Tuesday, August 13, 2019

GTA condo apartment sales up 3.2% in the second quarter

The market for condo apartments remained strong in the Greater Toronto Area in the second quarter.

Greater Toronto Realtors reported 7,038 sales of condo apartments through the Toronto Real Estate Board’s MLS in the three months, up 3.2% compared to a year earlier.

New listings for the sector were down 3.5% year-over-year to 11,110; and the average price gained 5.1% to $589,887, although in the City of Toronto (70% of transactions) the gain was  5.9% to $639,316.

“As has generally been the case in the region since the implementation of the Ontario Government’s Fair Housing Plan in 2017, the condo market segment has remained tight in comparison to other major housing types. However, from a price point perspective, condo apartments continue to offer prospective buyers a relatively affordable housing option when looking across the GTA,” said TREB president Michael Collins.

Rental market also tight

In the rental market, average rents for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments increased above the rate of inflation on a year-over-year basis in Q2 2019 as the market remained tight.

“However, we have seen an acceleration in the number of units listed for rent, which has provided renters with more choice in the market place and has coincided with a slower pace of average rent growth over the past year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

TREB Releases July Market Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Michael Collins announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,595 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in July 2019. This result was up by 24.3 per cent compared to July 2018. On a month-over-month basis, sales were up by 5.1 per cent, after preliminary seasonal adjustment.

New listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System in July 2019 were up compared to July 2018, but by a much lesser annual rate than sales, at 3.7 per cent. With annual growth in sales far outstripping annual growth in new listings, market conditions clearly tightened compared to last year.  Active listings at the end of July were down by 9.1 per cent year-over-year, further reflecting tightening market conditions.

“While the OSFI mortgage stress test has clearly had an impact on the number of home sales over the last year-and-a-half, for most GTA residents the goal of home ownership has not diminished.  In fact, we’re seeing growing pent-up demand for ownership housing, especially as the number of GTA households continues to increase by 40,000 to 50,000 each year due to strong population growth.  As more and more households come to terms with the stress test and move back into the market in the coming months and years, they could suffer from a chronically under-supplied marketplace and an acceleration of home price growth to unsustainable levels. Fortunately, policy makers have acknowledged the housing supply issue and are working toward solutions,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.

“On the housing supply issue, it has certainly been encouraging to see both the City of Toronto and the Ontario Government working on solutions to bring more supply on-line.  Based on Mayor John Tory’s motion, Toronto City Council gave City staff a strong mandate to report back on how to develop a greater diversity of housing options in traditional single-family neighbourhoods, including timelines.  Similarly, we’ve seen the Provincial Government launch consultations to spur on, and speed up, the development of different forms of housing in conjunction with their ‘More Homes, More Choice’Plan. TREB looks forward to working with the City and the Province to turn their initiatives into reality,” said TREB President Michael Collins.

As market conditions continued to tighten in July, the average selling price increased by 3.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis to $806,755.  The MLS® Home Price Index Composite benchmark was up by 4.4 per cent.  Higher density home types continued to drive price growth, whereas detached home prices remained down in many communities throughout the GTA.

“Broadly speaking, increased competition between buyers for available properties has resulted in relatively strong price growth above the rate of inflation for semi-detached houses, townhouses and condominium apartments.  However, the single-detached market segment, which has arguably been impacted most by the OSFI stress test, has experienced a slower pace of price growth, with average detached prices remaining lower than last year’s levels in some parts of the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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New GTA home sales jumped 94% in May compared to a year earlier

There was strong activity in the Greater Toronto Area’s new homes market in May.

Figures from the Altus Group, the official data source of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) show 4,794 new homes were sold in the month, up 94% from a year earlier and 27% above the 10-year average.

“It was the highest number of total new home sales for May since 2002,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s Executive Vice President, Data Solutions. “New condo apartment sales were brisk among the near-record number of units launched in April. At the same time, new single-family home sales broke the 1,000-unit threshold for the first time in two years.”

There was a seventh month of year-over-year increases for new single-family homes, including detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses, with 1,004 sales, up 211% from last May but still 32% below the ten-year average.

Sales of new condominium apartments in low, medium, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 3,790 units sold, were up 76% from May 2018 and 64% above the ten-year average.

“The sales numbers of the last few months show that the underlying demand for new homes, both condo apartments and single-family homes, was there all along,” said David Wilkes, BILD President & CEO. “Our challenge as a region is to continue to develop innovative policy solutions that will allow us to build enough housing supply to meet that demand.”

Price gains for apartments

The benchmark price of new condominium apartments increased slightly from last month, to $779,687, up 2.8% over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price of new single-family homes decreased slightly from last month, to $1,109,501, down 3% over the last 12 months.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

GTA REALTORS® Release June 2019 Stats

The new President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Michael Collins, announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,860 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in June 2019, representing a 10.4 per cent increase compared to June 2018. Over the same time period, total new listings remained at a similar level for the month of June and active listings at month-end were down by 5.7 per cent.

Sales and new listings statistics for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 painted a similar story to that of June. Sales were up by 8.5 per cent, while new listings were up by less than one per cent. This shows that sales accounted for a greater share of listings compared to last year, which means that competition between buyers increased, resulting in renewed price growth in many segments of the market.

“As I start my term as President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, I am proud to say that the Greater Toronto Area continues to grow, in terms of employment, population and overall diversity. As people are attracted to our region from all around the world, they obviously need a place to live. Over the next year, as demand for ownership and rental housing continues to grow, my hope is that we will see more movement from policy makers on two fronts: alleviating the constrained supply of housing and providing more flexibility around demand-side policies, including the OSFI two percentage point mortgage stress test and allowable amortization periods on insured mortgages,” said Mr. Collins.

The overall average selling price in June 2019 was $832,703 – up by three per cent compared to the average of $808,066 in June 2018. Price growth was driven by the higher density market segments, including semi-detached houses, townhouses and condominium apartments. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by a similar annual rate of 3.6 per cent. For the first half of 2019, the average selling price was $810,661, representing an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the first half of 2018.

“Buyers started moving off the sidelines in the spring, as evidenced by strong year-over-year price growth throughout the second quarter. However, because we saw virtually no change in the number of new listings, market conditions tightened and price growth picked up, especially for more higher density home types, which, on average, are less-expensive than traditional detached houses and therefore provide more affordable housing options under the new OSFI stress test regime,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

“While some home buyers may have adjusted to the OSFI stress test by looking to more affordable housing options, this could present an issue over the longer term because we aren’t adding a meaningful amount of new mid-density housing supply to bridge the gap between condominium apartments and detached houses. Finding ways to add more mid-density housing types to existing neighbourhoods and new developments needs to be a key component of municipal, provincial and federal housing plans and policies moving forward,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Toronto's apartment market remains tight, prices climbing

The condo apartment market in the Greater Toronto Area remains tight with prices facing upward pressure.

The Toronto Real Estate Board says that GTA Realtors reported 4,731 condo sales through the MLS in the first quarter of 2019, down 6.1% compared to the same period of 2018.

Listings saw a 2.4% rise year-over-year, adding 8,222 to inventory.

“While we experienced a slightly better-supplied condo market in the first quarter of 2019, the market segment remained tight enough to retain the highest year-over-year rate of price growth compared to other major home types,” said TREB president Garry Bhaura. “Condos continue to provide prospective buyers with a relatively affordable housing option in the GTA, especially given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test.”

The average price of a condominium apartment increased by 4.5% from $533,520 in Q1 2018 to $557,377 in Q1 2019.

Year-over-year price growth in the City of Toronto, which accounted for 69 per cent of transactions, was slightly higher at 5.4% resulting in an average price of $603,243.

The slight increase in condo apartment listings could be reversed in Q2 with CMHC stats showing a rise in new condo completions at the end of 2018 but a fall in Q1 2019.

Sales could therefore be lower in Q2 and the tight rental apartments market will see further rent hikes.

“The condominium apartment rental market remained very tight through the first three months of 2019. Average one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents were up well-above the rate of inflation on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter. However, the condo rental market also benefitted from an increase in the number of units listed, resulting in more choice for prospective renters. With this said, we would need to see a number of quarters with listings growth outstripping rental transaction growth in order for the market to become more balanced,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

GTA REALTORS® Release April 2019 Stats

Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported a substantial year-over-year increase in home sales in April 2019. The number of residential transactions jumped by 16.8 per cent to 9,042 compared to 7,744 in April 2018. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up 11.3 per cent compared to March 2019.

New listings were also up year-over-year by eight per cent. However, the annual growth rate for new listings was much lower than that reported for sales. This suggests that market conditions continued to tighten which points toward an acceleration in price growth.

“The strong year-over-year growth in sales is obviously a good news story and likely represents some catch-up from a slow start to the year. TREB’s sales outlook for 2019 anticipates an increase relative to 2018. It should be noted, however, that growth in new listings is not keeping pace with sales. This points to the ongoing housing supply issue in the GTA. In this regard TREB welcomes the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan announced last week to reduce red tape and improve the mix of housing types. TREB provided input on the Plan through submissions and participation on working groups,” said Mr. Bhaura.

The year-over-year rate of price growth generally edged up in April relative to the first three months of the year. The MLS® HPI Composite benchmark was up by 3.2 per cent – the highest rate of growth in more than a year. The average selling price was up by 1.9 per cent to $820,148, representing the strongest annual rate of growth so far in 2019. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was also up by 1.1 per cent compared to March 2019.

Price growth continued to be driven by the condominium apartment segment and higher-density low-rise segments. The average price for detached houses dipped year-over-year, specifically in regions surrounding the City of Toronto. The detached market segment, with the highest price point on average, has arguably been hardest hit by measures such as the OSFI stress test.

“While sales were up year-over-year in April, it is important to note that they remain well-below April levels for much of the past decade. Many potential home buyers arguably remain on the sidelines as they reassess their options in light of the OSFI-mandated two percentage point stress test on mortgages. Longer term borrowing costs have trended lower this year and the outlook for short-term rates, for which the Bank of Canada holds the lever, is flat to down this year. Unfortunately, against this backdrop, we have seen no movement toward flexibility in the OSFI stress test,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Tight market conditions in the condominium apartment rental market remain in place. Year-to-date (January 2019 through April 2019) condominium rental transactions for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments were up by 10.2 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively compared to the same period in 2018. Average year-to-date rents for one- bedroom apartments were up by 7.3 per cent on an annual basis to $2,150. Over the same period, two-bedroom apartment rents were up by 4.1 per cent to $2,815.

“The supply of ownership and rental housing is of paramount importance to the GTA, from the perspective of affordability and economic competitiveness of the region, insofar as talented people are more likely to move to the region if they can easily find housing that meets their needs within their budgets. With this in mind, it is also important to think about housing supply through the lens of public transportation. TREB has been highlighting the important links between housing and transportation for a number of years, including through research conducted for TREB by CANCEA and the Pembina Institute dealing with transportation infrastructure’s impact on affordability and transit supportive development respectively. TREB will continue research in these areas moving forward,” said TREB CEO, John DiMichele.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

GTA sees new home sales begin on a good note this year

Amid a marked slowdown in nationwide activity recently, the Greater Toronto Area has actually experienced a considerable year-over-year increase in new home sales, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association.

Citing data from Altus Group, BILD announced recently that GTA new home sales volume increased by 14% annually in January, reaching 1,362 transactions.

A deviation from this trend was the single-family segment, which saw its sales settle at levels 53% lower than the 10-year average for this asset class. New condo apartments comprised a notable portion of last month’s activity, with sales being only 5% lower than the 10-year average.

Despite the road bumps, BILD president and CEO David Wilkes deemed the January numbers as a welcome change.

“It looks like the market is starting to return to typical levels after a particularly difficult year,” Wilkes said. “With the spring budget coming up, we are calling on the federal government to take steps to make it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the housing market.”

“The improvement in new home sales over last January is consistent with our outlook for somewhat higher annual sales in the GTA this year, following the drop in 2018.” Altus Group executive vice president of data solutions Patricia Arsenault added.

Healthy sales made their mark in the region’s remaining inventory, which includes preconstruction projects, units currently under construction, and completed buildings. Supply went down to 15,530 units comprised of 10,364 condo apartment units and 5,166 single-family homes.

As for price levels, single-family homes saw their benchmark value shrink by 8.1% year-over-year in January, down to $1,130,046. On the other hand, the average price of a GTA condo apartment unit grew by 12.5% during the same period, up to $803,638.

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