Tag Archives: GTA housing market

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The GTA housing market in January 2020

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The GTA housing market in January 2020

Picking up where 2019 left off, 2020 began with strong sales growth, dwindling housing supply and high demand for ownership and rental housing.

January 2020 continued the monthly trend of increased sales coupled with a dip in listings supply. More than 4,580 sales were reported through Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s MLS system in January 2020, up by 15 per cent compared to January 2019. However, the number of new listings entered into TRREB’s MLS system in January was down 17.3 per cent when compared to the same time last year.

Increased sales up against a constrained supply of listings resulted in increased competition between buyers and stronger price growth in the first month of 2020. The average selling price for all home types combined was up by 12.3 per cent to $839,363, compared to $747,175 in January 2019.

When it comes to an outlook for 2020, without seeing a significant increase in supply, it is likely that new listings will not keep up with sales growth, and over the next year an acceleration in price growth can be expected.

TRREB calls on all levels of government to create concrete housing plans for the next decade

Since entering a new year and decade, tighter market conditions with increased competition between buyers and pent-up demand for both ownership and rental housing has remained an ongoing phenomenon.

Persistent demand for housing in the GTA market can be attributed to a strong regional economy, including low unemployment, steady population growth and low borrowing costs. However, part of the answer to satisfying the issue of ownership housing is the construction of more mid-density housing to provide GTA buyers with more affordable housing options.

TRREB has demonstrated an ongoing commitment in calling on all levels of government to create concrete housing plans. In fact, since 2015, our organization has released an annual Market Year in Review & Outlook Report to shed light on the issues discussed above, using clear and hard evidence, as well as to offer solutions to other major regional challenges in the GTA, including infrastructure requirements and transportation and traffic issues.

The 2020 edition of the report, subtitled “The Time is Now” is all about planning for growth in the Greater Toronto Area and broader Greater Golden Horseshoe.

With the release of this report each year, TRREB continues to make great strides in working with policymakers and industry stakeholders to present fresh ideas on what is critically needed to accommodate the increasing population across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

To download the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Market Year in Review & Outlook Report, visit TRREB.ca. We hope you enjoy reading the report and join in the dialogue.

Michael Collins is president of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 54,500 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him at trebpres@trebnet.com.

For updates on the real estate market, visit trebhome.com.

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From one strong year to another

From one strong year to another

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From one strong year to another

The days are shorter, we wake up and go home in the dark, snow is often on the horizon, and the holiday season is now behind us. And, yet again, the seven-year cycle is defied; year 22 of the real estate cycle has come and gone. The market remains great for buyers, as the choices are out there and buying remains the right choice for those who can.

Indeed, 2019 was another strong year for the condo market. Even as new condos have increased in price in recent years, they still remain a more affordable option than detached homes, which remain somewhat scarce and pricey.

However, navigating throughout the GTA remains a challenge, given traffic and transit issues, and looks like it will for a while. New subway lines and public transit – both very necessary – are great, but these infrastructure improvements can’t come fast enough to keep pace with the new home and condo demand.

Despite these challenges, 2019 is highlighted by stories of very strong sales in the condo world. Downtown Toronto, Vaughan, midtown and some impressive new projects throughout the 905 region and beyond are set to rise soon. The market keeps growing.

In 2019, the housing market overall continued to rebound, as prices settled into place and buyers took advantage. Townhomes and urban (stacked) townhomes became a more prevalent housing type, as they appeared throughout parts of the GTA and were well received by new-home buyers.

One particular success story in this market segment, in a neighbourhood close to my North York roots, is Sheppard West. Steps from the Sheppard subway, a new community known as Greenwich Village will be taking shape next year. A dozen or so bungalows that front onto Sheppard will soon be demolished, welcoming approximately 150 new urban and traditional townhomes offering top-of-the-line finishes, two- and three-storey homes offering two- and three-bedroom variations, starting in the $700,000 range, a fraction of what it costs to buy a resale home in this established neighbourhood.

Concrete construction, flexible home designs and clever architecture make this new community a very special place to be, and what will undoubtedly be an important addition to a neighbourhood that should continue to appreciate. Just the right opportunity at the right time, something that allows people to stay in or come to a valuable neighbourhood at an attractive price. Something we dearly need throughout our desirable city.

Mark Cohen is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.


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First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

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First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

We have some good news and we have some bad news, prospective homebuyers in Canada.

First, the bad news: According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, home price growth in many of Canada’s real estate markets is slowing. This means, if you’re looking to buy a home, its value may not grow as much as it has recently. The good news, however, is that this same slowing price growth presents a window of opportunity for first-time homebuyers to get while you can.

The price of a home in Canada increased just 2.7 per cent year-over-year to $621,575 in the first quarter of 2019, Royal LePage says, well below the long-term norm of approximately five per cent. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 2.6 per cent year-over-year to $729,553, while the median price of a bungalow rose 1.1 per cent to $513,497. Condominiums remained the fastest growing housing type, rising 5.4 per cent year-over-year to $447,260.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Royal LePage expects national home prices to stay relatively flat throughout the 2019 spring market, with the national aggregate price of a home increasing just one per cent over the next three months. Meanwhile, the housing markets in several larger Canadian cities have shown noticeable signs of slowing, with nearly half of the regions in Royal LePage’s Quarterly Forecast anticipating quarter-over-quarter price declines.

But these are national numbers, and as we’ve written before, there really is no such thing as a Canadian housing market.

But more on this later.

Silver lining

Early in 2018, Canada experienced the most significant housing correction since the 2008 financial crisis. Markets showed signs of recovery late in the year, yet the figures for early 2019 suggest that the market has once again slowed.

We are expecting this to be a sluggish year overall in Canada’s residential real estate market, with the hangover from the 2018 market correction and weaker economic growth acting as a drag on home price appreciation, balanced by lower for longer interest rates,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “There is a silver lining here. This slowdown gives buyers, and first-time buyers in particular, an opportunity to buy real estate in our country’s largest cities.”

In the federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in March, the Canadian government announced three new or enhanced housing programs. The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a three-year, $1.25-billion shared equity mortgage program whereby  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) will co-invest up to five per cent of the purchase price of an existing home. Further, for the first time in a decade, there was an increase in the registered retirement savings plan withdrawal limits in the Home Buyers Plan. The increase, from $25,000 to $35,000, was the largest since the program’s inception in 1992. Finally, an additional $10 billion in financing over nine years was earmarked for the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Real estate is local

Illustrating our point that real estate is local and not national, the GTA housing market is still showing healthy growth.

“The city of Toronto is still one of Canada’s fastest appreciating real estate markets,” says Soper. “Detached home prices are rising in line with inflation, but condominium prices are increasing at near double-digit levels as vertical living has become the primary new-build option in this growing, world-class city.”

Median home prices in Toronto rose 5.8 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. Two-storey home prices and bungalow home prices rose 4.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent year-over-year, respectively, while condo prices rose 9.3 per cent year-over-year. The overall GTA’s aggregate home price rose 3.4 per cent over the same period.

Real estate values in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region continued to appreciate at a brisk clip, as local economies grew and workers from the GTA looked to trade commuting time for lower house prices. Niagara-St. Catharines, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge aggregate prices were up by 6.9 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.


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Behind the numbers , A deeper look into the 2018 GTA housing market

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Behind the numbers , A deeper look into the 2018 GTA housing market

The story of the GTA real estate market in 2018 was one of moderation, with improvement of market conditions in the second half of the year.

Sales, listings and average selling price were all down compared to 2017: there were 77,426 transactions (down 16.1 per cent), 155,823 new listings (down 12.7 per cent), and an overall average selling price of $787,300 (down 4.3 per cent).

In the first half of the year, it’s likely that many would-be buyers chose to delay purchasing a home due to higher borrowing costs and the new mortgage stress test, which could have contributed to the double digit decline in the number of transactions.

On the flip side, a decline in listings, contributed to increased competition between buyers looking to find a home that meets their needs. In turn, this fuelled a resumption of moderate year-over-year price growth in the second half of 2018.

It’s also true that certain segments of the market performed better than others from a pricing perspective. For instance, home prices were up slightly in the city of Toronto where a large proportion of sales were of condos. The condo market was the tightest market segment last year, with substantial competition between buyers who were searching for relatively affordable ownership housing options.

It is important to remember that TREB’s market area is made up of over 500 communities and market conditions obviously unfold differently across these communities. This is why it’s important to work with a professional TREB member realtor who is familiar with local market conditions in your areas of interest.

For information on the GTA real estate market in 2018 and in December, check out the infograph accompanying this article

GARRY BHAURA is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him At TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.

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The housing outlook for 2019

GTA among the most promising new home outlooks for 2019, Altus Group says

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GTA among the most promising new home outlooks for 2019, Altus Group says

The new home sector in Canada had a challenging year in 2018, but markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the GTA, have among the most promising outlooks for 2019, according to Altus Group.

Increased regulations, higher interest rates, new taxes and higher Development Charges are testing the industry,  Altus Group says in its New Home Outlook for 2019.

Altus Group is a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry, and tracks new home development and sales activity across the country.

At the start of 2018, the supply of available new homes in both the Vancouver and Toronto markets was constrained, particularly in the condominium apartment sector. The lack of available product contributed to the rapid rise in pricing in 2017 and impacted sales volumes at the start of 2018.

In Alberta, the new home sector, along with the rest of the housing market, continued to be impacted by low energy prices and weaker economic activity. The opposite was the case in Montreal, where a sharp increase in demand for new homes led to peak sales levels.

The outlook at the end of 2017 was that the market would continue to see reasonably strong demand in 2018, but sales would be impacted by the new mortgage regulations and other new policies, taxes, and regulations – the degree to which was unknown.

Looking at 2018’s market performance year-to-date, Altus can see that demand was impacted in the major markets, most significantly in the single-family and higher-end townhouse segments. New condominium apartment sales have also moderated in Vancouver and Toronto where the incredibly strong demand seen in 2017 has softened in the current year. Some of the moderation is normalization from the frenzied market pace noted in recent years.

KEY FINDINGS

Greater Toronto Area

The GTA market came off a record new condominium apartment sales year in 2017. However, the impacts of mortgage rule changes and new development charges contributed to a decline in project launches and lower sales to start the year. Sales and project launch activity have increased in the back half of the year, but year-to-date sales remain down by almost 50 per cent compared to 2017.

While sales have been lower, pricing for new condominium apartment product in the downtown area has remained fairly stable with overall average prices trending towards $800,000.

New single-family sales continued to decline in 2018. Although availability of product to purchase has increased, it remains beyond the reach of most buyers.

Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo

Markets outside of the GTA have continued to benefit from their relative affordability compared to Toronto, particularly in Kitchener-Waterloo, where the new supply of condominium apartment product experienced strong demand in 2018. Both markets benefit from markedly better pricing compared to the GTA, where lower average prices for both new condominium apartment and single-family housing makes it a much more buyer-friendly market.

Promised improvements to transit, which will take several years to implement, will enhance commuting options throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe, thus providing greater opportunities to live in markets outside of the GTA.

Montreal

Montreal saw a strong increase in new home sales over the past three years and continues to experience robust demand for new condominium apartment homes. Given the growth in sales, many of the challenges seen in the other large markets have started to impact Montreal – rising costs, elevated inventories of under construction product and increased investment activity. Despite the challenges, year-to-date sales activity remains strong and is trending slightly higher than last year.

Edmonton

The Edmonton market has been facing challenges from elevated inventory levels, a large stock of completed and unsold new homes and the impact that weak energy prices is having on housing demand. Consumers’ mortgage qualification has become a more significant challenge for new home projects, resulting in a year-over-year decline in sales levels by almost 50 per cent for both townhouse and condominium apartment product. The slow pace of sales has also meant that several projects have shifted to purpose-built rental.

While the market has been slow, there are some bright spots with development in the Ice District experiencing reasonably strong demand, along with well-priced townhouse developments in the suburban markets.

Calgary

The Calgary market is performing stronger in 2018, with increased sales of both new condominium apartment and townhouse product on a year-over-year basis. This growth has been exclusively in the suburban markets where new condominium apartment and townhouse sales have exceeded 2017 numbers.

While sales in the suburbs are tracking higher, the inner city and downtown markets are seeing weaker demand and lower sales volumes with higher office vacancy and lower downtown employment impacting housing demand near the core. Conversely, the strongest new home sales in the suburbs have been occurring in regions near employment centres.

Vancouver

Leading into 2018, the Vancouver market was the tightest of the markets examined, in terms of available new homes with only 1.8 months of inventory. This year, new project launches, particularly along transit lines and in the Fraser Valley, have added much needed inventory and boosted the supply to 3.3 months of inventory – although this remains the lowest in the country.

The frenzied pace in the market has softened with the sales rate at launch moderating, while price growth has stopped and even pulled back in certain segments of the market. A key challenge that has become more apparent as of late has been the price sensitivity of consumers, with higher-priced projects, or those priced above the competition, experiencing below average sales rates.

2019 Outlook

The outlook for housing demand in 2019 remains positive across the country with elevated immigration levels, continued demand from first-time homebuyers and tight rental vacancies and elevated rents encouraging homeownership. The key pressures that Altus Group sees continuing to impact the new home market in 2019 are higher interest rates and housing affordability constraints, rising construction costs and development charges impacting developers, and weaker economic growth potential in certain regions constraining demand.

Across the major markets in Canada, Altus Group believes the markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the GTA, have the most upside potential for an increase in sales activity in 2019 given the depth of the decline in 2018 and building off of the sales recovery noted in the back half of 2018.

Calgary and Edmonton will continue to be impacted by the weaker economy, but are not forecast to experience a material decline in overall sales volumes given the current levels of activity in each market.

The two markets that may see a decline in sales activity in 2019 are Montreal and Vancouver – but for very different reasons. Montreal had a strong sales year in 2018 and 2019 volumes are expected to decline as the market returns to more normal conditions. The Vancouver market, which is currently exhibiting the most potential for downside risk, is expected to see a modest decline in sales volumes as consumers react to higher borrowing costs and developers react to escalating construction costs in the face of lower revenue opportunities. With that said, the sales volumes in 2019 are still anticipated to be at or close to the 10-year sales average for the market.

altusgroup.com


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Don’t Doubt The Market

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Don’t Doubt The Market

There is no shortage of demand at the launches of new projects

The GTA housing market is as robust as ever and things have been humming along quite nicely for many years now.

And yet there will always be those who believe we are doomed, that the good times cannot continue for the GTA’s hot housing market — that it’s no doubt headed for an inevitable crash.

Well, that’s just not the sentiment we’re seeing at In2ition Realty as we’ve launched a series of successful projects across the region in recent weeks.

There was certainly no shortage of demand at the launch this summer of the first tower at Universal City, a Chestnut Hill Developments master-planned community in Pickering. The project enjoys lake views and is located just minutes from the GO Transit station. It sold out in record time and a second tower of 324 units just launched last month. The interest for tower two was equally as strong.

In Port Credit, on the other side of the GTA, it was the same story with the recent launch of Tanu Condos, a 204-unit tower and townhouse project by Edenshaw Developments. We had a lineup on the first day of launch!

Truth be told, Toronto condo builders can’t launch developments quickly enough to satisfy the insatiable demand.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the GTA housing market in 2018, mind you. The introduction of a new stress test on mortgage applicants certainly had an impact on home sales, sidelining some buyers.

And the GTA housing market faces considerable ongoing challenges, including trade labour shortages, development approval process and timing, project cost escalation, ability to secure financing, profit margins, land availability and cost … there are tons of hurdles for the building industry to contend with.

Although sales figures are down 40 per cent from last year, a portion is from lack of supply. In 2017 we saw 128 launches in highrise condos versus 56 in 2018.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported a 6 per cent uptick in regional home sales in October 2018, compared to the same month a year earlier. And the average sale price of a detached home in the GTA last month was up 3.5 per cent on a year-overyear basis, to $807,340. The average sale price for a condo in Toronto was $603,153, compared to $461,013 in the 905.

Renovation spending is also at an all-time high: $12.3 billion was spent on home alterations and improvements in Ontario in the first half of 2018, according to Altus Group.

Homebuying intentions are up, as well, despite affordability and qualifying challenges. An Altus Group survey of current homeowners and current renters showed that most GTA households are saying yes, they plan to buy a home in the next year or so.

The evidence doesn’t lie. Households and investors alike see the GTA housing market as a quality long-term investment. And why shouldn’t they? A thriving and diverse regional economy and a steady stream of 100,000-plus new arrivals in the GTA each year — more migration than any other city in Canada — will keep this market strong for years to come.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years.

In2ition.ca

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