November 2013 Market Review

More sales (6,391, up 14% over last year) and fewer active listings (16,092, down 12%) in November meant competition among buyers, and higher prices – shocking, eh? The average selling price for all dwelling types was $538,881, a year-over-year increase of 11.3% (which is significant). The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up 5.7% year-over-year, which is a more manageable-sounding increase. Still, for most of you, if you bought last year, you have now built enough of a cushion to cover your cost of sale, should that need arise – a point that normally takes two years to achieve. Well done! 😉

The story in Toronto real estate is much the same as it has been for many years now. This is a great city with a growing population, and somewhat constrained area – thus the build-up downtown. As regular readers know, I have been talking about the condo market a fair bit recently. Simply put, that segment has been under intense scrutiny this year, and has been the subject of much negative press and commentary (e.g. from the federal Minister of Finance). Nonetheless, it has remained resilient. Let’s take a look at what condo sales in the 416 have done over the last few months (as reported by TREB):

Sales Y/Y change Price Y/Y change
July 1353 +10.6% $361,969 +4.1%
August 1280 +21.4% $357,572 +2.3%
September 1203 +31.5% $363,149 -3.7%
October 1347 +20.4% $384,441 +7.2%
November 1081 +12.7% $385,968 +10%

So, condo buyers have continued to buy. There have been 6264 sales in the last five months. (At writing, there are 4213 condo listings on the Toronto MLS.) The year-over-year price was up in four of those five months, the exception being September. Even that month, when the year-over-year price was down slightly, that price was actually up from the previous month. The direction is pretty clear, and has driven up the average price by 6% in just a few months. We’ll probably see that level out over the winter (when the real estate market is always slower), but looking at the numbers I think it’s safe to say that the condo crises-that-never-was, is over. 

As for houses, the average price for a single-detached home increased by 16% over November 2012. That’s a lot, and it shows how tight the supply is: buyers are willing to compete strongly for a detached house. The average price for a semi-detached increased 9.9%, likely a reflection of how few were available for sale: 1.1% fewer than last November. The townhouse segment yielded a price increase of 6.4%, pretty much in line with the composite average.

Looking forward, December can be a tough month to do real estate, partly due to how busy this time of year is, partly due to sometimes-inclement weather. However, the market doesn’t completely die down. Last year December counted 3,690 sales, and we often see 4,000 to 5,000 sales. Same thing in January. With on-going pent up demand, we’ll see as many sales as the supply allows. If you can hack it, by all means list any time up ’til mid-December, and/or be ready to go in the second week of January. You buyers have to keep tabs on things, too: the Toronto real estate market may doze off from time to time, but it never hibernates! Call me any time, and we’ll get to work.


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