December 2019 Market Review

January 28th, 2020 Posted by Market Commentary, Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto real estate market had a decent December to close out 2019. There were 4,399 sales, up 17.4% over December 2018. It’s worth noting, though, that 2018 was a very slow year and December of that year saw only 3,781 sales. For reference, December 2017 saw 4,876 sales, and 2016 saw 5,305 sales, so 2019 was more in line with those years, and did not represent significant net growth. So, a relatively busy December rounded out a year that saw total sales for the calendar year hit 87,825 – up 12.6% over the decade-low 78,015 sales that were reported in 2018. All good!

At the same time, the increase in prices *was* rather significant: up 11.9%, to $837,788, over $749,014 at the end of 2018. Again, I attribute this mostly to the supply issue. New listings were down 18.1%, to 3,531, and total listings at the end of the month were down 35.2% to just 7,406. At a time when sales activity was up over the previous year, reduced availability of homes to buy (down 2.4% for the whole year) caused prices to surge.

I also like to reference the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark from time to time. It weights sale prices by home type (e.g. detached, semi-detached, townhouse, etc.), so it helps to smooth out the impact of, for example, super-high-end sales. That measure was up by 7.3% year-over-year basis in December 2019. TRREB* has pointed out, though, that from June 2019 onward, the annual growth rate in the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark accelerated.

Note also that there will be price fluctuations throughout any given year, so the end-of-year price could be higher than the average price for a whole year, which may seem confusing at first, but it makes sense. 😉 So, as noted above, the average selling price in December 2019 was up almost 12% year-over-year, but for the entire calendar year 2019, the average selling price was $819,319, up a much more modest 4% over $787,856 in 2018. The ‘affordability’ issue is often exaggerated, but I think that a 4% annual increase is manageable for most potential buyers.

So, what to expect in 2020?! The economy is still pretty good (especially in Toronto), interest rates remain low, and I think there’s still a lot of pent-up demand for owned housing in the GTA. It’s still relatively quiet out there now but, based on the sale prices being reported this month, I think that we are in for another busy year in the Toronto real estate market!

*TRREB is not a type-o! The Toronto Board is now called the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, which better reflects the territory covered by the Board.

November 2019 Market Review

December 6th, 2019 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto real estate market had a pretty hot November. Sales volume was up 14.2% over November 2018, at 7,090 units, over 6,206 last November. A fairly sharp decline in both new listings (8,650, down 17.9%) and total active listings (11,958, down 27.2%) put pressure on prices, driving up the average sale price by 7.1%, to $843,637.

All housing types experienced at least a small increase in average price:

Detached +4.9%

Semi-detached +0.3%

Row/townhouse +3.2%

Condo +10.9%

Condos once again lead the way! 😉

There could be a few reasons for the increase in activity, but it likely boils down to buyers having adjusted to the so-called ‘demand side’ policies of recent years, primarily the ‘stress-test’ that obliges new buyers to meet stricter mortgage requirements. Maybe they’ve saved a bit more over the past year or so, and more of them are ready to jump in, or they’ve switched their attention to condos (as I have suggested before), or looked to different neighbourhoods, having been ‘priced out’ of their top choices…. Whatever it is, it should come as no surprise that the market has adapted to the changing conditions – after all, that’s what markets do!

December is usually a very slow month in real estate, but coming off a busy November we may see continued activity and price increases. But, eventually, the market will quiet down for the holidays/New Year. Then, we should probably get ready for a busy 2020! 😉

29 Unity Rd – fully renovated 3 bed, 3 bath semi – **SOLD!!**

October 18th, 2019 Posted by Blog, SOLD!! No Comment yet

Unity Rd is in a small development off Greenwood Ave, just a few blocks south of Danforth. Built in 1981, number 29 Unity Rd has been extensively renovated by the current owners since they bought it about 7 years ago. Improvements include new hardwood floors, an all-new kitchen, three bathrooms, windows, doors, a new roof and a fully landscaped back yard (with carport).

The home is located just three short blocks from beautiful Monarch Park, which features a playground, a dog park, a swimming pool, and a skating rink – not to mention mature trees and quiet places to sit and relax. And, at the east end of the park is Monarch Park Stadium (fully covered in winter). The park is a true gem of the East End!

It’s just about a 10 minute walk to Danforth Ave, and all the shops, restaurants, pubs and services it has to offer – and Greenwood Station. If you need the highway, just pop down Greenwood/Leslie St to the Lakeshore, or head up Greenwood towards the DVP – your escape routes are close by! 😉

The local public school is Earl Haig, with high school options being Monarch Park CI and Danforth Collegiate & Technical Institute.

 

 

43 Gainsborough Rd – beautiful 3 bed, 2 bath semi **SOLD!!**

June 7th, 2019 Posted by Blog, SOLD!! No Comment yet

Located near Gerrard and Coxwell’s Little India (AKA India Bazaar AKA Ashdale Village), Gainsborough Rd is a pleasant, tree-lined street of mostly semi-detached homes. Number 43 is a fantastic home set near the bottom of the street, just south of Eastwood Ave and just a few doors up from Moncur Park. It has a renovated kitchen, two nice bathrooms (5 piece upstairs, 3 piece downstairs) and hardwood throughout. The three bedrooms are larger than average, and the finished basement includes a rec room and loads of storage. There’s also a great front porch – perfect for getting to know the neighbours – and a beautiful back yard.

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), Sanagan’s Meat Locker (a butcher) and Lake Inez.

Monarch Park, Greenwood Park , Orchard Park and Woodbine park are all within walking distance, as are the beach (and The Beach!) and Leslieville. If you have to head downtown you can hop on the 506 Carleton 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 PS), Georges-Etienne-Cartier (Catholic French). High schools are Monarch Park, Danforth Tech (although local kids also attend Riverdale CI) and St Patrick.

I’ll be hosting an open house this Saturday and Sunday, 2-4pm both days. Please do pop by, say hi and check out this great house!

 

27 Laxis Ave: cute 2-bed detached **SOLD**

May 23rd, 2019 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

When my clients bought this house a couple of years ago, it needed loads of work. The structure was fine, but the place hadn’t been upgraded in…well, forever! The kitchen was kinda falling apart, and the back yard was a disaster. And the decor… well, see for yourself!

Two years of hard work has completely transformed the house. The kitchen is all-new – even some of the joists supporting the floor – there’s new flooring in the living/dining room and master bedroom, the sunroom has been fully insulated and prettied up, some of the windows have been replaced and insulation has been added to the attic. See below for a fuller list. Plus, overall, the decor has been given a massive upgrade!

The back yard is now a sight to behold – the flower gardens are works of art, and the veggie garden is huge. The deck is perfect for barbecuing and entertaining (or just relaxing!), and the new shed is large enough for storage and a bit of a work space. It’s fantastic.

The area is a real up-and-comer. Already known for its close proximity to the Humber River (via Portage Gardens Park, just around the corner), Fergy Brown Park and the huge Eglinton Flats playing fields, Mt Denis is getting an LRT station (not far from Laxis Ave), which will also have GO service, a UPX stop and the Maintenance and Storage facility. All that will greatly improve transit options for local residents – and that always helps real estate values (not to mention local businesses).

The local public school is Portage Trail Community School (Our Lady of Victory Catholic), and Weston CI is the high school (Chaminade College and St Oscar Romero Catholic).

List of Improvements

– New Kitchen cabinets, 2017
– Kitchen floor, from floor joists, vinyl wood style flooring, 2017
– Insulation in kitchen crawlspace (accessed under the fridge through trap door), 2017
– Kitchen window, 2016
– Wiring throughout, 2017
– New toilet and bathroom sink, 2017
– New laminate flooring main and second floor, 2017
– Oak tree in backyard professionally trimmed, 2017
– Oak veneer stair caps, 2017
– New shed, 2017
– Bathroom window, 2018
– Sunroom fully insulated (walls, ceiling (blown insulation not accessible now) and underneath – accessed through side by rain barrel outside), 2018
– Sunroom side window, 2018
– Attic blown in insulation, 2018
– New dishwasher, 2018
– New vertical posts on fence, 2018
– Built in closet in sunroom, 2019
– New vinyl siding on kitchen, 2019
– New programmable thermostat, 2019.

Inclusions:
– Existing fridge, stove and dishwasher; clothes washer and dryer (‘as-is’); custom baby gates.

Exclusions:
– wisteria in front garden
– BBQ and patio furniture
– Front window boxes and other potted plants inside and out
– Some of the perennial plants will be split so that a portion is left and some will be taken.

71 South Bonnington Ave – large 2-unit home on a great lot **SOLD!!**

May 15th, 2019 Posted by Hot Listings, SOLD!! No Comment yet

Located in Birch Cliff Heights (between Birch Cliff and Cliffside, just north of Kingston Rd), South Bonnington is a quiet street with a real range of house types, from the original local farm house (just across the street), to post-war bungalows, to modern homes. Number 71 was a two-bedroom bungalow, topped up roughly 15 years ago, now featuring two almost-identical two-bedroom flats. Set on a large corner lot, the property has a fully fenced back yard with a deep, kidney bean-shaped pool and pleasant lawns and gardens. Add to that the four-car private parking and it’s all really quite impressive!

Now fully vacant, both flats have large living/dining area, west-facing picture windows, and two east-facing bedrooms that over-look the back yard. On the main floor, the master bedroom has a sliding glass walk-out to the yard, while the upper master has a nice Juliette balcony. The main floor could use some sprucing up, but is absolutely livable as-is. To be honest, though, the upper unit would benefit from a bit more work, e.g. kitchen and flooring. Keep in mind that it’s only about 15 years old, so it’s nothing that a bit of handiwork can’t fix.

The back yard is really where it’s at with this house. The pool has a new liner and heater, and the pump is new-ish, so it’s ready to go! There’s a nice interlock patio around it, and there’s still room for a lawn and gardens – basically, it has it all!

This house would be great for large and/or extended families, or an investor looking for a two or three unit property (the basement has been rented out before, but would need to be renovated to make it suitable for that again). It’s close to schools (Birch Cliff Heights is just at the bottom of the block), parks (Highview Park has a baseball diamond and a soccer pitch), the TTC (#20 Cliffside bus is just three blocks away) and walking distance to the shops and amenities of Cliffside Village.

I’ll be hosting public open houses this Saturday and Sunday (May 18th & 19th), 2-4pm both days. Come by for a look!

April 2019 Market Review

May 6th, 2019 Posted by Affordability, Market Review No Comment yet

If you are active in the market at all these days (buyer or seller) you’ve probably noticed that things have picked up recently. Sometimes, we can feel it before the stats start to show it, and that’s basically been the case over the last couple of months, and now reflected in TREB’s April stats. Sales activity perked up significantly last month, with 9,042 transactions reported, up 16.8% over the 7,744 sales we saw in April of 2018. New listings also edged upwards, hitting 17,205 for the month, 8% more than we saw last April. Still, by the end of the month there were just 18,037 (including listings already on the market at the start of the month), actually down a touch from 18,206 last year. That means that, while new listings increased, the even greater increase in the pace of sales chewed into the inventory, and that usually foretells increasing prices….

Fortunately, prices are up only 1.9% over April 2018, with the average hitting $820,148 – still well below the peak prices we saw two years ago. Keep that in mind the next time you hear somebody complaining about ‘affordability’. Prices in Toronto are not skyrocketing; they are (for now, and for most of the last two years) trending upwards, which is a good thing. That said, if we continue to see tight supply, we’ll see escalating increases through the busy spring months.

The condo market had another strong month. Sales activity in that segment accounted for much of the action in the 416, increasing 2.6%; the average sale price surged 5.8%, to $637,181.

On a different – but related – note, I came across the Ontario government’s housing plan today. It’s basically about increasing supply – which stands in contrast to many of the demand-side moves that various governments have made to ‘cool the housing market’, for example tighter mortgage rules, the stress test, etc., all of which have made it harder to buy. I’ve long believed that dealing with supply is the solution, and although it will take a few years to work through the system, this plan could help….

March 2019 Market Review

April 4th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

This is interesting – the market was almost exactly the same in March, 2019 as it was in March, 2018! Check out these numbers:

Number of sales: 7,187 – just ONE fewer than March 2018.

Average sale price: $788,335, up just 0.5% over $784,514 recorded in 2018.

New listings: the biggest change; 13,996, down 5.1% from 14,753 last year.

Active listings: 15,576, down about 2.5% from 15,971 in 2018.

Condo sales: volume was down 14.1% in the 416, but the average sale price was up 2.3%, to $603,969.

One good sign for the market is that the number of active listings is up from 13,284 last month. Also, the average sale price last month was $780,397, so there’s been a bit of movement there, too. I think that those indicators point to a market that’s picking up steam for the spring. The spring usually generates more listings, which gives buyers more choices, thus drawing them into the game. Once that gets going, it usually rolls along until sometime in June, so we’re looking at two or three months of real activity. It’s a great time to buy and sell.

The fact that the market is essentially flat compared to last year contradicts the much-ballyhooed notion that Toronto is rapidly becoming un-affordable. In fact, prices are down significantly from that price spike we had in 2017. In March of that year, the average sale price was $915,126 and still rising. Since the correction that went through to about August of 2017, when the average sale price bottomed out at $732,292, prices haven’t gone up much – just about 7.7%, or a bit above inflation.

Of course, anybody in the market wants to see some price increases, and I expect that we’ll get back to the normal rate of 5-to-7% per year sometime in the near future. That’s both affordable for buyers, and it rewards home-owners for their investment.

 

RE/MAX Hallmark keeps expanding!

March 8th, 2019 Posted by In the media No Comment yet

Check out this big news that came out yesterday! RE/MAX Hallmark just keeps growing and growing!

— News Release —

Breaking News from Barrie and Simcoe County!

Today is an exciting day for RE/MAX Hallmark in Barrie and Simcoe region.

We are thrilled to announce effective immediately RE/MAX Hallmark Realty has partnered with the Number One real estate company in Barrie and Simcoe region – RE/MAX Chay to form RE/MAX Hallmark Chay Realty.

RE/MAX Chay has over 210 realtors and 7 real estate offices in Barrie, Angus, Innisfil, Alliston, Tottenham and Bradford. Under the leadership of Mark, Corrie and Christie – Chay has consistently provided an exceptional growing environment for its many realtors and outstanding client service.

This partnership is important for Hallmark realtors and their clients – now we will have a direct connection to an outstanding growing market!

Hallmark clients are now represented directly in the Barrie region, Aurora, Durham, Ottawa, Boston and Toronto.

Please join me in welcoming the outstanding realtors at RE/MAX Hallmark Chay to our Hallmark family.

Continued success,
Ken McLachlan
CEO, RE/MAX Hallmark Group of Companies

80 Glenshephard Dr, ** SOLD **

February 25th, 2019 Posted by Blog, SOLD!! No Comment yet

*Update – it didn’t take long for this great little house to sell! The current owner is looking forward to the  move to his new place, and the buyers are super excited about their first buy. 🙂

Glenshephard Dr is a great little street that makes a ‘U’ shape off Danforth Rd near Brimley Ave in Scarborough. Lined with well-maintained bungalows on wide lots with private drives, it makes for a quiet little pocket that’s close to public transit, shopping and lots of local amenities.

My new listing at #80 is a renovated three bedroom (one currently used as a dining room) home with hardwood floors, a walkout to the new back deck, parking for four and a large workshop at the back of the property. The large, south-facing back yard is open and sunny – a great place for a vegetable garden!

The basement is finished, and has a fully separate unit. It’s not retrofitted and wasn’t built with a permit, so it’s not considered an ‘apartment’. However, it wouldn’t be hard to get the proper paperwork to make it legal.

The local elementary public school is Walter Perry PS, the intermediate is Robert Service Sr PS and the high school is the highly regarded R.H King Academy, with the option to apply to David and Mary Thomson CI. All in all, this is a great area.