The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released the numbers for February, 2013. Once again, a decline in the number of sales (volume, down about 15% from 6,809 February 2012 to 5,759 this February) coincided with an increase in the value of sales (price, up about 2%). That price increase, from an average price of about $500,249 to 510,580, reflects a somewhat flat (or ‘sideways’) market.
TREB attributes some of that to having one fewer business day this year (after last year’s Leap Year), but I would also suggest that a couple of big snow storms had something to do with it. It happens every time there’s a storm – not only is traffic tangled up for a couple of days, but lack of parking is a real hindrance to house shopping. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’d expect the slack to be picked up over March and April.
However, there could be something else at play. Over my 10+ years in real estate I have seen it a few times. Every once in a while there is a pause in the market. Maybe it’s due to mortgage rules tightening up, or incessant gloominess from the media, or simply a wave of sentiment sweeping the market, but whatever the reason it causes ‘offer dates’ to pass without a peep, and buyers to dig their heels in regarding conditions (which is often a good thing). The market dozes for a week or two but then, inevitably, it takes off again.
Maybe this time it’s the calendar: next week is March Break for elementary schools. Thousands of families will leave town on vacations, or otherwise busy themselves with ‘stay-cations’. Either way, there will be less real estate activity. The number of new listings hitting the market has dipped this week, and will be even quieter next week. After that, though, we’ll see a surge in new listings and sales. Count on it. 😉