May 2015 Market Review

May was another busy month in the Toronto real estate market. Sales volume was up 6.3% to 11,706 transactions (over 11,013 in May, 2014). At the same time, new listings slipped by 0.8%, and total active listings shrank by 10.1% to 18,585, down from 20,679 last May. This familiar combination resulted in another increase in the average sale price. The May average (for all types) of $649,599 was up 11% year-over-year.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark, which does a more detailed comparison (e.g. adjusting for number of bedrooms, finished vs. unfinished basement, etc.) was up a slightly more moderate 8.9%.

Of on-going interest to me (if only because it serves to prove the doom-sayers wrong) the condo market in the 416 saw sales increase by 12.9%, and average price increase by 5.5%, to $422,947. That market continues to appeal to buyers, who by now realize that it can be a competitive segment, too.

As has been the case for several years now, the main issue is that lack of supply. There are plenty of buyers. The economy is stable, and likely improving: it cranked out about 59,000 jobs in May, keeping the unemployment rate at 6.8%. (For perspective, the unemployment rate in May, 1996 when I graduated from U of T was 9.7%! Things today look downright cheery by comparison.) Also, with rates low and staying that way for some time to come – likely a couple of years – purchasing power among buyers will remain strong. That will continue to drive sales – meaning that a buy now is better than a buy in 6-12 months….

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