's next for Toronto?

What's your take? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us directly or leave a comment below...

 

 

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: The Weekly Chestnut Park 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 STATS

As mid-month stats are still unavailable from TREB (see our previous post regarding that), Chris has continued to prepare his own stats within the 416 districts. The average sale price has moved up to $862,000, for a 7% increase in average sale price since October 2016. We’ll have to wait until next month to see whether that number will be reflected throughout the GTA, but odds are good, it will be below that mark as the 905 properties will likely continue to be undervalued. The number of sales for the month are also down from last year by about 22% which is a shorter gap from the 35% we experienced in previous months. All of this would indicate a better and more balanced market moving into 2018. Anecdotal information from CP Toronto reps also indicates a lot of activity in central and eastern districts.


STRESS CASE

It’s now official that the newly proposed stress will be instituted come January 1st, 2018. What does this mean for potential buyers or those looking to trade-up on their existing property? Chris did a basic scenario to arrive at some numbers. Assume you’re looking to purchase a $900,000 property and have a $400,000 down payment; far past the 20% requirement. A typical 5 year fixed rate would likely amount to a monthly payment in the $2,500 area and require your yearly income to be around $95,000. Under the new rules that same buyer is required to qualify at their broker contracted rate + 2% or the Bank of Canada benchmark rate (around 4.89%), whichever is the greater of the two rates. That difference in rate would require their mortgage payment to go up $3,295/mo. and require their yearly income to be $112,000. That’s about a difference of 20%. 

Does that mean we should expect 20% of the market to simply disappear? Both Chris and Darlene Hanley (of The Hanley Mortgage Group) say no. They claim that the majority of buyers or re-financiers that can already afford 20% or more of their down payment can already cover that difference in cost. Who will be affected however? Most experts feel that it will be the buyers looking to move up to a larger, more expensive property. This new test will likely dissuade them from looking to buy or force them to buy something that is more within their means and will lower their potential debt load risk. We’ll have to wait until next year to see how much, if at all, this affects prices and activity the marketplace. 

CASE IN POINT: A Case Beyond the Pines... or Cedars

Chris brought to light a court case, which isn’t often discussed, as it rarely goes to litigation. This case relates to trees on or over property lines. In this case, the defendant, a neighbour to a property with cedar trees along the property line, trimmed and cut down some of the cedars to erect a fence, so no further trees would impact on his property. Under the law (excluding any towns’ particular by-laws) you are allowed to trim any portion of a tree that encroaches on your property but may not affect the roots of that tree. The case went as far as the court of appeals, who sided in favour of the prosecution, as the neighbour had no right to cut down any trees in erecting his fence and didn’t receive consent from the tree owner. A lesson learned for anybody with a neighbouring tree and a grudge.  

Have you got a grudge regarding the Toronto real estate market or a nasty neighbour? We'd love to hear from you. Either email us directly or use add a comment below.
 

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: THE WEEKLY CHESTNUT PARK 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 our latest CP market report was just published, there isn't much to discuss related to market stats that was covered there or in last week's meeting. For more information on where the GTA markets are at, go to that post or subscribe to our neighbourhood house price reports. 

 

WORD ON THE STREET

A poll of the agents in the CP Toronto office revealed that the type of property as well as it's price range has a significant impact on the market's interest in it. For example, listings over the $2M price point in central districts have had little interest in the past week, whereas condo apartment listings in both eastern and central districts under $1M have had intense, fetching multiple offers. Clearly the more affordable condo apartments continue to be the market's hottest prospect currently. Though volume is up in the 905 area code, the 416 continues to come in at 25% of those numbers, with condo apartment inventory all but gone. 

 

TAX TALK

As agents in the Toronto office have found more foreign buyers coming back to the Toronto market, Chris felt it important to review who is affected by the recent foreign buyer's tax. Some of the most relevant points are listed below. For the full breakdown, click here

Doesn't apply to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, unless those parties are buying property with a foreign national. 

Who Does the Tax Apply To?

  • Foreign Entities: Foreign nationals and not Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. 
  • Foreign corporations: ie. corporations NOT incorporated in Canada or incorporated in Canada but controlled by foreign national or other foreign corporation (unless corporations shares are listed on the TSX.
  • Foreign corporation controlled directly or indirectly by a foreign national for the purposes of the associated corporation rules under Canada's Income Tax Act. 

What Types of Properties are Affected?

  • Single Family Detached, Semi-Detached, Condo Apartments, Duplexes, Triplexes and Multiplexes up to 6 units; over 6 units, no tax applies
  • Each condo unit is considered a single-family residence so the tax applies to each one

How is the Tax Calculated?

  • Any property is taxed at a rate of 15% including any Land Transfer Tax associated with the property, ie. if the property is located in Toronto, you would pay tax on both provincial and municipal land transfer tax. 
  • If ANY buyers are a foreign entity, 100% of the property will be taxed, ie. you can’t purchase a property with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and avoid the tax. 

Who is Exempt from the Tax?

  • Anyone confirmed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. If you can establish you’re a bonafide immigrant in theprogram or a student or WILL be a permanent resident in the next 4 years
  • If you’re a refugee
  • If you're a foreign national with a spouse who is already a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a Nominee or a Refugee. 

 

STRESSED OUT!

Going into 2018, it is expected that the government will introduce new mortgage stress test rules. Under the new rules, people seeking a new mortgage will have to qualify at the bank posted rate, which would currently amount to about 5.25% for a 5 year rate; that's about 2% more than most lenders would currently require and amounts to about 6 rate hikes from the BoC. David Smith, a mortgage broker with Hanley Mortgage Brokers thinks this policy will effectively take buyers with the greatest stake in entering the real estate market out of the game. It will also likely negative influence anybody looking to make their next jump up to a larger property if they are already close to their mortgage maximum. In Toronto, this means any first time home buyers, likely entering the condo market, which is already under heavy stress for inventory.

Is this good policy or just the governments attempt at chastising banks and lenders? We love to know your thoughts. Either get in touch directly or leave a comment below! 

THE CHESTNUT PARK REAL ESTATE WEEKLY MEETING RECAP - SEPT. 19, 2017

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Each week, we are bringing you highlights from the weekly CP meeting. We present analysis of the Toronto and GTA markets from the perspective of Chestnut Park's CEO and Broker of Record, Chris Kapches, LLB and the CP Toronto office staff.

NO NEW TREB DATA

As we've yet to get TREB's weekly or mid-month stats for September there isn't much to discuss in terms of stats. Anecdotally however, last week saw both bully and multiple offer situations from at least a few realtors in the office. The National Bank of Canada seems to agree. It came out with a report said that The ratio of Toronto house listings compared with monthly sales has moved back into long-term balance, limiting the potential for significant further price corrections in the region. The report (published early September) goes on to indicate that the ratio of listings to sales were finally in balance and had been for some time, comapred to the April market highs which clearly favoured sellers. This report gives more credence to what CP agents seems to be experiencing. More information on that report here. Once the mid-month data comes in, we'll have a better indication of exactly where the market is. Chris feels we have enough data to indicate that we've hit the bottom of the market lows. 

 

HOUSING SHORTAGE

The Toronto Star reported that Mayor Tory and the Minister of Housing announced that it's moving forward on creating 2000 market-rent and affordable rental housing units. Based around surplus lands (in the West-Donlands) that the province intends to sell, developers anticipate paying less for these lands due to the developments being used for affordable housing and the city intends to waive the tax levies associated with the property, which would amount to just under $28M. Of the first phase of development (approx. 600 units), 30% will be allocated for affordable housing; renting at 80% or below the average rental price in the city (about $1,600). The reality however is that the current waiting list for affordable housing is around 181,000, and critics like Kenneth Hale, director of legal service with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, said that most families may not even be able to afford those units. Chris feels this isn't money well spent. We'd be curious as to your thoughts!

 

RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT CHANGES

New guidelines to the Residential Tenancies Act continue to roll out. Among them are changes to how landlords deal with termination notice to tenants and how that might affect buyers of these properties. For any existing landlord, or purchasor of a property with an existing tenant, temination of occupancy is required after 60 days of being served an N12 (Notice of Termination) form; where the termination date can't precede the last day of a fixed term tenancy. However, the guideline states, After being given the notice, the tenant is allowed to terminate the tenancy at an earlier date by giving give the landlord ten days written notice. Effectively, this means that a propsective buyer may forfeit their last month's rent if provisions in the agreement of purchase and sale have not provided for it's payment on closing day. Fortunately, we've drafted such a clause at CP so clients can feel better about those situations. 

For more clarification on any of the above information, please get in touch! theglennteam@chestnutpark.com or 416-925-9191.

 

How First Time Home Buyers Can Buy Creatively.

Creativity is alive and well in Toronto. As house prices have continued to increase in Toronto and the GTA we've seen first time home buyers get more creative in finding ways to make it affordable to buy their first home. Often the down payment required and not the monthly payments are the stumbling block for first time buyers.

Many first time home buyers are getting cash gifts from their parents to put towards the down payment for their first house. Parents are giving their kids their inheritance now instead of waiting. This allows them to establish a foothold in the market and helps them begin to build up equity in a property that can later to be used to leverage a second home in the future.

Other first time buyers are purchasing a home with a basement apartment with the intent of renting it. This option could be used in addition to receiving a gift or as a way to create more income and help pay for the mortgage. This can also apply to rooms within the house, if you're a people person and don't mind sharing space. Any home buyers considering this option should be aware of fire codes and the legalities of such an undertaking. It also wise to read up on the responsibilities of a landlord as defined in the Residential Tenancies Act

Another creative idea is to look for duplexes or triplexes with friends in a similar financial position. If the house is set up properly, one person or family can live on the first floor and the others on the second floor and if available, third floor. Of course the basement is always an option depending on it's state and the apartment strategy could work in this case as well. This way, the residents can share the down payment in order to get into the market.

Finally, financial vehicles, such as RRSPs can be a good source of a down payment as a loan to yourself. Of course you have to pay this back in order to avoid paying income tax, but the idea is that your income will increase over time, so that you will be able to pay the loan back at a later date.

Necessity is the mother of invention and we're seeing plenty of inventive ideas. If you've got some ideas for getting creative in this tight Toronto Real Estate market, we'd love to hear yours.

Susan Glenn