Saturday, March 10, 2018

Most Buyers Won't Delay Despite Rate Rises

The recent increases in interest rates appear not to have dampened the intentions of most Canadian home buyers.

Just 1 in 4 surveyed for CMHC’s 2018 Prospective Home Buyer Survey said that an interest rate would make them very likely to delay purchasing a new home.

However, the tight inventory in some markets is likely to delay home purchase with more than 40% saying they would wait to find the ideal home and a similar share willing to compromise on the size and location.

All groups of prospective buyers would prefer a move-in-ready home or a newly built one.

While many are not put off, the tighter mortgage regulations and interest rate rises were not a top motivator for their purchase; most respondents cited better accessibility and investment as their top motivators.

“The Survey findings provide insights and valuable information for mortgage professionals about their future clients and their needs,” said Nathalie Fredette, Vice-President, Client Relationship Management. “It brings awareness amongst the industry and contributes to financial literacy by helping Canadians make informed and responsible home buying decisions.”

Most respondents will finance their home purchase with a mortgage – especially first-time buyers – with a downpayment saved 1 to 2 years before purchase. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Capacity Issues Revealed in GTA Condo Report

Condo developers in Toronto are under extreme pressure to deliver more units as demand continues to escalate.

An assessment of the market from Urbanation reveals that 35,074 new condos were sold across the GTA in 2017, rising sharply from the 26,893 sold in 2016.

Absorption hit record highs (84% of units launched were sold by year-end) and demand from investors escalated even as prices jumped 33% year-over-year to $876 per sq ft in Q4.

Unsold inventory was down to below 8,000 – it hasn’t been that low since 1999 – but completions dropped to a five-year low of 13,513 units in 2017, with only 62% of units that were scheduled for delivery last year reaching occupancy.

“While the results for 2017 prove how remarkably strong demand can be for GTA condos, the level of activity underway is putting the industry under tremendous pressure to push the units through the development cycle”, said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s Senior Vice President. “A more sustainable pace of roughly 26,000 sales is likely in store for 2018.”

Urbanation’s calculations show that speculation dropped in 2017 from 4% of units bought and sold within 12 months in 2016, to 2.9% by the end of 2017.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Monthly Market Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,019 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS® System in January 2018. This result was down by 22 per cent compared to a record 5,155 sales reported in January 2017.

The number of new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System amounted to 8,585 – a 17.4 per cent increase compared to 7,314 new listings entered in January 2017. However, it is important to note that the level of new listings was the second lowest for the month of January in the past 10 years.

“TREB released its outlook for 2018 on January 30th. The outlook pointed to a slower start to 2018, especially compared to the record-setting pace experienced a year ago. As we move through the year, expect the pace of home sales to pick up, as the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan starts to wane and home buyers find their footing relative to the new OSFI-mandated stress test for mortgage approvals through federally regulated lenders,” said Mr. Syrianos.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 5.2 per cent year-over-year. This annual rate of growth was driven by the condominium apartment market segment, with double-digit annual growth versus the single-family segment, with prices essentially flat compared to last year. The overall average selling price was down by 4.1 per cent year-over-year to $736,783. This decline was weighted toward the detached segment of the market. In the City of Toronto, the average selling price was up for all home types except for detached houses.

“It is not surprising that home prices in some market segments were flat to down in January compared to last year. At this time last year, we were in the midst of a housing price spike driven by exceptionally low inventory in the marketplace. It is likely that market conditions will support a return to positive price growth for many home types in the second half of 2018. The condominium apartment segment will be the driver of this price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

“With the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee meeting today to make recommendations on the City’s 2018 Budget, City Councillors would be wise to note the vast difference between last January’s real estate market and this January’s, given the City’s inadvisable reliance on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. The amount of revenue that the City generates from this tax goes up and down with the real estate market. The last year should be a wake-up call for City Council. They should heed the City Manager’s ongoing warnings of over-reliance on this tax. The Land Transfer Tax is not a good way to fund municipal services,” said Syrianos.

The revenue generated by the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is based on the number of real estate transactions and the value of those transactions. When the MLTT was first implemented in 2008, it made up less than 2% of the City’s operating budget. Today, it makes up 7%, a 250% increase.

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