Tan•gazine October – November 2018 Vol 05 Issue 11

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures For August 2018

TORONTO, September 6, 2018 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura announced sales and price increases on a year-over-year basis in August.  Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,839 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in August 2018 – an 8.5 per cent increase compared to August 2017.

Both the average selling price, at $765,270, and the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark for August 2018 were up compared to the same month in 2017, by 4.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.  The average selling price increased by more than theMLS® HPI Composite due, at least in part, to a change in the mix of sales compared to last year.  Detached home sales were up by double digits on a year-over-year percentage basis – substantially more than many other less-expensive home types.

“It is encouraging to see a continued resurgence in the demand for ownership housing.  Many home buyers who had initially moved to the sidelines due to the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and new mortgage lending guidelines have renewed their search for a home and are getting deals done much more so than last year.  In a region where the economy remains strong and the population continues to grow, ownership housing remains a solid long-term investment,” said Mr. Bhaura.

Month-over-month sales and price growth also continued in August.  On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, August 2018 sales were up by two per cent compared to July 2018.  The seasonally adjusted August 2018 average selling price was down slightly by 0.2 per cent compared to July 2018, following strong monthly increases in May, June and July.

“Market conditions in the summer of 2018, including this past August, were tighter than what was experienced in the summer of 2017.  In August, the annual rate of sales growth outpaced the annual rate of new listings growth.  We only have slightly more than two-and-a-half months of inventory in the TREB market area as a whole and less than two months of inventory in the City of Toronto.  This means that despite the fact the sales remain off the record highs from 2016 and 2017, many GTA neighbourhoods continue to suffer from a lack of inventory.  This could present a problem if demand continues to accelerate over the next year, which is expected,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures For June 2018

TORONTO, July 5, 2018 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura, in his first market release as TREB President, is pleased to announce some positive signs with respect to the housing market.

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,082 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System in June 2018 – up 2.4 per cent compared to the low June 2017 result.  After preliminary seasonal adjustment, sales were also up 17.6 per cent on a monthly basis between May 2018 and June 2018, continuing the trend of somewhat volatile month-over-month changes over the past year as home buyers reacted to various policy changes impacting the market.

“Home ownership has proven to be a positive long-term investment.  After some adjustment to the Fair Housing Plan, the new Office of The Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) stress test requirement and generally higher borrowing costs, home buyers are starting to move back into the market, with sales trending up from last year’s lows.  Market conditions appear to be tightening, with sales accounting for a greater share of listings, as new listings have dropped compared to last year,” said Mr. Bhaura.

The average selling price edged up by two per cent on a year-over-year basis to $807,871 in June 2018.  After preliminary seasonal adjustment, the average selling price was also up by 3.3 per cent month-over-month between May 2018 and June 2018.  The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was down by 4.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis, but remained basically flat month-over-month.  The difference in the year-over-year rates of change between the average price and the MLS® HPI was likely due, at least in part, to a change in the mix of properties sold in June 2018 compared to June 2017, with low-rise home types accounting for a greater share of sales in June 2018.

“The expectation is to see improvement in sales over the next year.  Over the same period, however, it is likely that issues surrounding the supply of listings will persist.  This suggests that competition between buyers could increase, exerting increased upward pressure on home prices.  With a new provincial government in place and municipal elections on the horizon, housing supply should be top-of-mind for policy makers,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels.

Housing Issues Important to Voters

With a new provincial government at Queen’s Park and municipal election campaigns underway, Toronto REALTORS® are continuing to speak out for home buyers, sellers, and renters.

“We look forward to working with all returning and newly elected MPPs, and speaking out during the municipal election campaign, to ensure that home ownership and housing affordability issues are a top priority for elected officials. In this regard, one of the most important issues is ensuring that no new municipal land transfer taxes are imposed on home buyers. We hope the new provincial government and municipal election candidates will represent the views of the people on this issue, which are clear: they oppose land transfer taxes because they are a barrier to home ownership and discourage individuals and families from ‘right-sizing’, further constraining the supply of homes available for purchase”, said Mr. Bhaura.

A poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, by on-line survey of 1200 GTA residents (500 in the ‘416’ area code and 700 in the ‘905’ area code) between May 18 and May 22, 2018, found:

  • 77% support reducing the provincial land transfer tax and 68% support repealing the provincial land transfer tax
  • 76% support reducing the Toronto municipal land transfer tax and 69% support repealing the Toronto municipal land transfer tax

“We look forward to working with the provincial and Greater Toronto Area municipal governments on effective ways to address housing affordability, namely increasing housing supply, especially ‘missing middle’ housing options (home types that bridge the gap between detached houses and condominium apartments), and reducing tax burdens like land transfer taxes,” added Mr. Bhaura.

The Stabilization of Home Prices Confirmed In May

In May the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price IndexTM  was up 1.0% from the previous month. This confirms the index stabilization following the downward trend that prevailed over the second half of 2017. The last monthly gain is one tick less than the May average of 1.1% over the 20 years of index history. The monthly advance was led by the metropolitan markets of Victoria (1.8%), Ottawa-Gatineau (1.7%), Toronto (1.3%), Winnipeg (1.3%) and Vancouver (1.0%). The rise of the Toronto index matched its historical average for May. The rise of the Ottawa-Gatineau index was not enough to make up its cumulative decline over the previous four months. There were smaller monthly advances in the indexes for Edmonton (0.7%), Quebec City (0.6%), Hamilton (0.4%), Calgary (0.4%) and Montreal (0.3%). The index for Halifax was flat.

In Toronto the condo resale market remains tight.[1] In May the condo subindex was up 11.1% annualized from the beginning of the year compared to only 0.8% annualized for all other housing types. The recent advance of the Vancouver index is also due primarily to its condo segment, whose subindex in May was up 17.5% annualized from last September compared to 4.9% for other housing types. Of the 11 markets in the composite index, Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal were the only ones whose indexes rose to a new high in May. In the Montreal market, existing-home sales in the first five months of the year were the best in eight years for those months. In May the countrywide composite index was 0.6% below its peak of last August. The metropolitan area furthest from its previous peak was Toronto, down 5.9% from its reading of last July.

Because of a rapid advance from May to August last year, the composite index was nevertheless up 4.5% from a year earlier. It was the smallest 12-month rise since June 2015 and an 11th consecutive deceleration from last June’s record 12-month gain of 14.2%. The increase was led by Vancouver (15.4%) and Victoria (10.3%), the only two markets whose gains exceeded the countrywide average. The 12-month rise was 3.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 3.9% in Halifax, 3.6% in Montreal, 2.1% in Winnipeg, 1.9% in Quebec City, 1.8%

[1] Note on methodology: The current-month data used to calculate the index are those of closed sales registered in the provincial land registry. The published indexes of the 11 metropolitan markets entering into the Teranet–National Bank Composite House Price Index™ are moving averages of the last three months of raw indexes, a procedure that smooths out month-to-month fluctuations. More granular monthly data are available upon request, possibly subject to subscription fees. For our full methodology, please visit www.housepriceindex.ca

Report By:

Marc Pinsonneault
Senior Economist
Economics and Strategy Group
National Bank of Canada

 

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index™ thanks the author for his special collaboration on this repo

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures For May 2018

TORONTO, June 4, 2018 — Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,834 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in May 2018. This result was down by 22.2 per cent compared to May 2017. While the number of sales was down year-over-year, the annual rate of decline was less than reported in February, March and April, when sales were down by more than 30 per cent. On a month-over-month basis, seasonally adjusted May sales were basically flat compared to April.1

Supply of homes available for sale continued to be an issue. New listings were down by 26.2 per cent. The fact that new listings were down by more than sales in comparison to last year means that competition increased between buyers. Recent polling conducted by Ipsos for TREB suggests that listing intentions are down markedly since the fall.

“Home ownership remains a sound long-term investment. Unfortunately, many home buyers are still finding it difficult find a home that meets their needs. In a recent Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis study undertaken for the Toronto Real Estate Board, it was found that many people are over-housed in Ontario, with over five million extra bedrooms. These people don’t list their homes for sale, because they feel there are no alternative housing types for them to move into. Policy makers need to focus more on the ‘missing middle’ – home types that bridge the gap between detached houses and condominium apartments,” said Tim Syrianos, TREB President.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was down by 5.4 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price for all home types combined was down by 6.6 per cent to $805,320. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was up by 1.1 per cent compared to April 2018.1

“Market conditions are becoming tighter in the Greater Toronto Area and this will provide support for home prices as we move through the second half of 2018 and into 2019. There are emerging indicators pointing toward increased competition between buyers, which generally leads to stronger price growth. In the City of Toronto, for example, average selling prices were at or above average listing prices for all major home types in May,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Housing Issues Important to Voters

TREB is releasing the results, today, of a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs regarding issues relevant to the upcoming provincial election.

“Housing and real estate issues are top of mind for many Ontario and GTA voters, and they often turn to their REALTOR® for opinions on these matters. That’s why we think it’s important to help shine the spotlight on these issues during the provincial election campaign,” said Tim Syrianos, TREB President.

The poll, conducted by on-line survey of 1200 GTA residents (500 in 416 and 700 in 905) between May 18 and May 22, 2018, found that,

Among 9 listed issues (health care, government spending/balancing budget, taxes, housing affordability, energy costs, economy, transportation/traffic, environment/climate change, enhancing social programs), 25% of GTA residents rank housing affordability in their top two most-important issues for the Ontario election campaign;
69% agree (35% strongly/34% somewhat) that a party’s platform on housing affordability will influence who they vote for on election day;
Nearly six in ten (56%) of GTA residents believe that government policies should focus equally on increasing the supply of housing and reducing the demand of housing; few believe that they should only be focused on reducing demand;
77% of GTA residents support reducing the provincial land transfer tax and 68% support repealing this tax completely.

 

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures For April 2018

TORONTO, May 3, 2018 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,792 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in April 2018.  The average selling price was $804,584.  On a year-over-year basis, sales were down by 32.1 per cent and the average selling price was down by 12.4 per cent.

The year-over-year change in the overall average selling price has been impacted by both changes in market conditions as well as changes in the type and price point of homes being purchased.  This is especially clear at the higher end of the market.  Detached home sales for $2 million or more accounted for 5.5 per cent of total detached sales in April 2018, versus 10 per cent in April 2017.  The MLS® Home Price Index strips out the impact of changes in the mix of home sales from one year to the next.  This is why the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark was down by only 5.2 per cent year-over-year versus 12.4 per cent for the average price.

“While average selling prices have not climbed back to last year’s record peak, April’s price level represents a substantial gain over the past decade. Recent polling conducted for TREB by Ipsos tells us that the great majority of buyers are purchasing a home within which to live. This means these buyers are treating home ownership as a long-term investment. A strong and diverse labour market and continued population growth based on immigration should continue to underpin long-term home price appreciation,” said Mr. Syrianos.

After preliminary seasonal adjustment1, the month-over-month change (i.e. March 2018 to April 2018) in sales and the average selling price was minimal, with sales decreasing 1.6 per cent and the average selling price decreasing by 0.2 per cent.  The month-over-month sales trend has flattened out over the past two months following a steeper drop-off in January and February.

“The comparison of this year’s sales and price figures to last year’s record peak masks the fact that market conditions should support moderate increases in home prices as we move through the second half of the year, particularly for condominium apartments and higher density low-rise home types.  Once we are past the current policy-based volatility, home owners should expect to see the resumption of a moderate and sustained pace of price growth in line with a strong local economy and steady population growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Provincial Election Candidates Should Make Housing Issues a Top Priority

With a provincial election campaign about to begin, GTA REALTORS® hope that all of the provincial parties will make housing issues a priority. Home ownership is a worthwhile investment that benefits our economy, individual finances and quality of life,” said Mr. Syrianos

“In recent months and years, there has been significant intervention in housing markets by all levels of government, through regulatory changes and taxation. We believe the next step should be tax relief, especially from Land Transfer Taxes, both provincial and the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, and efforts to facilitate an increase in the supply of missing middle housing that fills the gap between single family homes and high rises. Furthermore, we believe that any attempt to increase the Toronto Land Transfer Tax should require approval from the provincial government, given the significance of Toronto’s economy to the Province and the connections between the Toronto real estate market and that of the broader GTA,” added Syrianos.

Notes:

1 Preliminary seasonal adjustment undertaken by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).  Removing normal seasonal variations allows for more meaningful analysis of monthly changes and underlying trends.

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures For January 2018

TORONTO, February 6, 2018 — 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.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

December 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

TORONTO, January 4, 2018 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 92,394 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in 2017.  This total was down 18.3 per cent compared to the record set in 2016.

Record sales in Q1 were followed by a decline in Q2 and Q3 after the Ontario Fair Housing Plan (FHP) was announced.  The pace of sales picked up in Q4, as the impact of the FHP started to wane, and some buyers arguably brought forward their home purchase in response to the new OSFI stress test guidelines effective January 1, 2018.

“Much of the sales volatility in 2017 was brought about by government policy decisions.  Research from TREB, the provincial government and Statistics Canada showed that foreign home buying was not a major driver of sales in the GTA. However, the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, which included a foreign buyer tax, had a marked psychological impact on the marketplace.  Looking forward, government policy could continue to influence consumer behavior in 2018, as changes to federal mortgage lending guidelines come into effect,” said Mr. Syrianos.

The average selling price for 2017 as a whole was $822,681 – up 12.7 per cent compared to 2016.  This annual growth was driven more so by extremely tight market conditions during the first four months of the year.  In the latter two-thirds of 2017, fewer sales combined with increased listings resulted in slower price growth.  In December, the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 7.2 per cent year over year, and the overall average selling price was up by 0.7 per cent year over year.

“It is interesting to note that home price growth in the second half of 2017 differed substantially depending on market segment.  The detached market segment – the most expensive on average – experienced the slowest pace of growth as many buyers looked to less expensive options.  Conversely, the condominium apartment segment experienced double-digit growth, as condos accounted for a growing share of transactions,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

“TREB will have much more to say about the year to come on January 30 when we will release our third annual Market Year in Review and Outlook Report.  The report will feature an outlook for home sales and prices; new Ipsos consumer survey results covering buying intentions, including insights on new federal mortgage lending guidelines; new research on housing supply options surrounding the ‘missing middle,’ and important new reports on the movement of people and goods throughout the GTA,” added Mr. Syrianos.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

November 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

TORONTO, December 5, 2017 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,374 transactions through TREB’s MLS® System in November 2017. This result was up compared to October 2017, bucking the regular seasonal trend.  On a year-over-year basis, sales were down by 13.3 per cent compared to November 2016.

New listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System in November 2017 amounted to 14,349 – up by 37.2 per cent compared to November 2016, when the supply of listings was very low from a historic perspective.

“We have seen an uptick in demand for ownership housing in the GTA this fall, over and above the regular seasonal trend.  Similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane.  On top of this, it is also possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decision,” said Mr. Syrianos.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price was up by 8.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in November 2017.  The average selling price for all home types combined was down by two per cent compared to November 2016, due in large part to a smaller share of detached home sales versus last year.  On a year-to-date basis, the average selling price was up by 13.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.  High density home types continued to lead the way in terms of price growth, with the average condominium apartment price up by double-digits compared to November 2016.

“Changes in market conditions have not been uniform across market segments.  In line with insights from consumer polling undertaken by Ipsos in the spring, we are still seeing seller’s market conditions for townhouses and condominium apartments in many neighbourhoods versus more balanced market conditions for detached and semi-detached houses.  We will have more insights to share about consumer intentions for 2018 at the end of January when TREB releases its third annual Market Year in Review and Outlook report,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

October 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos reported 7,118 residential sales through TREB’s MLS® System in October 2017. This result represented an above-average increase between September and October of almost 12 per cent, pointing to stronger fall market conditions.

On a year-over-year basis, October sales were down compared to 9,715 transactions in September 2016. Total sales reported through the first 10 months of 2017 amounted to 80,198 – down from 99,233 for the same time period in 2016.

“Every year we generally see a jump in sales between September and October. However, this year that increase was more pronounced than usual compared to the previous ten years. So, while the number of transactions was still down relative to last year’s record pace, it certainly does appear that sales momentum is picking up,” said Mr. Syrianos. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite benchmark price was up by 9.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October. Annual rates of price growth were strongest for townhouses and condominium apartments. The average selling price for October transactions was $780,104 – up by 2.3 per cent compared to the average of $762,691 in October 2016.

“The housing market in the GTA has been impacted by a number of policy changes at the provincial and federal levels. Similar to the track followed in the Greater Vancouver Area, it appears that the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, including the tax on foreign buyers, is starting to unwind,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

“TREB will be undertaking its annual consumer polling process over the last two months of 2017. This polling will include research into the impact of recent and proposed government policy changes on consumer intentions to buy and sell homes in the GTA, including the impacts of the new OSFI guideline and a potential vacancy tax in the City of Toronto. In addition, TREB continues to work with different levels of government on solutions to the long-term housing supply issues in the region,” added Mr. Syrianos.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

August 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,357 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System in August 2017.  This result was down by 34.8 per cent compared to August 2016.

The number of new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System, at 11,523, was down by 6.7 per cent year-over-year and was at the lowest level for August since 2010.

“Recent reports suggest that economic conditions remain strong in the GTA.  Positive economic news coupled with the slower pace of price growth we are now experiencing could prompt an improvement in the demand for ownership housing, over and above the regular seasonal bump, as we move through the fall,” continued Mr. Syrianos.

The average selling price for all home types combined was $732,292 – up by three per cent compared to August 2016.  This growth was driven by the semi-detached, townhouse and condominium apartment market segments that continued to experience high single-digit or double digit year-over-year average price increases.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark, which accounts for typical home types throughout TREB’s market area, was up by 14.3 per cent year-over-year in August.  The fact that MLS® HPI growth outstripped average price growth, points to fewer high-end home sales this year compared to last.

“The relationship between sales and listings in the marketplace today suggests a balanced market.  If current conditions are sustained over the coming months, we would expect to see year-over-year price growth normalize slightly above the rate of inflation.  However, if some buyers move from the sidelines back into the marketplace, as TREB consumer research suggests may happen, an acceleration in price growth could result if listings remain at current levels,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

 Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

August 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Mid-Month Resale Housing Figures

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,706 sales through TREB’s MLS® System during the first 14 days of August 2017. This result was down by 35.6 per cent compared to the first 14 days of August 2016.

Over the same period of time, the number of new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System was down by 10 per cent on a year over year basis. New listings were down in the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions making up the GTA.

The average selling price during the first two weeks of August, at $731,614, was up three per cent compared to the same period in 2016. Overall average price growth was driven by the condominium apartment and semi-­‐detached market segments, which experienced double-­‐digit average annual rates of price growth.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

July 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,921 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS® System in July 2017. This result was down by 40.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis, led by the detached market segment – both in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions.

While sales were down, the number of new listings reported were only slightly (+5.1 per cent) above last year’s level.

“A recent release from the Ontario government confirmed TREB’s own research which found that foreign buyers represented a small proportion of overall home buying activity in the GTA. Clearly, the year-over-year decline we experienced in July had more to do with psychology, with would-be home buyers on the sidelines waiting to see how market conditions evolve,” said Mr. Syrianos.

“Summer market statistics are often not the best indicators of housing market conditions. We generally see an uptick in sales following Labour Day, as a greater cross-section of would-be buyers and sellers start to consider listing and/or purchasing a home. As we move through the fall, we should start to get a better sense of the impacts of the Fair Housing Plan and higher borrowing costs,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark price was up by 18 per cent on a year-over-year basis. However, the Composite Benchmark was down by 4.6 per cent relative to June. Monthly MLS® HPI declines were driven more so by single-family home types. The average selling price for all home types combined was up by five per cent year-over-year to $746,218.

“Home buyers benefitted from more choice in the market this July compared to the same time last year. This was reflected in home prices and home price growth. Looking forward, if we do see some would-be home buyers move off the sidelines and back into the market without a similar increase in new listings, we could see some of this newfound choice erode. The recent changes in the sales and price trends have masked the fact that housing supply remains an issue in the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

July 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Mid-Month Resale Housing Figures

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,670 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS® System during the first 14 days of July 2017. This result was down 39.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2016. The greatest year-over-year decline in sales was noted for the detached market segment. The lowest annual rate of decline was noted for the condominium apartment market segment.

The number of new listings entered into the system was up by 6.5 per cent year-over-year. While still up compared to last year, the annual rate of growth for new listings has declined markedly, from over 40 per cent in mid-May, and over 20 per cent in mid-June, to less than seven per cent in mid-July.

With sales down and new listings up year-over-year, the market was better supplied compared to last year. This translated into a more moderate 6.5 per cent annual growth rate for the average selling price, which was $760,356 for all home types combined.

When breaking down average price growth by geography, an interesting dichotomy has developed between the City of Toronto and the surrounding ‘905’ area code regions for some market segments. The annual growth rate for the average detached price in the ‘416’ area code was 12.1 per cent, compared to 2.7 per cent for the ‘905’ regions. The annual growth rate for the average condominium apartment price was 30.5 per cent in the ‘416’ area code versus 12.4 per cent in the surrounding ‘905’ regions.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

Top 10 Reasons Canada Can Take Bank of Canada Hikes

In lieu of a Bank of Canada rate hike here is a quick cheat sheet of answers to commonly raise obstacles to hiking once, twice, three times and more. Call it an economist’s attempt at late night comedy, minus the part about being funny of course because this is about monetary policy.

  1. This is no longer an emergency of recession but we still have emergency rates. This is 2017. Not 2009 or even 2014.
  2. Housing can take it and a cooler market for affordability is welcome to a point. Toronto housing will continue to cool near term. Rule changes make it so borrowers have to qualify at a 4.6% average 5 year posted rate more than 200 points above the effective best offer 5 year rate. There is a built-in rate shock buffer in mortgage rules. Plus it’s not like the Fed raising 425bps over 2004-06. It’s also seriously misinformed to view parallels between the US housing finance system back then and Canada’s today.
  3. Consumers can take it. Disposable income growth is about 4% y/y now, 3%+ next year. 50-75bps+ on debt service is swamped by this effect. Don’t just adjust rates, consider income growth and increased international purchasing power.
  4. Exports can take it. USDCAD and the real effective exchange rate are where they have averaged for the past two years, which is what matters to lagging trade effects. Income effects from an improving global economy can offset price effects from the exchange rate.
  5. Investment can take it. Overall financing conditions are and should remain very stimulative aided by CAD strength given high reliance on imported capital goods. Capacity pressures will require expansion supported by gains in worker productivity. Resource maintenance cap-ex can no longer be postponed.
  6. Slack is being rapidly eroded with growth more than double the non-inflationary speed limit on average for the past 4 quarters. Spare capacity disappears by both output gap measures this year and then Canada begins slipping into excess aggregate demand.
  7. Core inflation will be bottoming into the Fall. Ending 2018 at 1.9% as excess aggregate demand arrives and followed by further progress into 2019. That’s not emergency conditions. Monetary policy needs to lean in front of that occurring instead of pointing to the last inflation report in order to mitigate the rise given monetary policy lags. The costs to being wrong about inflation upsides are less than the costs to maintaining emergency insurance against forecast risks.The Fed can afford to pause being 100bps ahead but Canada hasn’t started. A 10% sustained two year average appreciation (ie: not from a transitory peak) in CAD versus the USD knocks 0.1-0.2% off core inflation two years out. Other forces are likely to dominate currency effects that the BoC views as transitory anyway.
  8. Wage growth is also bottoming. Rapidly tightening job markets, a maturing commodity shock on incomes and minimum wage hikes in Ontario and Albert should lift wage growth into 2018.
  9. Business surveys – like the Bank of Canada’s BOS – are saying growth is durable with plans to keep on investing and hiring.
  10. Downbeat risks are generally not being realized. NAFTA has not been torn up, there are no border taxes, an imported bond shock hasn’t arrived and some geopolitical risks have improved (European elections) while others remain.

Source: Scotiabank Global Economics Special Report July 2017

June 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,974 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in June 2017 – down by 37.3 per cent in comparison to June 2016.

The number of new residential listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System, at 19,614, was up by 15.9 per cent compared to June 2016. While this annual rate of growth was sizeable, it
represented a more moderate annual rate of growth compared to May 2017, when new listings were up by 48.9 per cent year-over-year.

“We are in a period of flux that often follows major government policy announcements pointed at the housing market. On one hand, consumer survey results tell us many households are very interested in purchasing a home in the near future, but some of these would-be buyers seem to be temporarily on the sidelines waiting to see the real impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.

On the other hand, we have existing home owners who are listing their home because they feel price growth may have peaked. The end result has been a better supplied market and a
moderating annual pace of price growth,” said Mr. Syrianos.

Annual growth rates for MLS® HPI benchmark prices have moderated over the past two months, but remain strong. The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price was up by 25.3 per
cent on a year-over-year basis in June. June’s average selling price for all home types combined for the TREB market area was $793,915, representing a 6.3 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2016. A better supplied market has certainly been a key factor influencing the moderation in price growth.

“Recent Ipsos survey results suggest that home buying activity in the GTA will remain strong moving forward. The year-over-year dip in home sales we have experienced over the last two months seem to be the result of would-be buyers putting their decision to purchase temporarily on hold while they monitor the impact of the Fair Housing Plan. On the supply side of the market, it certainly looks as though buyers will benefit from more choice in the second half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016,”said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board

June 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Mid-Month Resale Housing Figures

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,999 transactions through TREB’s MLS® System during the first 14 days of June 2017. This result was down by 50 per cent in comparison to the same time period in June 2016. The decline in sales was greatest for detached houses followed by other low-rise home types.

The number of new listings through the first two weeks of June was up on a year-over-year basis to 9,988 – a 22 per cent increase compared to the same time period in 2016. It is worth noting, however, that the annual growth rate for new listings did moderate compared to May. Growth in new listings was much stronger in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto, where low-rise home types are most common. In the City of Toronto, where the concentration of condominium apartments is higher, new listings growth was much more subdued.

The condominium apartment market remains relatively tight. The average selling price continued to increase compared to 2016 – up by 6.7 per cent to $808,847 for all home types combined. GTA-wide, the strongest average annual rate of growth was for the condominium apartment segment – up by 25.5 per cent compared to the first 14 days of 2016. The average selling price for detached houses was up by 7.7 per cent year-over-year.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

May 2017 GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 10,196 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in May 2017 – down by 20.3 per cent compared to 12,790 sales reported in May 2016.  Sales of detached homes were down by 26.3 per cent.  Sales of condominium apartments were down by 6.4 per cent.

The supply of listings was up strongly over the same period.  Active listings – the number of properties available for sale – at the end of May were up by 42.9 per cent compared to the record low a year earlier.  The number increased considerably for low-rise home types including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses.  Active listings for condominium apartments were down compared to May 2016.

“Home buyers definitely benefitted from a better supplied market in May, both in comparison to the same time last year and to the first four months of 2017.  However, even with the robust increase in active listings, inventory levels remain low.  At the end of May, we had less than two months of inventory.  This is why we continued to see very strong annual rates of price growth, albeit lower than the peak growth rates earlier this year,” said Mr. Cerqua.

Selling prices continued to increase strongly in May compared to the same month in 2016.  The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark price was up by 29 per cent year-over-year.  The average selling price for all home types combined for the TREB Market Area as a whole was up by 14.9 per cent to $863,910.  Year-over-year price increases were greater for condominium apartments compared to low-rise home types.  This likely reflects the fact that the low-rise market segments benefitted most from the increase in listings.

“The actual, or normalized, effect of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan remains to be seen.  In the past, some housing policy changes have initially led to an overreaction on the part of homeowners and buyers, which later balanced out.  On the listings front, the increase in active listings suggests that homeowners, after a protracted delay, are starting to react to the strong price growth we’ve experienced over the past year by listing their home for sale to take advantage of these equity gains,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Source: The Toronto Real Estate Board