The Toronto and area residential resale market picked up where 2016 ended. In fact it accelerated the pace of sales we witnessed in December. This is unusual behavior for the market in January, usually a slow month, as buyers and sellers kick out the holiday season cobwebs. But these are unusual times, very unusual times.


The shortage of available supply is causing buyers to hunt for properties for sale, even at the very beginning of the year. In January there were 5,188 reported sales, almost 12 percent higher than the 4,640 reported sales in January of 2016. January’s sales figures would have been higher if there were more active listings available to buyers. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that in the City of Toronto there was a decline in the number of detached and semi-detached properties sold, while at the same time average sale prices increased by almost 27 percent for detached properties and more than 26 percent for semi-detached properties.
The other interesting piece of data that emerges from January’s results is the speed at which properties were listing for sale and then reported sold. In January all properties listed for sale (on average) sold in just 19 days. The number, when compared to January 2016, is startling. Last year it took 29 days for all properties to be reported sold, a speed-up in sales of almost 35 percent. It must not be forgotten that 2016 was a record breaking year in all categories, including days on market.
It is no surprise that with a listing shortage, fast sales, and a certain buying fervor that the average sale price for all homes sold in the greater Toronto area increased sharply in January. The average price for a home in the greater Toronto area was $770,745. That is not a record, but it was close. The record is $777,031 achieved in November of last year. Last January the average sale price was only $630,193, a dramatic increase of more than 22 percent. That increase included condominium apartment sales. Excluding condominium apartments the average price of a detached home is $1,336,640, and $902,688 for a semi-detached property, eye-popping increases of 26.8 and 26.4 percent from last year.
In Toronto’s central core the numbers are even higher. A detached house in the central core will now cost a buyer $2,324,593, with semi-detached properties now trading for $1,169,123, if you can find one. Only 33 semi-detached properties sold, again speaking to the shortage of supply, and they sold in only 13 days. Other trading areas in Toronto produced similar or even more shocking results. For example, all detached properties in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood (there were only 6 of them) were placed on the market and reported sold in only 2 days! And at 114 percent of their asking price. These are unprecedented market performances.
The decline in the number of available condominium apartments for sale is also becoming troubling, especially since the bulk of all reported sales in Toronto in January were condominium apartments. In January the combined total of detached and semi-detached properties sold was a mere 584. By contrast there were 1,125 condominium apartment sales, an increase of almost 27 percent compared to last year. At the end of January there were only 1,387 active condominium apartment listings. Last year there were 3,231 condominium apartment listings, a shocking decline of 57 percent. We have reached the stage where there is just over one month of inventory of condominium apartments, and we are only in February. It appears that the last source of abundant housing, like detached and semi-detached properties, has dried up. It is not surprising that the average sale price of a condominium apartment jumped by more than 13 percent in January.
Inventory levels will dictate how the market unfolds for the remainder of 2017. At the beginning of February there were only 1.1 months of inventory in the greater Toronto area, and 1.3 months of inventory in the City of Toronto. The 1.3 months of inventory translates to only 2,230 properties available for sale. The market is far removed from a balanced market. We would need three times the current number of listings on the market to begin approaching a balanced market.
The market is clearly heading towards a state of paralysis. Sellers are holding o putting their properties on the market unless forced to, because there are few alternatives for them in the market place. The supply shortage continues to drive up prices – the average sale price in January was $770,000 – eventually taking them to unsustainable levels. Unless there is a change in the supply side, we could see the 2016 Vancouver pattern develop in the greater Toronto area.
Even without government intervention prices reached such exhibitant levels in Vancouver that by the middle of the 2016 sales began to decline. The decline was accelerated, of course, by the 15 percent foreign investor tax that was implemented in the fall. By year-end the average sale price of houses sold in the greater Vancouver area dropped by 6.6 percent compared to a year ago and sales tumbled by almost 40 percent. The average price for detached properties sold in the region tumbled to $1.5 Million last month, a 17.8 percent decline from the record high of $1.83 Million in January of 2016. The average price for a detached house in Toronto in January was $1,336,640, and $1,068,670 in the greater Toronto area.
Prepared by:Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker 


The year is coming to an end, but there is no slowing down the Toronto resale market. The record for most sales in the greater Toronto area in any year has already been shattered, and there is still the month of December. The 8,547 sales reported in November took the total year-to-date sales to 107,840, breaking the previous annual record of 101,212 achieved only last year. In all likelihood there should be about 5000 (or slightly more) sales in December. That will bring the year-end total to approximately 113,000 reported residential resales, a truly remarkable feat. Ten years ago, there were only 83,084 reported sales in the greater Toronto area.


This record speaks to the two prominent characteristics of the greater Toronto area market. Firstly, the deep seated desire for home ownership, and secondly, the rapidly growing population of the area. With approximately 100,000 people immigrating to the Toronto area annually it is very unlikely that much will change in 2017, subject of course to any dramatic increase in mortgage interest rates.
Total annual sales was not the only new record set in November. The average sale price for all sales in the greater Toronto area came in at $776,684. The previous monthly record was set in October at $762,525. It should be noted that monthly average sale price records being set so late in the year is an anomaly. Historically the market reaches its monthly peak in May or June, and thereafter average monthly sale prices begin to decline. For example in May of last year the average sale price came in at $649,648. That was a record. No month following last May came close to eclipsing that record. A new record wasn’t set until February of this year with an average sale price of $685,738. February’s record has been shattered six times since then, the most recent record being achieved in November. Early data indicates that the Toronto and area marketplace might even establish a new record in December, until recently an unthinkable occurrence.
A third record establish in November was the average days on market that it took properties to sell in the greater Toronto area. It took only 17 days for all properties (on average) to sell. By comparison it took 26 days last year, an accelerated pace of almost 35 percent. In the City of Toronto it took only 15 days for detached homes to sell, and only 11 days for semi-detached properties to be snapped up by buyers.
The average sale price for detached properties in the City of Toronto is now $1,345,962, and for a semi-detached house you must be prepared to pay $906,353. It must be unthinkable to be a buyer who for whatever reason was going to buy a year ago and then did not proceed. That mythical buyer could have bought that same detached house for just over $1,000,000, and that same semi-detached house for approximately $840,000 last year. The percentage change year-over-year is 32 and 20 percent respectively.
As has been set out in previous market reports, the only affordable housing options for buyers are condominium apartments, but even this housing form is becoming pricey. In November the average sale price for condominium apartments in the central core of the city, where most condominiums are located, came at $526,116. This represents a 13 per cent increase compared to the average price last year. The volume of condominium apartment sales has also increased dramatically. Sales were up by almost 28 percent compared to last year. What is becoming worrisome is the rapidly declining volume of available listings of condominiums apartments. At month end in the City of Toronto there were only 2,002 condominium apartments for sale. When one considers that there were 1,718 condominium apartment sales in the same month, you don’t need to know any form of high mathematics to concluded that we will be out of stock of condominium apartments for sale if this pace of sales continues and it no doubt will, considering that condominium apartments are still (comparatively) affordable. It should be noted that at the other end of the condominium apartment spectrum, 14 condominium apartments sold in November having a sale price that exceeded $2 Million.
The supply shortage is not restricted to condominium apartments, but is impacting the overall marketplace. In November the total number of active listings available to buyers was almost 36 percent less than last year at this time. In actual numbers this amounts to only 8,639 properties, or only 1.2 months of inventory. This will be a hot point affecting the residential resale market in the early months of 2017.
Prepared by:Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker 

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