Canada's Condominium Magazine
It might not be an exaggeration to say that a lot of stakeholders in the real estate market, from realtors to bankers to builders to buyers and sellers, have been holding their breath waiting for the early June sales numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). Now that these numbers are out, there could be a loud whoosh of all that pent-up air blowing over the city. As TREB has been saying all along that they would, sales did in fact improve again in the first half of June, compared to the same period last year. If the trend continues through the month, June will be the first month this year to see higher sales than last year.
TREB reports that 4,620 sales went through the Toronto MLS system during the first two weeks of June, up by 4.7 per cent compared to the first two weeks of June 2012. This year-over-year sales growth was driven more by the areas surrounding the City of Toronto. Home sales in the city (416) were flat compared to last year—up for semi-detached houses and condominiums, down for detached houses and townhouses. Condo sales were up 2.2 per cent in the 416 area and 1.9 per cent overall.
On the release of May’s housing statistics, which showed year-over-year sales down by 3.4 per cent, but month-over-month sales up, the chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, Doug Porter, was reported to say mockingly that the stability shown in the market must be maddening to the “legions of bubble mongers,” with their talk of an “imminent collapse.” With today’s numbers, TREB president Ann Hannah gave an understated interpretation.
“The expectation was for an improvement in home sales in the second half of 2013. Early June results are in line with this outlook. Many households have adapted to stricter lending guidelines and have renewed their search for ownership housing,” said Hannah.
Hannah also noted that while sales were up, new listings were down over the same period. The result is that market conditions became tighter, accounting for the “moderate to strong” price growth reported for most major home types, including condominiums.
The average selling price for the first fourteen days of June was $536,141, up by 3.8 per cent compared to June 2012.
Price growth in the GTA this year has mainly been driven by low-rise home types, but condo prices have also risen since March.
“Despite higher inventory levels, there have been enough buyers relative to available listings to support condo price appreciation,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.