Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Posts tagged " Toronto Real Estate Market "

52 Robinson Ave – a great starter home ** SOLD! **

June 13th, 2017 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

This great little home once housed a family of five! Featuring a main floor master bedroom, a large upper bedroom and a basement bedroom/rec room, this one has more space than it appears.

The kitchen was updated a few years ago, as was the main bath. The dining room comfortably seats six; it has a closet and a window, too, so it could be used as a bedroom….

The basement bath was renovated this year. There’s a great workshop space and potential cold storage. Plus, there are two separate entrances to the basement: a side door at the private driveway and a walkout at the back of the basement (to the back yard).

The long private drive comfortably fits four or five vehicles, and the detached garage (which needs some work) is large enough for another parking spot, plus storage/workshop. Beside and behind the garage is a large – and very green – back yard. It’s a wonderful space for summer lounging… or perhaps a pool? 😉

Located just a few blocks from Victoria Park subway station, Robinson Ave is a quiet residential street. There’s a nice parkette (Oakridge Park) just at the bottom of the street, and convenient local shops and businesses all along Danforth Ave. The Massey-Taylor park system is close enough to walk or bike. It’s a great little area!

 

** The action on this great listing was fantastic. We received several offers and sold it in just a couple of days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2017 Market Review

May 8th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

April was another busy month in the Toronto real estate market. New listings finally started to appear (21,630 new listings for the month, up 33.6% over April 2016) giving buyers more choice. Coupled with 11,630 sales for the month (down 3.3% from the 12,016 recorded in April 2016), that allowed available listings to edge up 3% ,to 12,926 by the end of the month.

Price pressure remained in place, though, with the average sale price up 24.5% to $920,791. Note that the average sale price in March was $916,567, meaning prices remained essentially flat month-to-month. So, although we saw another big year-over-year price, this could be a sign that prices are leveling out, which will come as a relief to buyers.

The condo segment in the 416 had an impressive month. Sales volume was up a modest 8%, but prices soared 32.3%, keeping pace with last month’s increase.

The long-awaited increase in the supply of available listings is great news for the market, but it still leaves us far from historical levels. For example, in April, 2007 TREB reported 22,829 available listings, almost double the current level. The average Days on Market (i.e. how long the average listing took to sell) was around 30 days. Last month it was just 9, indicating how short-lived our supply really is. If we are lucky, we’ll get a couple of months of increasing supply, which should bring some balance to the market.

Right now it looks like the price increases are locked in, but it’s important for sellers to note that the market is not the same as it was in Jan-Feb-March. The new supply is taking some of the heat off buyers, meaning they don’t have to put everything on the line for every house that they see. So, while we are still seeing multiple offers on a lot of houses, we won’t get that for every single listing. Marketing – especially pricing – is more important than ever. But, we’ve seen this before; almost every spring, in fact! We make the adjustment, and move on.

The bottom line is that it’s still a great time to sell, and an even better time to buy.

 

 

 

SOLD!! 18 Gwynne Ave – huge detached home in Parkdale

April 18th, 2017 Posted by Blog, SOLD!! No Comment yet

Parkdale has seen some hard times over the years, and the owners of this huge, detached home have witnessed a fair few of them. When they bought back in the early 1980s, the neighbourhood was known for being a bit run down. But, the gorgeous housing stock from the late 1800s-early 1900s, when the area was a wealthy suburb, was there waiting to be brought back to life. A neighbourhood this close to downtown could only go up!

Parkdale is now better known for beautifully restored homes and the rapid growth of Queen West. Most of the condo and townhouse development in the area is east of Dufferin St (e.g. Liberty Village and the old Massey lands); to the west, it’s still mostly Victorian semi-detached and detached, with some Georgian row houses, so it has a classy, old-Toronto feel to it.

Built in around 1880, 18 Gwynne Ave was expanded a couple of times over the years. At some point, it was duplexed, which is still apparent as you walk through the house. The main floor now features a large living/dining room, a huge eat-in kitchen, and a separate family room. The ‘back porch’ isn’t insulated, but at about 14’x14′ it serves many purposes. The custom deck out the back door is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the weather.

The second floor has five bedrooms, although one of them was gutted and roughed-in for a laundry room some time ago. The back bedroom provides access to stairs to the third floor, and a fantastic custom office.

The basement is mostly unfinished, but with painted joists and recessed lighting, it’s a very usable space. Beyond the huge laundry area is a small finished room that was set up as a sewing room. It could be an office, a kids play area or general crafts room.

The front and back yards have been lovingly cultivated over the years. Flowers bloom almost constantly from spring ’til fall! At the back of the lot is a solid, two car, cinderblock garage, accessed via the lane. There’s room to park one more car behind the garage, too.

Queen West amenities are great, and getting better. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance. Walkscore.com gives it a rating of 92 – “walker’s paradise”. (And hey – it’s walking distance to the Gladstone Hotel!) The location also offers quick access downtown via the King or Queen streetcars; if you are going uptown, hop on the bus to Dufferin subway station. Walkscore.com gives it a transit rating of 100 – “rider’s paradise”! Sad to say, driving downtown is sometimes the fastest way to go, but cycling is a reasonable alternative (53 rating – “flat as a pancake”). If you need to get out of town, the Gardiner Expressway is 3 minutes away, which is awesome.

This grande ol’ dame is listed for $1,299,000. It’s a fantastic home with unlimited potential, but it needs work. While the mechanicals are sound and the structure is solid, most buyers will want to do substantial renovations. For the right buyer, a full restoration would be the way to go.

More pictures here….

 

 

March 2017 Market Review

April 10th, 2017 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto real estate market blasted through March, 2017. We saw a decent increase in new listings (17,051, up 15.2%), which we expect this time of year, but sales once again gobbled ’em up. There were 12,077 transactions, an increase of 17.7% over March 2016. By the end of the month, only 7,865 listings were left, 35.2% fewer than the same time last year.

This ongoing supply-demand crunch once again drove prices up. The average sale price (all types) hit $916,567 ($688,011 in March, 2016), up 33.2% year-over-year.

Condos in the 416 continued to surge too, with sales up 29% and the average price up 32%, to $550,299. The average price for a townhouse – which can be a bridge between condo apartments and houses – was up 22%, to $761,128. Clearly, there are options for buyers who can’t (yet) afford a semi or fully detached house in Toronto, and the increasing sales numbers in these segments indicate that more and more buyers are going that route.

The biggest numbers are in the fully detached segment, where the average sale price hit $1,561,780! TREB’s HPI, which takes into account differences among housing types, and tries to smooth out the averages, was up 28.6%, slightly lower than the overall average. Still, these are all hefty increases.

The next few months are going to be interesting. We’ll have to wait and see how many new listings come out for the spring market, and whether or not there will be enough to satisfy demand and take the pressure off prices. Sky-high pricing usually brings sellers to market. Again, the lack of options for sellers – i.e. where will they go after they sell? – remains a problem, but anybody motivated to ‘cash out’ will find a way. This market needs that, so I’m not saying that we’ll see a flood of listings and a subsequent correction. At this point, I’m just hoping for something to help ease that pressure.

I’m a big fan of Toronto real estate as an investment – that’s not going to change – but 33% annual increases are not sustainable. Maybe buyers will back off, and do their part to take control of the market (but don’t ask me where they will live while waiting for the market to cool). Of course, even lower price increases won’t likely go below double digits, and real estate should always be a medium-to-long-term investment, so it’s probably still better to buy sooner than later….

Supply and Demand: factors driving the Toronto Real Estate Market

March 31st, 2017 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

We all know that real estate prices in Toronto have been skyrocketing in recent months. Up 22% in January (year-over-year) and 28% in February, the rate of increase has been well above income increases and inflation. While Toronto remains more affordable than Vancouver, and is still well behind super-expensive cities like San Francisco, Melbourne and London, prices are still hard for most locals to fathom – much less keep up with.

There’s plenty of debate about the causes. I have written before (e.g. here and here) about the supply problem – i.e. there are not enough houses (or condos) for all the buyers out there, so buyers have to fight over the listings and that drives up the price. Lose a few such battles and one starts to get more aggressive – maybe due to experience, or maybe desperation – and the price increases escalate. This has been going on for years. In a low interest rate environment with a reasonably good economy, it should come as no surprise that we are where we are.

What’s influencing prices?

The average sale price in 1989 (the previous ‘peak’) was $273,698 (TREB). According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, that equates to 484,953.97 today. So, when we look at the average selling price today (TREB February, 2017 stats) and see $875,983, it’s important to note that inflation alone accounts for more than a third of the increase (about $211,256). Next, we have to look at other influences.

I’ll start with what seems to be the most overlooked component: renovations. It’s obvious that improving a home through renovations increases its value. Canadians spend billions of dollars every year on renos, and homeowners (or professional renovators) who chose to sell reap the profits of their investment. That said, it’s hard to quantify, isn’t it? Still, we all know how it works, and when we look at price increases, we have to take that into account.

Another obvious influence is migration/immigration. The population of Toronto continues to grow rapidly, and everybody has to live somewhere. Demand for housing from population increase, totally independent of inflation rates or anything else, will put pressure on home prices where land is restricted. By comparison, in sprawling cities like Austin, Tx (one of the fastest growing cities in the US), where it’s easy to expand, we don’t see the same price increases. This is why so many in the housing sector look with frustration at the Green Belt. (For the record, I’m in favour of preserving green spaces. I’m just noting that it’s a factor in our housing market.) So, we have to squeeze more people into a limited space, and that also causes price increases.

Lack of new rental construction has also been a problem for years in Toronto, although the condo boom and small investors renting out some of those condos has somewhat filled the need. Apartment construction in Toronto dropped in the early 90s, and has only started to pick up again in recent years. (In time, that could take some pressure of the re-sale market….) Keep that in mind when you hear another fear-mongering report about ‘investors’ in the Toronto real estate market: they’re not all ‘speculators’.

In fact, it seems that very few are. Numbers are hard to come by, but RE/MAX Hallmark Realty recently looked at our sales over the last three years (about 35,000 of them, so a much bigger sample size than some other ‘studies’ that got wide play recently). By looking for clients who did more than two transactions over that period, we found that only about 12% of our clients might be called ‘investors’. (Taking into account other explanations, like job transfers out of town and divorces, it could be even lower than that.) If close to 90% of buyers are either end-users (they are going to live in the house) or small investors with only one or two properties, then there’s no threat from so-called speculators who might quit the segment en masse and flood the market with properties, which could cause a crash.

Clearly, there are some simple explanations for why the Toronto housing market is so competitive. Still, plenty of people think that we should Do Something about it. Governments are great meddlers these days, and all three levels of government think they have to get involved in the hot Toronto real estate market – but what to do, really? The last time the city government stuck their fingers into the market they gave us the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. Years ago, that was pegged as an early cause of the supply problem in Toronto, as homeowners hunkered down and made renovations (or made do) rather than moved: why pay tens of thousands of dollars *more* in transfer taxes to City Hall? Lots of folks said ‘no thanks’, and that reduced the overall supply.

(For the record, I would rather see City Hall raise annual property taxes, based on the actual sale price plus inflation – NOT based on MPAC assessments. I think it’s fair to assume that a buyer who pays e.g. $850k for a house today has the means to pay property taxes on that house. On the other hand, charging the same tax amount to a senior who paid $30k fifty years ago for a similar house doesn’t seem fair.)

The feds have been playing around the edges of the mortgage market for several years, now. Of course, they knew from the beginning that Canada already had fairly stringent mortgage qualification rules, that our banks were relatively cautious and the mortgage market fairly safe. Also, the buyers  most affected by those rule changes are the first-timers, but I suppose it was easiest to throw that lot under the bus, eh? Honestly, I can’t see how tying the hands of young buyers impacts the million dollar market…. And, obviously, changing mortgage rules haven’t slowed things down.

Now we have talk of the provincial government getting involved. Ugh.

I believe that the bottom line is that we need more homes on the market. Without a steady supply of new listings, we are left with a logjam – almost nobody wants to sell before they buy, because buying is so difficult. What can the government to do help with supply? I’m definitely not going to suggest anything to make it cheaper for builders! They do just fine, and local governments really do need the money from development charges (to upgrade infrastructure to accommodate growth). How about better transit – dare I say a new subway line or two? That’s something that the senior governments could actually help with, and make a real difference. If the subway went farther, and to other parts of the city, the improved transit options would have the effect of adding supply, and it would encourage redevelopment in some areas (e.g. Scarborough). That would take some pressure off central neighbourhoods. Broader transit options that extend beyond Toronto’s borders would also help. TREB has been on about this for some time.

What about a foreign buyer tax? To me, that has a bit of the old “Canada for Canadians” ring to it…. On the other hand, if foreign buyers are treating our housing stock like just another investment, and in a manner that harms Canadians (inflating our market and decreasing our access to it) we have a right to address that. As much as I’m skeptical of government intrusion into markets, this one might help. (Yes, I realize that I’m at odds with TREB and OREA on this.) That would impact the demand side, and in a city growing like Toronto is one can’t say how much of an impact it would have, but if the Vancouver experience is any indication, it could make a difference – but, one that might be filed under Be Careful What You Wish For….

And what conversation is complete without blaming Millennials? Maybe if they could get out on their own, their folks would put the ol’ family homestead on the market and help increase supply! 😉

Without government intrusion, we could see a market that just ‘is what it is’. Builders would build more to meet the demand. Homeowners would sell and cash out, maybe move to a condo or the cottage, or take a work transfer to another city; such things happen all the time. Investors would build more triplexes, or divide up existing houses. Lots of things would happen naturally. What government intrusion into markets does is create uncertainty (“what the hell are they going to do next?”), and that doesn’t help at all. Governments can and should to more about infrastructure, trade and tax reform, and leave real estate markets alone.

That house sold for *whaaat*?!

March 28th, 2017 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

I’ve been a full-time, professional Realtor for almost 15 years, and I have seen lots of interesting influences and changes to the Toronto real estate market. Over almost that entire time, the market has been strong. As far back as 2002 there were people (buyers, the media, maybe even some Realtors) thinking that the run we were on then was due for a break. Well, the market roared along through the early 2000s. Then, the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ caused a dip in late-2008-early-2009, but that only lasted for a few months, and now barely registers as a blip in the charts. (Scroll down to the table TREB Housing Market Charts – TorontoMLS Average Price, Monthly Time Series With Trend Line.) Since then, the market has been charging ahead. Today, we have a reasonably good economy, moderate job creation and continuing low interest rates, which all points to a continuation. It seems like there is no end in sight….

The first few months of 2017 have been remarkable. I’ve never seen price increases like this – I doubt that many Realtors have. I have written before about the years-long supply problem we’ve been having, and it’s worse than ever. That said, the ‘spring market’ usually generates lots of new listings. That’s starting, but isn’t fully going, yet. So, we are still in a super-competitive time.

Current conditions are making it hard to figure out what a house or condo is going to sell for. My job as a Realtor is to chaperone my clients through the buying and/or selling process, including guidance on pricing – i.e. what a property is worth. We look at recent, local sales and compare them to the subject property (number of bedrooms/bathrooms/parking, etc.) to come up with a fair price that works for my client. To be certain, we’ve had competition (i.e. “bidding wars”) for years now, and it has always been winner take all. Still, these days it’s different. With some of the prices we’ve seen recently, either the buyer didn’t get that guidance from their Realtor, or they didn’t care: it’s ‘kill or be killed’ and only one offer is gonna win!

So, if you ask me what your house is going to sell for, or what we should put on the offer for that condo, we’ll go through the comparables, talk about your finances and come up with a reasonable number. But, don’t hold it against me if the final sale price is way more than that! That’s just the market these days. On the buy side, we’ll do our due diligence, craft good offers and make the best presentation we can…. If you don’t get it, we’ll move on to the next good option. On the sell side, it’s probably best to plan your budget based on a price close to some recent comps. Then, we’ll market the property right, and enjoy the process – because no matter what, you’ll do fine. 😉

 

 

February 2017 Market Review

March 14th, 2017 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

Sometimes I feel like I could just copy-paste last month’s review, update a few numbers and be done! The Toronto market has been reliably consistent for years and years: prices go up. Sometimes the supply goes down and sometimes… well, it always seems to be down these days. 🙁

With the consistently strong demand for Toronto real estate, sales volume in February was up 5.7% to 8,014 transactions (7,583 in Feb ’16). There were just 9,834 new listings, down 12.5% (11,234 in Feb ’16). By the end of the month, only 5,400 listings were left on the market. At the end of Feb ’16 there were 10,902; that’s a drop of 50.5%. With supply dropping by half, it’s no wonder that prices continue to surge. The average sale price (for all housing types) leapt 27.7%, to $875,983.

Do you know anybody who is still dumping on the condo market? Tell ’em that sales in the 416 were up 14%, and prices climbed 18.2%. That’s getting up around low-rise rates of increase…. On the bright side, the average condo price for the month was $515,424, far below the average house price.

There are always multiple factors affecting markets – supply and demand, interest rates, land transfer taxes, the job market, foreign buyers, etc. – but the biggest, most obvious challenge these days is supply (which you know I’ve been on about for a while now). There are lots of qualified buyers ‘out there’, and they are fighting like mad to get the home they need in the neighbourhood they want… and sometimes the neighbourhood they didn’t know they wanted until they got priced out of one or two others! I see it every day, and there’s no getting around it. We need more listings, but there’s no easy solution to that.

This city needs more low-rise housing, better transit and improved infrastructure – I know, *news flash*, eh? Fortunately, there are always people who can cash out of the Toronto market and move to another city. There are lots of good reasons to do that, and I happen to know a couple of people who are doing that this year. Stay tuned! 🙂

January 2017 Market Review

February 14th, 2017 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

January marked a tremendous start to the 2017 Toronto real estate market. Sales volume was up 11.8% over January 2016 – which had been up 8.2% over 2015. New listings last month were down 17.6%, to 7,338, while the total number of available listings dropped 49.5%, to just 5,034 by the end of the month. That made for some intense sales pressure. Accordingly, the average selling price was up 22.3%, to $770,745 (for all housing types). That’s on top of the 14.1% price increase recorded last January. Even TREB’s HPI, which tries to smooth out the average by taking into account differences among housing types, increased 21.8%. Last January, that number was up a more moderate 10.7%.

The number of properties on the market last month was less than half what it was just two years ago: in January 2016 TREB reported 9,966 available listings; in 2015 it was 11,600. The bottom line is that the Toronto market continues to be defined by the scarcity of listings. All this while the population continued to grow….

It’s no wonder that the once-maligned condo market has firmed up – it’s doing its best to take up the slack. Condo sales in the 416 surged 26.8% last month (after increasing 11.6% last January), driving the average selling price to $471,409, up by 13.1% year-over-year (up 8.6% last January). Condos (if you can get one…) remain a good purchase, for occupying and/or as an investment.*

Although this example isn’t necessarily typical, it illustrates how dramatic the competition is currently: a house in Scarborough that sold in December and closed in January, just resold (just a couple of weeks later) for $150k more. That’s nuts. With so few houses on the market, the usual battle over homes has intensified, but I’d like to think that things will calm down a bit as the spring market generates more listings. Although we typically see more buyers at this time of year, the current – apparently desperate – mood may subside. One can hope, anyway….

Still, if you have a house to sell, let’s get it on the market ASAP!

*If your primary residence has significantly increased in value since you bought, and you have no intention of moving any time soon, you might want to consider drawing on some of that capital to buy an investment property that will both increase in value, and generate income down the road.

2016 Market Review – and a look ahead at 2017

January 17th, 2017 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

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! 😉

‘Tis the Season

December 20th, 2016 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

It’s funny how as the year ‘winds down’, the season winds up at the same time, eh? December is ridiculously busy – especially in my house, where we have two birthdays to squeeze in amongst all the other action. At work, it’s staff parties; at school, it’s various performances; and then it’s the fun with family and friends!

Usually, real estate slows down a bit – yes, even in Toronto! – and that seems to be happening. It manifests as an even more acute shortage of listings, and will probably get worse during the last half of December, when some listings get taken off the market (many are likely to be re-listed in the New Year). Of course, while we may not see many new listings, a lot of existing listings will remain available (although sometimes with limited hours). If you are looking to make a purchase, don’t stop now: this might be your chance to negotiate a good deal….