Posts by simonmilberry

September 2018 Market Review

October 12th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

September was a decent month for real estate in Toronto. TREB reported 6,455 sales, up 1.9% over September 2017. I’d call that basically flat (i.e. stable). The average sale price hit $796,786, which was up 2.9% year-over-year. That basically the same as the inflation rate (the August rate was 2.8%). Note that the average price is basically the same now as it was in the spring: in April it was $804,584, and in May it was $805,320. Put another way, affordability – much talked about these days in the media and among politicians – is not running away from buyers this year.

The number of new listings dipped 3.1% to 15,920, and by the end of the month there was a total of 20,089 listings (of all types) available, up 5.6% over September 2017. We haven’t seen this many listings in the month of September in the GTA since 2013, when we had 20,194. After that year, September supply declined to a low point of just 11,255 listings in September 2016. Low inventory meant rising prices – the average sale price that month was up 20.4% year-over-year. The current level of supply is better suited to a balanced market.

Condo sales volume in the 416 area dipped 5.5%, but the average sale price jumped 11.7%. As I keep saying, condos are a good investment, either for living in or holding/renting out….

Sales volume and average price increased for townhouses and semis, too – but detached houses actually took a bit of a hit, going down 1.4%. Such a small change could be a reflection of the variety of houses sold; take out a few multi-million dollar sales and the average could come down slightly. We’ll see if anything significant happens over the next couple of months.

For now, it looks like a good time to be a buyer: there’s a decent supply of options and prices are stable. That’s not to say that it’s a bad time to be a seller. (It’s not as good as spring ’17 – but so be it.) A balanced market is good for sellers, too, as they can rely on a steady stream of optimistic buyers for their property. One of them will be the right fit. And, since most sellers are also buyers, a balanced market allows those folks to make the move they want/need to make, too.

The fall is usually a great time to ‘do’ real estate. If you’ve been thinking about it, get in touch with me and let’s get it done!

 

Summer 2018 Market Review

September 6th, 2018 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

The summer months are usually relatively quiet in the Toronto real estate market. There are some obvious reasons for that – people change gears and shift their attention to fun activities, and lots of folks take every opportunity to get out of the city. That said, there are still plenty of sales happening, but at a less hectic pace. The other thing to keep in mind when looking at Summer 2018 is that, by this time last year, the big spike/correction excitement had settled down. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’ll get a better measure of what the market has been doing this year once we start comparing to the post-spike/correction months last year.

Let’s look at July, first: sales volume was up 18.6%, to 6,961 units. That’s probably a reflection of the state of things last July – which was basically shock about what had just happened: there were just 5,869 sales that month. For reference, July 2016 had 9,989 sales; July 2015 had 9,880 sales; and July 2014 had 9,198 sales. So, having just 5,869 in July of 2017 was quite low; the recovery this year looks sharp, but remains well below the previous few years.

The average sale price was $782,129. That’s a bit below the June average ($807,871), but is a normal, seasonal dip. More interestingly, it was up 4.8% from the July 2017 average price ($745,971). There were 13,868 new listings, a dip of 1.8%, but the total number of available listings was up 5.2%, to 19,725. If we get a few thousand more listings in the coming months (i.e. the ‘fall market’), we should have enough listings to make for a more balanced market.

July condo sales in the 416 were up 5.8%; the average price was $582,547, up 9.2%. In fact, the average sale price for all types (detached, semi-detached, townhouses and condos) went up, year-over-year.

August continued with the usual seasonal slowness, but still showed signs of improvement over last year. There were 6,839 sales, an 8.5% increase over August 2017. August of 2017 was similar to last July – in a bit of post spike/correction shock. There were just 6,306 last August. Again, for reference, August 2016 had 9,813 sales; August 2015 had 7,998; and August 2014 had 7,568 sales. Last year, August was well below the previous few years, so an impressive-seeming increase this year must be seen in the right light.

The average sale price was up 4.7% to $765,270. Again, a bit below the previous month but typical for the time of year. (Also, the mix of types of home matters more when the volume is relatively low.) There were 12,166 new listings, a 6% increase, and the total number of available listings was up 8.8%, to 17,864.

Condo sales volume slipped 5.6% in the 416 last month, but the average sale price actually increase 8.3%, possibly reflecting some extra tightness in that segment. With some luck, September listings will ease that pressure – but, still, condos remain a good buy for downtowners and investors.

Looking ahead to the rest of September, it’s reasonable to expect more new listings and a decent pace of sales. The average sale price in September 2017 was $775,546, which represented a significant bump from $730,969 the month prior. Again, that’s typical of the seasonal nature of the real estate market – things pick up quickly in September. I think that this month will be our first really good measure of what the market has been doing since the price spike/correction of 2017. My bet is that we’ll see strong price appreciation.

By the way, the Bank of Canada left their prime rate unchanged this week, so we might actually have a month or two without any outside interference in the market. That would be nice, as it would allow things to unfold naturally. 😉

New listing: 45 Gainsborough Rd – big 3 + 1 semi **SOLD!!**

August 10th, 2018 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

Located near Gerrard and Coxwell’s Little India (AKA India Bazaar), Gainsborough Rd is a pleasant, tree-lined street of mostly semi-detached homes. Number 45, renovated a few years ago, is near the bottom of the street, just south of Eastwood Ave and just a few doors up from Moncur Park. It has a newer kitchen, two renovated baths (heated floors in the upstairs bathroom) and hardwood throughout. The three bedrooms are larger than average for the area, and the finished basement includes a rec room and an extra bedroom.

There’s a great front porch – perfect for getting to know the neighbours – but it’s the back yard that makes this property so great. Double doors open from the kitchen to a large deck (22′ x 16.5′) with plenty of seating and a hot tub. Way at the back of the relatively deep lot is another seating area with a fire pit. It’s a beautiful spot with a freshly sodded lawn and cute gardens – very relaxing!

Just a block away from the #22 bus route, this location offers quick access to the subway, but there’s plenty of nearby amenities – standard stuff like banks and grocery stores, but also interesting options like Lasiy Daisy’s cafe, Godspeed brew-pub, The Pantry (an artesan cheese shop) and Sanagan’s Meat Locker (a butcher).

Monarch Park, Greenwood Park , Orchard Park and Woodbine park are all walking distance, as is the beach (and The Beach!) and Leslieville. If you have to head downtown you can hop on the 506 Carleton (currently a bus, but usually a streetcar) or walk down to the Queen St 501.

There are great schools nearby, too: Bowmore Rd (Junior and Senior), Roden PS, Equinox Holistic Alternative School (housed inside Roden), Georges-Etienne-Cartier (Catholic French). High schools are Monarch Park, Danforth Tech (although local kids also attend Riverdale CI) and St Patrick.

 

June 2018 Market Review

July 6th, 2018 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

For most of 2018 so far, it has appeared that the Toronto real estate market has been ‘down’. All along, I’ve been saying that it only looks that way because of the crazy price spike that occurred in the first few months of 2017, and that once this year’s data started to compare to what happened after the spike was over, we would get a better sense of what’s actually happening. (I have also done some longer-term comparisons, and looked at the month-to-month data over the last half-year or so.) Well, it appears that we are getting there!

The June 2018 stats are out, and the average price has finally shown a year-over-year increase. At $807,871, it’s only about a 2% increase over last June’s $791,929, but it’s notable for actually being an increase. The sales volume was also up to 8,082, about 2.4% above the 7,893 reported last June. In fact, the only metric that was down last month was new listings; there were only 15,922 last month, down 18.6% from last June’s 19,561. By the end of the month there were 20,844 active listings on the TorontoMLS, up 5.9% from 19,680 last year. That’s a decent number that should offer reasonable selection for buyers.

Something else that caught my eye is that the average sale price for the last few months has been quite stable. In March it was $784,558, then in April it jumped to $804,584, and was $805,320 in May. The June number is almost the same (see above), making for three months of flat pricing. Naturally, it could have something to do with the product mix, and declining new listings could also play a factor. Still, it’s a bit unusual: imagine that – a stable real estate market in Toronto!

Condos showed a 6% decline in sales volume, but a 9.5% jump in average price. With more luxury condos being built in Toronto, it could just be that the size and value of the typical condo hitting the market is greater, but it could also reflect continuing tightening in that segment. Either way, I think we can safely say that the Toronto condo market is not ‘over built’ or in any kind of trouble.

The summer months are typically a bit slower than spring and fall, so we naturally see a slight dip in sales and prices in July and August – and recent heat wave will probably contribute to that. But, overall I believe that we are past the messiest numbers, and the data over the next few months will show strong increases over last year. Watch for it – and remember that you read it here first! 😉

 

4 Brookridge Dr. **SOLD!!**

June 26th, 2018 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

Midland Park is a gorgeous neighbourhood of mid-century modern homes built in the late 50s-early 60s. Many existing trees were left intact, and the housing was designed and built to fit the landscape. Today, it’s a quiet, leafy community of wide, winding streets, tall trees and classy homes whose design style has stood the test of time.

Number four Brookridge Dr, just off Midland Ave, sits on the western edge of the development. It’s on a huge lot (50ft by 150ft) that allows for a nice setback from the street, a large private drive, and a fabulous backyard. The interior features three bedrooms, a separate dining room, and a large living/family room at the back of the house that opens onto the deck, patio and yard. There’s hardwood throughout the main floor, a bright skylight in the main hallway, and a side door off the kitchen. Overall, the design and layout are interesting and functional.

The basement is divided into two main rooms: a huge rec room – great for kids or entertaining – and an office/study that has a separate entrance. There are loads of options there!

The local schools are Donwood Park P.S. (St Victor Catholic), David & Mary Thomson C.I. and Bendale Business and Tech Institute (Jean Vanier Catholic). There’s plenty of amenities nearby – shopping, banks, restaurants, etc., and the bus stop is right around the corner. In addition to the school grounds, there’s the West Highland Creek on the eastern side of the development, and Thomson Memorial Park (home of the Scarborough Museum) just on the other side of Brimley, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activity options.

This home has been in the same family for over 50 years. It has been lovingly maintained, and is in move-in condition. If you would like to see this great little house please contact me to book a private viewing.

It took a while (summer is usually a slow time of year), but this great little house is now sold. If you are looking in the area, please drop me a line!

 

May 2018 Market Review

June 15th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 7,834 sales in May 2018, 22.2% fewer than May 2017. There were 19,022 new listings posted to the Board, 26.2% fewer than the same month last year. Despite fewer new listings, the total number of available listings increased by 13.2%, to 20,919. Last year there were 18,477 on the market in May, and in May 2016 it was just 12,931. As I’ve pointed out before, in the busy spring and fall markets we used to regularly have over 20,000 listings, but that number fell significantly in recent years. We are at what I’d consider to be a decent level of available homes for sale, and that should not be misinterpretted as anything close to over-supply. If anything, it is closer to balanced (rather than clearly favouring buyers or sellers).

On the price side, the average sale price was $805,320, down 6.6% from last May. By May 2017, the big run-up in prices had peaked, and was on its way back down. I’ve been saying that last year’s anomalous price spike was making it hard to figure out what’s happening this year, and that when we got to the middle of this year and started comparing to the post-spike months of 2017 we’d have a better picture, and I think we are getting there.

That price spike was fairly short-lived – it was a truly wild ride. In December, 2016 the average sale price was $730,472. By April, 2017, it had leapt up to $920,791, a roughly 26% increase – in just four months! Over the next few months it declined, hitting $732,292 in August, erasing the spike almost completely. Since then, the market has been more or less increasing (with a typical December lull), and is currently up about 10% since last August. That’s a solid rate of increase, and would indicate a fairly strong market.

Condo sales in the 416 were down 13.2%, but the average sale price was up by 6.5%, showing that the condo market is chugging along.

Over the next couple of months, the numbers will start to reflect the true state of the Toronto real estate market. Given that the May average price is already above the June 2017 average price (which was $793,915), I think we’ll see our first year-over-year increase when this month’s numbers are reported in a few weeks. Who wants to bet that the headlines are going to be all about Toronto’s “booming” real estate market! 😉

 

April 2018 Market Review

May 9th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

TREB reported 7,792 sales last month, a drop in volume of 32.1% from April 2017. The average sale price was down 12.4%, but keep in mind that at this time last year the market was still showing the effects of that massive price spike. April 2017 had shot up 33.2% over April 2016, which was wild and unsustainable. This year, the April average price was $804,584. To help us keep some perspective on things, I’ve been looking back at 2016, and seeing how this year compares. The average sale price in April 2016 was $688,011, so we’re up 16.9% since then. Even averaging over two years, that gives us almost 8.5% annual increases over that time, which is pretty darned good.

Another point to keep in mind that the mix of types of real estate sold influences the average price. TREB points out that sales over $2 million accounted for about 10% of sales in April 2017, but just 5.5% in April 2018. Obviously, more high-end sales in 2017 helped skew up the average sale price, and that’s not happening so far this year. That’s why TREB’s MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark (which weights sales across the board) was down by just 5.2%.

Condo sales volume also declined last month, down 26.4% from the same time last year. Once again, though, condo prices in the 416 increased, this time by a rather moderate – and sustainable – 3.8%.

Back to the average price: I usually don’t bother tracking month-to-month price changes, because seasonal influences – even something like a big storm, or a long weekend – can have short-term impacts. However, because we are trying to see through/around the big price spike in early 2017, it’s worth noting that the April 2018 average price was up 2.5% over March. Looking at 2018 to this point, the average price is up 9.5% since December. That’s actually fairly significant, and a sign that the Toronto real estate market is in good shape.

There were 16,273 new listings posted last month, and at the end of the month there were 18,206 available. That’s up 40.8% over last year, and it means that there’s more selection for buyers. Still, it’s not as many as April 2013, when there were 20,866 listings – and in April 2008 there were 24,530! Ah, the good ol’ days…. 😉

Over-all, the spring market seems to be under way. It’s a great time to both buy (because there’s some options out there now) and sell (because there are lots of buyers), so if you are in the market, feel free to call me!

March 2018 Market Review

April 4th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Commentary No Comment yet

Well, the TREB stats are out for March, and so are the breathless headlines! I was going to comment on a few of them, but the thought gave me a headache. 😉

While sales volume fell significantly year-over-year (down about 40%), one has to remember that at this time last year the market was still in the throes of utter madness. Very low supply had fuelled aggressive bidding by buyers, which caused a feeding frenzy of sorts, and that rapid price spike that I have referenced before. Compared to that period, the current market is a picture of serenity! Prices pulled back last year in/around April-May-June. Basically, comparing March of 2018 to March of 2017 is a bit pointless, because last year was an anomaly. I think that we’ll get a better sense of the true state of things when we see the April and May reports.

Nonetheless, the fact is that the average sale price was lower in March than it was last March, about -14.3%. Sales volume was down across all housing types, but the average price for a condo in the 416 was actually up 7.1%, again indicating that buyers have adjusted to high house prices by looking at the condo option. The average price for a detached house is now about $1,293,903, down from $1,561,780 at the same time last year. Keep in mind, though, that the price spike last year was +32.8% over March, 2016! That was obviously unsustainable, and it’s a good thing for the over-all market that those conditions only lasted a few months. The average sale price for a detached home in 2016 was $1,174,358; this year’s average is up about 10.2% since then, which I think is quite reasonable.

Keeping with the theme of looking back at 2016 for some perspective, overall, the average sale price in March 2018 is up 14% over March 2016, which tells me that we are in good shape.

The number of new listings dropped from 16,978 to 14,866, a decline of 12.4%. That might be because sellers were afraid of diminished returns, or it could just be a coincidence.  Even so, the number of active listings basically doubled, from 7,865 to 15,971. Again, that’s a good thing. There were 12,132 listings in March of 2016, which was down from 15,295 in 2015, so we are basically back to 2015 levels. Enough supply means that buyers have a better chance to buy what they want/need in the area where they want to be, and that’s a sign of a healthy real estate market.

Now that March Break and Easter are behind us, and the market has had time to absorb the new federal mortgage ‘stress test’ rules and the provincial housing regulations, I’m hoping that we get going with the spring market! If you plan to buy or sell any time soon, feel free to get in touch.

February 2018 Market Review

March 13th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

Once again, there’s a lot of noise and nonsense about the Toronto real estate market. Headlines with words like “plummet” and “slump” make it seem as though the market is in bad shape. It’s not.

Firstly, we typically compare a month (e.g. February) to the same month a year earlier. That’s usually a good measure that captures relative seasonal ups and downs – an apples-to-apples comparison – and it’s a long enough time frame to give us a view of the direction of things. However, when something unusual happens, like the massive price spike we saw in the first quarter of 2017, that measure gets skewed. Last February saw prices jump up 27.7% over February 2016. That was crazy, and it was a good thing that the market came back down in the following months. As I have written previously, 2017 was quite a roller coaster, so as we go through 2018 and do our usual one-year-ago comparison, we have to keep that in mind.

So, saying that the market is in negative territory is wrong. We have to take a broader look – or, put another way, look back a little further, and see how current prices look longer-term. TREB did that in their monthly report. Compared to February 2016, when the average sale price was $685,278, we are up 12%. Not too shabby.

Now, let’s look back over the last few months. The average sale price back in November was $761,757; in December it was $735,021; in January, 2018 it was $736,783; February was $767,818. I think the numbers over the last few months reflect the typical seasonal dip that happens every year. Situation: normal.

Secondly, we also have to look at the segments. It’s certainly very interesting that sales of fully and semi-detached houses were down, as were their average sale prices. The number of sales of townhouses and condos were also down, but prices in those segments were up. As mentioned, the average price in February worked out to $767,818, compared to $876,363 last February – a drop of 12.4%. But, the average townhouse price was up 15.5% and condos were up 10.7%. It seems to me like buyers have shifted away from the highest priced housing types and ‘substituted’ for smaller, cheaper options.

Also of note, the number of new listings edged up slightly, but the overall number of listings increased significantly (147.4%). This serves as a reminder of how tight the market supply was at this time last year. Let’s look at available listings in February over the last several years:

2013 – 15,969

2014 – 14,019

2015 – 12,793

2016 – 10,902

2017 – 5,400

2018 – 13,362

This is why I’m always stressing that supply is a big problem: it declined steadily for five years, then dropped like a stone last  year, and that naturally caused a price spike. Getting the supply back up is key to a healthy market, and we are getting there.

The ‘spring market’ is warming up, too, although this week is March Break, which is usually a bit slower due to travel, etc. I check listings and sales every day, and it looks to me like sales are happening quicker than last month, and usually for over asking. That tells me that there are lots of buyers out there. They now have some more selection, and that is a good thing. Pretty soon the market will have adapted to the latest new mortgage rules, the weather will warm up, and we’ll be able to put ‘bad news’ behind us for a while. 🙂

 

January 2018 Market Review

February 14th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

You may have heard that ‘sales were down’ in January, with the implication that that’s a bad thing. As anyone actively involved in the Toronto real estate market knows, the market is not ‘down’ at all. In fact, it’s crazy busy out there.

The first thing to note is that January 2017 set a record for sales activity with 5,155 sales. So, anything short of a new record would be down, right? I have said before that we don’t have to break records every month to have a great market, and this is another such example; 4,019 sales is decent. For comparison, January 2013 saw 4,375 sales – way below last year, and not much above this year. I’d say that January 2018 looks fine.

The next thing is that January is a relatively slow month, compared to May or October, so fluctuations can be exaggerated. Having 22% fewer sales sounds dramatic, but it’s only about a thousand sales – easily made up at any point throughout the rest of the year.

The good news that I see in the January 2018 stats is the big increase in supply. At the same time last year there were only 5,034 listings on the TorontoMLS. This year we had 11,894, which gave buyers more choice. Looking again at 2013, there were 14,231 active listings in January of that year, so supply could easily go up and still be below past levels. If this year’s increased supply can be maintained – and improved upon – throughout the year we could see a more moderate market, which would be a nice change….

Speaking of moderation, the average sale price dipped by about 4.1%, to $736,783. However, TREB’s weighted average was UP 5.2%, reflecting the number of sales of condos compared to houses i.e. more condos (which are cheaper than houses) sold. Moderation in the price of single family detached (the most expensive type, and the only one that saw a price decline), combined with price increases in other housing types, shows that the market has naturally adapted to high prices for detached houses. I doubt that government intervention had anything to do with that…. 😉

The condo market is nuts these days. Not only did my own condo listing get swamped (over 130 showings in a week, and 11 offers on ‘offer night’), but showing condos to other clients is a gong show. Getting appointments is sometimes tricky, and it seems there’s always at least one other agent poking around the same unit, meaning we sometimes have to wait to get in to see a place. The activity is reflected in the average sale price going up 15.1% last month, despite fewer sales. The condo market remains an attractive segment.

This week precedes a long weekend (Family Day), so we probably won’t see much action, but I expect the market to keep chugging along next week and for the rest of the spring market. If you want/need to buy or sell, feel free to get in touch. 🙂