During a year in which numerous records have been established by the performance of the greater Toronto residential resale market, it is not surprising to discover that a new record was set in September. The 8,200 properties reported sold was a record number for properties sold for any September since the Toronto Real Estate Board has been maintaining statistics. September was just another month in a string of months in which Toronto area buyers remained determined either to buy for the first time or move up to a more expensive property. As a result, the cumulative total of reported property sales for the first 9 months of 2015 is 80,331. The record for sales, set in 2007 at 93,193, when the average sale price was only $376,236, is on the verge of falling.
If there is a concern with the Toronto resale market place it is available inventory. Notwithstanding that September was a record breaking month, the positive variance of reported sales as compared to September 2014 was only 2.5 percent, the lowest positive monthly variance in almost two years. There is simply not enough freehold, detached and semi-detached supply, to meet the constant demand for housing in Toronto.
It is the lack of supply that is primarily responsible for the constantly increasing price of housing in Toronto. It now costs more than $1 Million to buy the average detached home. In Toronto’s central districts the average price of a detached house is now almost $1.7 Million. There are districts in the west (Kingsway) and districts in the east (Riverdale and the Beach) where the average sale price for a detached house is also $1 Million or more.
8 Brumell Ave, Toronto | $1,048,000
Overall the average sale price for the greater Toronto area came in at $627,395, 9.2 percent higher than last September’s average sale price of $574,424. Toronto’s average sale price has practically doubled in the last 10 years. In 2005 the average sale price was a mere $335,907. No doubt these constantly rising prices have been motivating buyers to get into the market and become homeowners. That and the historically low interest rates.
Aside from rising prices, the market has changed in other ways since 2005. In September 2005 the market reported 7,326 property sales. At the time that was a record, as September 2015’s 8,200 sales established a new record. In 2005 it took almost 40 days for all properties to sell. This September the average days on the market was only 22, and that number was made higher by the large number of condominium apartments included in that statistic. In the last decade the manner in which buyers purchase properties has clearly changed. The slow, deliberate process no longer exists. Today buyers are more educated, by their realtors and by information in the public domain (realtor.ca). They now know what they want, and when it becomes available, offers are submitted, which often result in multiple and pre-emptive offers. In some districts the average days on market can be calculated in single digits.
38 Earl St, Toronto | $995,000
The other major change between 2005 and today is the price that buyers will pay for properties on the market. There were few instances where buyers paid asking or slightly higher in 2005, and when they did it was not with the consistency in the overall market that we witness today. In September all detached properties across the entire greater Toronto area sold for 100 percent of their asking price. In the city of Toronto it was 101 percent. All semi-detached properties sold for 102 percent of their asking prices. In the city of Toronto it was an eye-popping 105 percent, 107 percent in the eastern districts and 106 percent in the central districts, where the average sale price for a semi-detached property came in at almost $1 Million.
Sales of properties were not restricted to the lower end of the market. There were 903 properties reported sold having a sale price in excess of $1 Million, 154 having a sale price of $2 Million or more. In September there were 32 properties reported sold having a sale price in excess of $3 Million, 28 percent more than the 25 properties sold in this category in September 2014. It would appear that the high end of real estate sales in Toronto now begins at $3 Million.
340 Russell Hill Rd, Toronto | $3,495,000
Going forward the concern is the shortage of inventory and the impact it will have on prices and ultimately on affordability. At the end of September there were 16,165 properties available for sale, 7.3 percent less than the 17,765 that were available at the same time last year. That translates into only 1.9 months of inventory in the greater Toronto area, and 2.2 months of inventory in the city of Toronto, the higher level of available inventory due primarily to the high concentration of condominium apartments. This shortage of inventory will continue to generate competition for detached and semi-detached properties that become available for sale, and sale prices will continue to escalate. Given the demand in Toronto, the only thing that will prevent October’s numbers from reaching new records is the lack of available properties for sale.