We have some good news for sellers and less good news for buyers–the Toronto and GTA real estate market is going strong (meaning home prices are up a little on a year-over-year basis).
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently announced that GTA realtors reported 6,455 sales through TREB’s MLS system in September 2018 – up 1.9 per cent compared to September 2017.
TREB says the average selling price was up by 2.9 per cent over the same period to $796,786.
The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price was up by two per cent year-over-year.
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While there are less new listings for buyers to peruse (only 15,920 listings were entered into MLS in September, marking a 3.1 per cent decline from Sept. 2017), sales are up year-over-year. That means that the market is a little bit tighter, as buyers are dealing with limited inventory.
“It is healthy to see sales and prices in many areas across the Greater Toronto Area up a bit, compared to last year’s lows,” says Garry Bhaura, TREB president.
“While higher borrowing costs and tougher mortgage qualification rules have kept sales levels off the record pace set in 2016, many households remain positive about home ownership as a quality long-term investment. As the GTA population continues to grow, the real challenge in the housing market will be supply rather than demand. The Toronto Real Estate Board is especially concerned with issues affecting housing supply as we move towards municipal elections across the region.”
Month-over-month, sales are up and prices are a little lower.
TREB says sales edged up by 0.2 per cent in September 2018 compared to August 2018. The average selling price edged lower by 0.5 per cent month-over-month.
“Generally speaking, annual rates of price growth have been stronger for higher density home types in 2018, including condominium apartments, townhouses and semi-detached houses,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.
“In many neighbourhoods, these home types provide more affordable home ownership options. This is why a policy focus on increasing mid-density housing options throughout the GTA is important.”
As far as Halton goes, the market is stable.
“September ushered in good news for current homeowners, as home prices stayed stable year over year; while the Halton and Brampton regions have seen values remain relatively flat, Mississauga prices posted an impressive 9.5-per-cent improvement,” Penelope Graham, managing editor, Zoocasa, wrote in an email to insauga.com
“Overall year-over-year sales have improved, though clocked in slightly lower than August activity. Combined with an increase in new listings, slower short-term activity has softened these markets into balanced territory from the competitive sellers’ conditions recorded for the same time period last month.”
Zoocasa says sales are up a robust 10 per cent from 2017, in Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills) with a total of 636 homes changing hands, marking a 12.5-per-cent dip from last month.
Zoocasa says sellers are clearly gearing back up, with 1,513 new listings coming to market – a 38-per-cent increase that’s pulled buying conditions to balanced from last month’s sellers’ market. Prices have remained flat both month over month and year over year, increasing 0.35 and 0.12 per cents, respectively, to an average of $854,594.In terms of numbers specific to the entire GTA, a detached house in the 905 currently costs about $905,722 (down from $917,387 in August). A semi costs about $661,907 (a little up from last month’s average price of $658,160), towns are selling for $600,947 (a little down from $605,768) and condos are costing buyers about $455,686 (up from $447,957 in August).
As expected, sales and prices vary by home type.
In a recent blog post, Zoocasa points out that detached homes had a fairly soft September throughout the GTA, with sales up a mere 2.7 per cent with 2,829 exchanging hands. Activity rose 4.6 per cent within the 416 to 665 homes, and 2.1 per cent to 2,164 within the 905.
Prices fell slightly, down 0.6 per cent to an average of $1,008,361 throughout the total TREB region, down 1.4 per cent to $1,342,363 in the 416, and down 0.6 per cent to $905,722 within the 905 communities.
Semi-detached houses also saw a slight uptick in sales but had the price improvement to match, with activity up 0.4 per cent to 255 in the 416, 4.2 per cent to 398 in the 905 regions, and 2.7 per cent to 653 in the total TREB area.
Zoocasa says prices rose 6.3 per cent in the 416 to an average of $995,951, 5 per cent to $661,907 in the 905, and 5.3 per cent to $792,353 in total TREB region.
Toronto townhouses experienced the greatest improvement, with sales up a whopping 10.6 per cent in the city of Toronto – though this is due to relatively lower inventory at 251 units, which can more dramatically swing sales trends.
In our neck of the woods, Zoocasa says the 905 saw an uptick of 7.9 per cent to 823, while the total TREB region improved 8.5 per cent to 1,074. Prices rose 8.2 per cent to $743,721 in the City of Toronto, 2.5 per cent to $600,947 in the 905, and 4.1 per cent to an average of $634,314 total.
Condo sales were modest in September, but prices continue to rise.
Zoocasa says sales fell 5.5 per cent in the 416 to 1,282 units, though numbers rose 3 per cent throughout the 905 to 509, resulting in a 3.2 decline to 1,791 throughout the total region. The average price for a condo unit now fetches $615,582 – an 11.7-per-cent increase – $455,688 in the 905 (6.4 per cent), and $570,140 throughout the total TREB region, and improvement of 10 per cent.
TREB says housing issues will be important considerations going into this month’s municipal elections.
“With a municipal election just a few weeks away, TREB is continuing to highlight key housing issues for the public to consider when voting and is providing an opportunity for voters to easily communicate about these issues with election candidates through a dedicated website,” TREB says.
TREB also hosted an election forum for TREB Members with Toronto mayoral candidates John Tory and Jennifer Keesmat on Oct. 3, 2018.