2016 was a big year in Toronto real estate. For the second year in a row, TREB reported a record number of sales. Despite the volume of available listings shrinking, the number of sales hit 113,133 units, an 11.8% increase over 2015. The natural consequence of that is higher prices.
December was a prime example. Available listings were down 48.1%, to just 4,746 (from 9,137 in December, 2015), which TREB noted was the lowest inventory in 15 years. The number of sales reported to TREB in December was up 8.6% to 5,338 (from 4,917). Those tight market conditions drove up the average sale price 20% year-over-year, to $730,472 (from $608,714).
The average increase for the whole year was slightly lower, at 17.3%. However, the average sale price was basically the same, $729,922.
Note that the condo market, which not so long ago was reputed to be ‘over-built’ and primed to ‘crash’, has become the alternative of choice for an increasing number of buyers. Condo sales in the 416 were up 19.5% last month, with the average sale price up 16.6%. With an average sale price of $466,592 for a condo apartment, it’s easy to see why. (Condo townhouses are somewhat more expensive, at $569,864.) In fact, if anything, we may run into an ever-tightening condo market this year….
There’s no reason to expect anything different in 2017. Toronto is still a destination city, and the population keeps growing. CMHC is raising its premium on March 17th, so it will cost a bit more to buy if you can’t put 20% down (which means most first-time buyers), but that’s not likely to change overall market conditions. Mortgage rates may edge up a tiny bit, but they are super low these days and not expected to rise significantly in the next couple of years. That probably won’t be a factor in the Toronto market this year. The feds have tightened general mortgage qualification rules several times in recent years, and that does make it harder for first-time buyers, but I doubt that will affect the rate of sales and/or price increases. The bottom line is that the market is strong, and there’s no point waiting for a ‘correction’: get out there and buy.
And, yes, it’s easy to sell in this market, and harder than ever to buy. Still, more people are buying than in past years, so it’s not impossible! One has to get active, get out there and get shopping to find the right place. Don’t be put off by all the hoopla. Whatever you need, we’ll find it! 😉