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.
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.
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.
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
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
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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
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.
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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
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
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
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.
- This is no longer an emergency of recession but we still have emergency rates. This is 2017. Not 2009 or even 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Business surveys – like the Bank of Canada’s BOS – are saying growth is durable with plans to keep on investing and hiring.
- 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
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
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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
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
Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,014 residential sales through TREB’s MLS® System in February 2017. Despite the fact that February 2016 had one more day due to the leap year day, this result was up on a year-over-year basis by 5.7 per cent compared to 7,583 sales reported last year.
“The February statistics tell me that many Greater Toronto Area households continue to view home ownership as a great long-term investment. The high demand for ownership housing we’re seeing is broad-based, with strong sales growth for most low-rise home types and condominium apartments. This makes sense given the results of a recent consumer survey undertaken for TREB by Ipsos, which found an even split between intending first-time buyers and existing homeowners who indicated that they were planning on purchasing a home in 2017,” said Cerqua.
According to the recent Ipsos survey of intending GTA home buyers, first-time buyers will continue to account for much of the demand for ownership housing in Toronto and the surrounding regions. For the GTA as a whole, 53 per cent of likely buyers indicated that they would be first-timers – up from 49 per cent a year earlier. First-time buying intentions were highest in the City of Toronto, where 64 per cent of likely home purchasers indicated they would be first-timers – up from 56 per cent a year earlier. The higher percentage of first-time buyers in the City of Toronto likely relates to the prevalence of condominium apartments, which are a popular entry point into home ownership.
“There has also been much speculation, both in the media and among government policymakers, about the amount of foreign buying activity in the GTA. A recent Ipsos survey of the TREB membership on foreign buying activity suggests that the impact of foreign buyers in the GTA marketplace has been somewhat overblown. GTA-wide, the number of transactions accounted for by foreign buyers was less than five per cent. Furthermore, the great majority – 80 per cent, to be exact – of foreign buyers were purchasing a home as a primary residence, a home for another family member to live in, or as an investment to rent out to a tenant, which is helpful in a tight rental market,” continued Cerqua.
“To date, the provincial government and municipal governments have resisted the implementation of a foreign buyer tax in the absence of empirical evidence. The Ipsos survey of TREB Members should further solidify the argument that the solution to strong rates of price growth and related affordability concerns lies not with taxing foreign buyers more, but rather with addressing the supply of homes available for sale, or lack thereof,” added Cerqua.
While the demand for ownership housing grew over the past year, new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System in February were down on a year-over-year basis by 12.5 per cent to 9,834. This continues a pattern we saw throughout much of 2016, with the sales trend pointing up while the listings trend has been down, which has resulted in a contraction of the inventory of homes available for sale. TREB’s average months of inventory trend for February was at one month, while in many neighbourhoods across the GTA, inventory can now be measured in weeks rather than months.
“The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments. Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark Price was up by 23.8 per cent compared to February 2016. Similarly, the average selling price was up by 27.7 per cent year-over-year to $875,983. Annual rates of price growth continued to be strongest for low-rise home types, particularly detached houses. Growth rates for condominium apartment prices were also in the double digits, likely a result of strong demand from first-time buyers.
“Over the past year, we have reached a point where government policies that target only the demand side of the market, whether we’re talking about foreign buyers or further changes to mortgage lending guidelines, will not be enough to balance market conditions and moderate the pace of price growth,” continued Mercer.
“In 2017, policymakers at all three levels of government must turn their attention to the supply of homes available for sale. They should consider revisiting land-use designations in built-up areas to allow for a greater diversity of home types, streamlining development approvals and permitting processes, and looking at ways to incentivize landowners to develop their land,” suggested Cerqua.
A panel of industry experts was on hand at TREB’s recent Economic Summit, which served as a launch for TREB’s Market Year in Review & Outlook Report 2017, to share their take on the growing housing supply crisis in the GTA. Discussing the nature and scope of the crisis as well as possible solutions, the implications were clear: there is a housing supply crisis and the only way to solve it would be coordinated and innovative solutions by the government, private and not-for-profit sectors.
This and other issues, including a market outlook for 2017 and the impact of transit infrastructure and housing affordability were discussed at the Economic Summit and are touched on in the report. To learn more about the Economic Summit or to read a copy of TREB’s Market Year in Review & Outlook Report 2017, please visit www.TREBhome.com
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,238 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System during the first 14 days of March 2017. This result was up by 16.4 per cent in comparison to the first two weeks of March 2016, when 4,500 home sales were reported.
The strongest annual rate of sales growth was experienced for the condominium apartment market segment.
However, double-digit annual rates of growth were also reported for detached houses and townhouses.
New listings reported by REALTORS® during the first half of March were down by more than four per cent compared to the same period in 2016. As the trend of declining listings and increasing sales continued, market conditions tightened further with the end result being further acceleration in the annual average rate of price growth.
The average selling price for all home types combined was $935,296 during the first two weeks of March 2017, representing a 35.1 per cent increase compared to March 2016. While the detached market segment experienced the highest annual average rate of price growth, at 37 per cent for the TREB market area as a whole, it is important to note that growth rates were above 30 per cent for all major home types including condominium apartments.
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board
Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that 2016 was a second consecutive record year for home sales. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 113,133 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System – up by 11.8 per cent compared to 2015. The calendar year 2016 result included 5,338 sales in December – an annual increase of 8.6 per cent.
The strongest annual rate of sales growth in 2016 was experienced for condominium apartments followed by detached homes.
“A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region’s population continued to grow in 2016,” said Mr. Cerqua.
“It is important to point out that the strong demand that we experienced in 2016 was very much domestic in nature. TREB recently commissioned Ipsos to survey its Members with regard to the level and type of foreign buying activity within the Greater Toronto Area. The results of the Ipsos survey suggest that the level of foreign buying activity is low in the GTA. Only an estimated 4.9 per cent of GTA transactions, in which TREB Members acted on behalf of a buyer, involved a foreign purchaser. In the City of Toronto, the share of foreign buyers was five per cent,” continued Mr. Cerqua.
The methodology of the Ipsos research involved an online survey of the TREB Membership hosted on the Ipsos platform. A total of 3,518 surveys were completed between October 6 and October 21, 2016. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points 19 times out of 20. TREB will be releasing the full results of the Ipsos survey dealing with foreign buyers on January 31, 2017, in conjunction with its Market Year in Review and Outlook Report and related media event.
The annual rate of growth for the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) in the TREB market area accelerated throughout 2016 – from 10.7 per cent in January 2016 to 21 per cent in December 2016. The overall average selling price for calendar year 2016 was $729,922 – up 17.3 per cent compared to 2015. The pace of the annual rate of growth for the average selling price also picked up throughout the year, including a climb of 20 per cent in December.
“Price growth accelerated throughout 2016 as the supply of listings remained very constrained. Active listings at the end of December were at their lowest point in a decade-and-a-half. Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost four per cent. In 2016, we saw policy changes and policy debates pointed at the demand side of the market. If we want to see a sustained moderation in the pace of price growth, what we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
TREB’s Market Year in Review and Outlook Report and media event will include an expert panel and related submissions on the foundations of the housing supply issue in the GTA and possible solutions.
With continued strong rates of price growth, housing affordability is a growing concern. Unfortunately, the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee is considering an increase to the Land Transfer Tax that could see buyers of average-priced homes pay another $750 to the City, which would represent a seven per cent increase to the $11,000 that they already pay City Hall as an upfront Land Transfer Tax closing cost. This would be on top of the $12,000 that is also paid to the province. First-time buyers could end up paying $475 more, or, at best, be no better off, even though the province recently doubled their first time buyer LTT rebate.
“The last thing people need is to dish out another $750, on top of the $11,000 that they already pay City Hall. The City should be looking for ways to make housing affordability better, not worse, especially for first-time buyers who could go backwards, or at best, be no better off,” said Mr. Cerqua. “The Budget Committee should stop this proposal in its tracks and instead enhance the rebate for first-time buyers.”
Source: The Real Estate Board
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