Tag Archives: Real Estate Market


Behind the numbers: The GTA housing market in April 2020

Latest News

Behind the numbers: The GTA housing market in April 2020

TRREB released two market reports covering the month of April: the mid-April market update and the regular monthly Market Watch. Market conditions unfolded in a relatively uniform manner throughout April. Necessary physical distancing measures that continue to remain in place under the provincial state of emergency go hand-in-hand with the decline in resale housing market activity.

There were 2,975 sales reported through TRREB’s MLS system in April 2020, down 67 per cent on a year-over- year basis. Weekday sales remained within a relatively steady range during the month, averaging 130 sales per day.

Matching the decline in sales was the decline in new listings. In April, the number of new listings entered into the MLS system was down by 64.1 per cent year-over-year to 6,174.

Home prices, on the other hand, remained flat on a year-over-year basis. The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area for April 2020 was $821,392 – up 0.1 per cent compared to April 2019. The number of sales remained high enough relative to listings to provide support for home prices, on average, at last year’s levels.

COVID-19 and its impact on the housing market

COVID-19 has impacted home sales and listings across the GTA. Realtors are adapting and have been able to facilitate transactions on behalf of buyers and sellers through the use of technology and innovative techniques, including virtual open houses.

Looking back at the first quarter of 2020 through the first two weeks of March, we saw a near-record pace for home sales and double-digit annual rates of price growth. However, when thinking about home prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that the pace of price growth is dictated by the relationship between sales and listings.

So, while the onset of COVID-19 has understandably shifted market conditions and resulted in average selling prices coming off their March peak, there has continued to be enough active buyers relative to available listings to keep prices in line with last year’s levels.

It’s also important to note that breaking down recessions of the past, in addition to looking at their recovery phases, it does not necessarily provide the best guide on how the housing market will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key factor for the housing market recovery will be a broader reopening of the economy, which will result in an improving employment picture and a resurgence in consumer confidence. The province is currently undertaking carefully measured and monitored steps towards safely opening up some parts of the economy.

TRREB continues to encourage its member realtors to use alternative marketing strategies such as video and virtual tours wherever possible, under the current state of emergency, and to continue to follow directives and guidance being given by the government and public health agencies.

TRREB is further supporting its members by offering an improved virtual learning environment through its professional development department. Members are being educated on ways to use technology in innovative ways to conduct business virtually. They are also being provided with tools and services to meet clients’ needs.

Michael Collins is president of the Toronto 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 trreb.ca.


Featured Products


TCS Marketing Systems

Latest News

TCS Marketing Systems

With decades of experience, the people behind this company provide keen insights

In the fast-changing Toronto area real estate market, the team at TCS Marketing Systems always has their fingers on the pulse. The people behind this innovative sales and marketing consulting agency excel at anticipating coming trends, due to their three decades of experience, keen insight and extensive market data.

TCS Marketing Systems has been involved in numerous projects across the GTA and Ontario, including mid- and high-rise condos, townhomes, single-detached homes and master-planned communities. The company has a single guiding principle – integrity – and has set itself apart by being the first consultants in and last out on every project.

Mark Cohen (centre back row) and his TCS Marketing Systems management team.

Wealth of experience

Managing partner of TCSMS is Mark Cohen, a highly respected and well known expert in the industry. His wealth of experience includes key roles with powerhouse developers, including Bramalea Ltd., Menkes Developments, Concord Adex and Tribute Communities. Throughout his career, Cohen has pioneered many of the sales and marketing strategies that are now common in today’s marketplace and is always on the lookout for the next breakthrough.

“When Mark is in the room with the architects, he thinks about what people do after they come home and throw their keys on the table,” says Onkar Dhillon, vice-president of operations and one of The Condo Store’s founding members. “He thinks about how they live. We are designing with consumers in mind. For example, Amazon delivery is the way people get parcels, so we’re adding automated parcel delivery rooms. That’s the kind of thoughtfulness required in design.”

Dhillon has been working with Cohen for 20 years, since they met when Cohen was vice-president of sales and marketing for Concord Adex’s Cityplace, the largest residential highrise development in Toronto history.

Better projects, better designs

Condos used to be subordinate to lowrise homes, Dhillon says, but condos are a lifestyle choice and the challenge is to create better projects and design better spaces to serve consumers.

“Our philosophy is there is a condo for every person, and there’s a purchaser for every condo,” says Glen Buttigieg, vice-president of sales. “We make a case for every condo, whether it’s to take in the morning sun, to see the lake, or the advantage of being near the rooftop terrace. We painstakingly comb over every suite, trying to find the advantage and tailor it for each buyer. Our agents are listening to buyers and determining what suite would serve them best.”

For TCSMS’s developer clients, Cohen and company get in early, sitting in on all of a project’s marketing and design meetings and then create a rationale. They continue working with the same care and commitment until the last unit is sold, understanding the importance of making the projects profitable for their clients.

“What I influence is the design, marketing, sales and customer relationships for different projects,” says Cohen. “Instead of working on 12 projects for one person like I used to, I work on 12 for 12 different builders.”

Bungalow on Mercer Street in downtown Toronto.

TCSMS is equally well-versed in selling and marketing high-, mid-, and lowrise developments. Buyers’ expectations are changing. Due to constraints on land available for building and affordability, people are realizing they don’t have to aspire to 4,500-sq.-ft. houses in rural settings and can live well in smaller homes.

“The market doesn’t want space for space’s sake,” adds Serena Quaglia, vice-president of marketing. “People want common space, a study nook… that’s the challenge for the lowrise market. It’s not going anywhere, but the designs are not what they used to be.”

Quaglia brings more than a decade’s experience in the design, marketing and sales of master-planned communities and believes today’s buyers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable when it comes to evaluating properties. “The most important role we play when working with developers is our ability to accurately represent the needs and desires of each and every buyer. And that starts with being great listeners.”

Altered approach

For example, Bungalow is an ultraluxury condo project by Kalovida Canada Inc. in the heart of the Entertainment and Financial Districts, with just 13 units, just one per floor. Cohen recognized that buyers spending $2.5 million for a suite – hedge fund managers, athletes, entertainment industry types – would likely not be using them as primary residences, but as places to entertain and relax when they were in town. This type of clientele wants a certain type of wine cellar, concierge and modest, rather than overthe- top luxury.

In another example, construction is starting soon at 293 The Kingsway, a luxury condominium by the Benvenuto Group. The Kingsway is a classic Toronto neighbourhood with lush, green streets and good schools, and 293 reflects the prestigious area, with large units, a park-like setting and stylish contemporary design.

And for Wycliffe Homes’ Promenade luxury townhouse development in Thornhill, TCSMS largely focused marketing around the developer, wellknown for its white-glove treatment, first-class finishes, exceptional locations and the opportunity it gives buyers to customize. Staying true to the prestigious Thornhill neighbourhood, Promenade’s townhomes are classy and tasteful, with top-notch features and finishes.

Whether it’s dealing with super luxury projects or condos geared to first-time buyers or investors, TCS Marketing Systems brings the same level of dedication to each one and works until the last unit is sold.

“Real estate is one service that hasn’t been greatly altered by technology,” says Cohen. “Homes are still sold by people, not machines. The quality of renderings is better, the ways to communicate more extensive, but at the end of the day, whether you are selling something to a client or to a customer or pushing a consultant to do something, most of it involves eye-to-eye contact. People move people to move mountains, and that hasn’t changed.”


Featured Products


Home Realty: Toronto Housing Market Can’t Be Stopped

Latest News

Home Realty: Toronto Housing Market Can’t Be Stopped

Strong fundamentals mean it’s headed upwards

The construction consulting firm Rider Levett Bucknall recently released its RLB Crane Index for the third quarter of 2018, which is a report on the number of construction cranes in major American and Canadian cities during the most recent quarter.

Guess which city topped the list? For the third time in a row, it was Toronto, which nabbed the No. 1 spot with 97 cranes (that’s up from 88 in January, and 72 a year ago). Interestingly, 85 of those cranes are being used on residential projects. In case you’re wondering, Seattle was a distant second on the list, with 65 cranes, followed by Chicago (40) and Los Angeles (36).

All those construction cranes in Toronto can only mean one thing: the city’s condo market is thriving. And with strong fundamentals underpinning its growth, the market is headed nowhere but up, despite what naysayers may say.

The market is being driven by ongoing migration to the GTA, which sees 100,000 new arrivals each year on average. All those people will need to live somewhere.

The Toronto market is also being fuelled by low mortgage interest rates; yes, they’ve been hiked in recent months, but they’re still quite low compared to historic rates (recall mortgage rates topped out at a whopping 18.45 per cent in the early 1980s).

Then there’s the fact that the lowrise housing market continues to face serious supply challenges, with far more people looking for detached homes that simply aren’t available, or are far too expensive for the average buyer to afford.

This has shifted momentum to the condominium market, which had its best year in 2017, with more than 36,000 new condo sales, according to the Altus Group. Hence the reason why we’re seeing so many construction cranes dotting the skyline.

The Toronto condo market’s momentum is being propelled by investors looking to snap up units to rent out to desperate apartment hunters in a city where vacancy hovers around 1 per cent, and by first-time buyers, who have all but given up on the dream of owning a single-family home. Plus many boomers are now moving out of larger homes and want to live in condos for their convenience and central locations.

Yet affordability continues to be significant problem with pent-up demand for lowrise homes, which, owing to a chronic shortage of developable residential land, can’t be built in large enough quantity to supply the market.

Toronto’s housing market is perennially one of the world’s top performers, and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Some observers persist on maintaining that we’re due for a severe correction, that the market can’t possibly remain this strong for this long — surely the boom will soon turn into a bust, they say.

But critics have been trying to count out the GTA housing market for years, and yet Toronto continues to defy the naysayers, its condo sector especially.

All those construction cranes dotting the sky are testament to the vigour of Toronto’s housing market, which actually can’t produce units quickly enough to meet demand. This is a city that is attracting people from around world in droves, whether it be for job opportunities or simply to live in a place that is peaceful, safe and culturally diverse.

Doomsayers might be disappointed, but the GTA’s red-hot real estate market refuses to cool off.

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


Featured Products

THE REALTY SPECIALIST: Ottawa a hot market for investors

THE REALTY SPECIALIST: Ottawa a hot market for investors

Latest News

THE REALTY SPECIALIST: Ottawa a hot market for investors

Ottawa has always enjoyed a good and stable housing market, and right now the market is heating up.

by Derek Nzeribe
Milborne Group

OTTAWA – The city has become a hot real estate market for end-users, as well as Toronto-based and international investors, for numerous reasons. The Ottawa market is unique, in that the city holds the distinction of the highest household income in Canada, yet it is still seeing moderate real estate prices. This means that most potential home and condo buyers are not shopping at the top of their approval levels. A vast number of people work in Ottawa’s major industries and the federal government, so the job situation is good.

Although prices are rising, new lowrise homes and highrise condos are still far less expensive than in Toronto and other major cities across North America. Even on an international basis, compared to other major capital cities, Ottawa’s real estate is underpriced. In addition, the government regulations put in place last year to cool the market have had little effect on demand and sales the way they have in Toronto and Vancouver. We are seeing an influx of purchasers from Toronto, and even Montreal, who are looking for affordability and, at the moment, we have more demand than supply. Ottawa is experiencing a new wave in residential development, with a trend toward designing with end-users in mind.

Investors are attracted by Ottawa’s vacancy rate, which is very low at just 1.7 per cent, and to the increasing demand for rental accommodations. Investor-friendly rental stock boosted condo sales by 20 per cent in 2017. It is expected that the upswing in prices will continue without the fluctuations of a Calgary or Vancouver. All of this is good news for investors, who are gravitating toward both lowrise and highrise purchases. Over the past couple of years, investors have gone more for townhomes because of uncertainty in the marketplace, but that is changing, too. With the emergence of new condos and the incredible success of recently introduced buildings, confidence in highrise is back.

Keep in mind that condominiums in Ottawa are located in the suburbs as well as downtown. We see a lot of highrise development happening in annexes around the city’s core, such as Little Italy. These areas are vibrant locations with shops, restaurants and other amenities. People appreciate the fact that they can live just outside of the city and be downtown in five to 10 minutes.

Investors who rent out townhomes in these areas are realizing the potential in owning condo suites to diversify their real estate portfolios. The most popular areas are west of the city, where lowrise sales have been very active over the past two to three years. We are also seeing activity downtown, especially in the Byward Market area. This trend has a lot to do with major changes happening in those areas, such as the Rideau Centre and Art Gallery of Ottawa going through redevelopment stages. The trend is also fuelled by the introduction of the LRT and other infrastructure improvements that help people navigate the city efficiently. All of these changes affect the desirability to own real estate in these locations. Across Ottawa there is sufficient demand to satisfy the hot market here. We have an interesting population dynamic, in that quite a few people relocate here for reasons of work with the government. Ottawa is also experiencing a dramatic increase in high-tech companies setting up shops here – a big change since the old Nortel days. It all adds up to more people needing accommodations.

We have seen a steady growth in our population to just over one million people in the national capital region, and we are poised for more. Real estate prices are bound to rise. Purchasing a new home or condo suite in Ottawa now is a wise move, whether it is for a financial investment or to live here.

Derek Nzeribe is regional director, marketing and business development at Milborne Group in Ottawa.


Featured Products


Home Realty: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Latest News

Home Realty: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Context is key when seeking to understand the GTA real estate market

If you only pay attention to what is reported in the mainstream media about the GTA real estate market, it’s likely you’ll be getting an inaccurate picture of what’s actually happening.

This past March saw a total of 1,960 new home sales across the region, according to Altus Group. Of those sales, 1,649 were condominium apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings and stacked townhouses. This was down 67 per cent from March 2017, and down 21 per cent from the 10-year GTA average.

In the single-family home market, there were just 311 sales of detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses). This was up from the 265 homes sold in February, but down 77 per cent from March 2017, and down 79 per cent from the 10-year average.

At first glance, this might seem like a drastic drop in sales and the media tends to cite these sorts of figures as evidence that the GTA market could at long last be experiencing a correction.

But context is tremendously important here when it comes to understanding what is really going on.

For example, some of the demand that might have been seen in the early part of this year was brought forward last year, largely in anticipation of new mortgage restrictions. This contributed to a record year for condo apartment sales in 2017, the fourth strongest year for GTA new home sales since Altus Group started tracking the market in 2000.

And it’s likely that the cumulative effects of the government measures to cool the housing market are continuing to keep potential buyers out of the housing market, with many purchasers opting to take a wait-and-see approach. But the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and Altus Group say they expect home sales to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of this year.

While new home sales may have dropped compared to last year — again, 2017 was a record year and somewhat of an anomaly — prices have remained more or less consistent, although in the case of condos, they have been rising significantly.

In March, the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1,207,832, which was 7.4 per cent above last year, and the benchmark price for new condos rose to $742,801, 39.4 per cent above last March.

But again, context is important here.

It’s primarily the low supply of new housing that is keeping prices high. The supply of both condos and single-family homes dipped in March, with the total new home remaining inventory at 12,457 units (8,756 condos and 3,701 single family homes). This represents about four months of inventory. A healthy new home market would have nine to 12 months of inventory available for sale.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) notes that in order to fix the region’s housing supply problem, it’s essential that we remove barriers to development, including outdated zoning that doesn’t support intensification, government red tape and a lack of critical infrastructure.

New home sales have dipped, but rest assured they’ll be back up again soon. And if supply issues are rectified in accordance with BILD’s recommendations, price increases will moderate, as well.

So don’t believe everything you hear from the media: the GTA housing market is strong, resilient and — in the long run — as good a bet as they come.

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



Featured Products


Home Realty: Housing Should Be An Election Issue

Latest News

Home Realty: Housing Should Be An Election Issue

Proactive buyers can improve housing market conditions by voting for change

For buyers in search of somewhere to call home, the GTA real estate market can seem like a daunting place. In January, sales of new single-family homes in the GTA — including detached, link, semi-detached and townhouses — hit the lowest level for that month in almost 20 years, representing just 365 units out of the 1,251 total new homes sold in the first month of 2018, according to Altus Group.

Demand for single-family homes remains strong, but the number of units available on the market has been severely limited, largely as a result of provincial government policies that have constricted the supply of land that new homes can be built on. This has caused prices to soar. In January, the benchmark price for available new single-family homes rose 20 per cent compared to the same month in 2017, to $1.2 million.

The situation has forced buyers to look to the condo market, with apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounting for 71 per cent of new home sales, with 886 units sold. But buyers turning to the condo market for pricing relief aren’t faring much better. The benchmark price for condos in the first month of the year was up 41 per cent over January 2017 — to $714,430 — according to Altus Group.

The GTA is expected to grow to nearly 10 million people by 2041, and our provincial government needs to do more to increase housing supply, whether it’s simplifying approval processes, updating zoning by-laws or servicing developable land to bring more homes to the market.

It’s not just provincial politicians who are responsible for the issues currently facing the GTA housing market, however. Municipal governments have added to housing affordability challenges, particularly in Toronto, where home purchasers are hit with a double land transfer tax. On top of this, development charges paid by builders to municipalities continue to rise, and these increased costs are passed down to those purchasing homes, further worsening affordability.

And the federal government’s recent introduction of more stringent mortgage stress test requirement will make it more difficult for first-time buyers, seniors and average GTA residents to qualify for the amount of mortgage that they could have previously afforded.

All of this is contributing to a housing market that is far from fair for all, a place where soon only those with gobs of money will be able to participate.

But members of the public can play an important role in shaping the future of the housing market by being proactive. That is, by voting for candidates who support efforts to increase housing supply, and by not supporting politicians who pander to NIMBYs in their ridings.

There’s no better time than now for the public to be proactive. A provincial election is coming up in June, followed by municipal elections in October, and the next federal election is slated for 2019. All of these represent excellent opportunities for residents and aspiring homebuyers to make a big difference in determining the future of our housing market. So get out there and vote — use your ballot to tell politicians that things must change.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.


Featured Products