The year is coming to an end, but there is no slowing down the Toronto resale market. The record for most sales in the greater Toronto area in any year has already been shattered, and there is still the month of December. The 8,547 sales reported in November took the total year-to-date sales to 107,840, breaking the previous annual record of 101,212 achieved only last year. In all likelihood there should be about 5000 (or slightly more) sales in December. That will bring the year-end total to approximately 113,000 reported residential resales, a truly remarkable feat. Ten years ago, there were only 83,084 reported sales in the greater Toronto area.
This record speaks to the two prominent characteristics of the greater Toronto area market. Firstly, the deep-seated desire for home ownership, and secondly, the rapidly growing population of the area. With approximately 100,000 people immigrating to the Toronto area annually it is very unlikely that much will change in 2017, subject of course to any dramatic increase in mortgage interest rates.
Total annual sales was not the only new record set in November. The average sale price for all sales in the greater Toronto area came in at $776,684. The previous monthly record was set in October at $762,525. It should be noted that monthly average sale price records being set so late in the year is an anomaly. Historically the market reaches its monthly peak in May or June, and thereafter average monthly sale prices begin to decline. For example, in May of last year the average sale price came in at $649,648. That was a record. No month following last May came close to eclipsing that record. A new record wasn’t set until February of this year with an average sale price of $685,738. February’s record has been shattered six times since then, the most recent record being achieved in November. Early data indicates that the Toronto and area marketplace might even establish a new record in December, until recently an unthinkable occurrence.
A third record establish in November was the average days on market that it took properties to sell in the greater Toronto area. It took only 17 days for all properties (on average) to sell. By comparison it took 26 days last year, an accelerated pace of almost 35 percent. In the City of Toronto it took only 15 days for detached homes to sell, and only 11 days for semi-detached properties to be snapped up by buyers.
The average sale price for detached properties in the City of Toronto is now $1,345,962, and for a semi-detached house you must be prepared to pay $906,353. It must be unthinkable to be a buyer who for whatever reason was going to buy a year ago and then did not proceed. That mythical buyer could have bought that same detached house for just over $1,000,000, and that same semi-detached house for approximately $840,000 last year. The percentage change year-over-year is 32 and 20 percent respectively.
As has been set out in previous market reports, the only affordable housing options for buyers are condominium apartments, but even this housing form is becoming pricey. In November, the average sale price for condominium apartments in the central core of the city, where most condominiums are located, came at $526,116. This represents a 13 per cent increase compared to the average price last year. The volume of condominium apartment sales has also increased dramatically. Sales were up by almost 28 percent compared to last year. What is becoming worrisome is the rapidly declining volume of available listings of condominiums apartments. At month end in the City of Toronto there were only 2,002 condominium apartments for sale. When one considers that there were 1,718 condominium apartment sales in the same month, you don’t need to know any form of high mathematics to concluded that we will be out of stock of condominium apartments for sale if this pace of sales continues and it no doubt will, considering that condominium apartments are still (comparatively) affordable. It should be noted that at the other end of the condominium apartment spectrum, 14 condominium apartments sold in November having a sale price that exceeded $2 Million.
The supply shortage is not restricted to condominium apartments, but is impacting the overall marketplace. In November the total number of active listings available to buyers was almost 36 percent less than last year at this time. In actual numbers this amounts to only 8,639 properties, or only 1.2 months of inventory. This will be a hot point affecting the residential resale market in the early months of 2017.