House sales up 21 per cent in mid-October, but demand for downtown rentals also surges. Housing sales remain strong across the GTA — and so does the unrelenting demand for rental condos — halfway through the month of October, according to figures released Wednesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board.
House sales were up 21 per cent mid-month compared to the same period in 2012. That’s some 13 per cent higher than the 10-year average for sales in October, TREB noted.
“It seems clear that we have more than recovered from the temporary dip in residential transactions that resulted from the onset of stricter mortgage lending guidelines,” in July of 2012, said TREB president Dianne Usher in a statement.
The average sale price was up 7.3 per cent, with the average transaction price coming in at $536,301 as of mid-October, in large part because high demand for low-rise houses continues to outstripped the supply listed for sale, says TREB.
Usher blamed the tougher lending rules imposed by Ottawa last July and Toronto’s land transfer tax, which has made the cost of moving expensive enough that TREB believes it’s discouraging many homeowners from moving up and listing their homes.
Realtors are finding that many Toronto homeowners are opting to spend the money they would fork out on real estate fees and the double land-transfer tax on renovations instead. That’s happening at the same time as demand for city homes, within reach of transit and an easy commute to work, has increased.
The tighter mortgage rules, and the continued escalation of house prices despite the best efforts of Ottawa to cool Toronto’s housing market, is playing out in another way, according to TREB figures also released Wednesday.
The number of condos rented through the MLS system in the first three quarters of 2013 was up 25 per cent compared to the same end-of-September period in 2012.
And demand remains so fierce for condo leasing that rents continue to escalate, despite a 21 per cent increase in the number of units listed for rent during the first three quarters of 2013 over the same period a year ago.
One-bedroom suites rented through the MLS system were up almost 30 per cent as of the end of September, and rents escalated 1.8 per cent to an average of $1,633, reports TREB.
Two-bedroom demand was up 20 per cent and rents up 3.6 per cent, to an average of $2,173 a month at the end of September.
The demand for three-bedroom units remained soft, with rentals up just 3.6 per cent and rents actually down almost two per cent, to an average of $2,610 per month as of Q3 2013.
Some 80 per cent of the rentals were in the City of Toronto.