Real Estate Market Update

Dear Friends,

Toronto Real Estate Board REALTORS reported 8,940 sales in March 2015, an 11% increase over March 2014. Sales were up for most major home types, both in the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions. The number of homes available for sale increased to 15,295, but remained 5.5% less than March 2014, indicating tighter market conditions. While the average year to date home price on the Toronto real estate board increased to $594,827, (Up 5% from the start of the year), lower interest rates went a long way to mitigate the effect of rising home prices.

The MLS® HPI Composite Index, which tracks benchmark homes with the same attributes from one period to the next, was up by 7.9 %. Average price growth was strongest for detached homes in the City of Toronto, at 15.9 per cent. Over the same period the detached MLS® HPI in the '416' area code increased 7.8 %.

It seems unlikely that there will be a slowdown in the market. As if strong demand, low interest rates and out of country investors were not enough, we now have a new factor for continued price growth in Canada, the lower Canadian dollar! A lower Canadian dollar will not only motivate Canadians to vacation in Canada, but will also attract vacationers from the US and other countries. This will result in a stronger economy and more jobs which allows and motivates more Canadians to buy real estate. Most foreign investors deal in US dollars and now Canada is on sale for 20% less! More investors, more competition, increased prices.

It is still a great time to buy real estate! While price is an important factor, so is affordability, which is a measure of interest rates, and low interest are projected to stay at these levels for the foreseeable future. While I believe it’s a good time to buy and that prices will increase, not all properties will increase at the same speed, and some properties may not increase or even drop in value before inflation and demand do their job. The difference? That’s where my expertise and knowledge of the market comes in, (as well as my negotiating skills). Knowing the good locations and values vs the not so good!

If you know of anyone considering buying or selling, or if you are considering an investment property, give me a call, I would be happy to share my knowledge and expertise with you.

Have a Great April!

 

Your Friend in Real Estate.

PS. I am never too busy for your referrals!


Market Update

Dear Friend,

 

The Toronto real estate market continued at a very brisk pace with 10,180 homes sold in June, up 15.4% from June 2013. Average prices also rose on a year to date basis with the average price of homes sold during the first half of the year at $567,953, 9% greater than the first half of 2013.

Focus on Luxury Homes

In this month’s letter, I wanted to provide you with an update on the Greater Toronto Area luxury home market.

What is a Luxury Home?

The most objective and common way to define a luxury home is by its price.   Five or more years ago, the commonly understood price that defined a luxury home was if it sold for $1.0 million or more.   This level generally represented the 95% percentile of sale prices in the GTA; only 5% of homes sold for $1.0 million or more.

Based on that definition, a luxury home in the GTA is now one that has a price of over $1.25 million.   This is roughly the 95% percentile of average sale prices with only 2,222 homes selling for this amount or more out of the total of 48,758 homes that sold during the first half of 2014.

Trade-up Opportunities

Luxury homes, in all markets, take longer on average to sell than homes that have lower prices.  This is simply due to the limited number of buyers that are available for these homes at any given time.

So in today’s market, if you have a home that is worth less than $1.25 million, the timing may be perfect for a trade-up for you to a luxury home.   Your existing home, if marketed and priced well by a professional, will sell quickly with a lot of demand whereas the luxury homes that you may be interested in will generally have less demand and therefore provide you with more time and choice as a buyer.

Please call me if you are interested in assessing whether now if the time for a trade-up or you are interested in any more information about the luxury home market.

Have a great month, and don’t forget, I truly appreciate your referrals!

Your friend in real estate.


It's a great time to sell

Dear Friend,

The Toronto real estate market continued its strong pace with 9,706 homes sold in April, up almost 2% from April 2013. While the number of sales remained fairly consistent, there were 2 major statistical changes from 2013. The first was the average sale price which price rose dramatically in April to an average year-to-date price of $559,208 up 7% from 2013’s average price of $523,013. That sharp rise in price was caused by the second factor, 8.4% fewer homes for sale which resulted in multiple offers on well-priced homes.

While we all want to see the value of our homes increase, a sharp increase in price is not beneficial to first-time homebuyers trying to save up enough for a down payment. If the number of first time buyers decreases sharply, it affects the prices of all homes.

It’s been said that for every time interest rates go up a quarter of a percent, 5,000 buyers can no longer qualify for a mortgage and thus cannot buy. With fewer buyers there is less competition which affects prices and sales. We can only hope that as the weather warms up, more homes will come up for sale and ease the pressure on demand and prices.

I believe demand will continue to be strong throughout 2014 and if the listing inventory increases, there will be an easing of prices and the sharp increase of prices will not continue.

Is your mortgage coming up shortly for renewal? It’s very common for mortgage companies to send you mortgage renewal documents and they make it seem very easy for you to renew your mortgage at a very low renewal rate. However, mortgage companies and banks usually do not quote you their best rates on these automatic renewals. If you get such a renewal notice, please feel free to give me a call and I’m quite confident I can save you substantial money on your mortgage renewal.

 

Have a great month, and don’t forget I truly appreciate your referrals!

 

Your friend in real estate.


Spring is in the Air. What's up with the market??

Dear Friend,

A total of 8,081 sales were reported in March 2014 – up by 7.2% in comparison to March 2013. This brings the year to date total to 17,897 homes sold, up 3% over the same time period in 2013.

The adverse weather conditions postponed many Sellers decision to place their homes for sale, and this lack of inventory of available homes for sale created a situation that encouraged bidding wars and strong prices for those homes on the market. The result? The average sales price rose to $549,068, up 8.5% over the same time period last year.

Maybe you’ve heard this story – but it’s good enough to repeat any day.

Recently, a firm installed a large piece of machinery.  When everything was set, ready to let ‘er rip, the thing simply wouldn’t start “no how.”

Engineers were called in right and left, and each in turn fiddled around, but no luck.  She just wouldn’t go, and that was that!  Finally, as a last resort, a foreman called in a two-bit mechanic. (So they thought).

In he strolled with his small sledge hammer, and walked over to the machine.  He glanced here and there for a moment, and then set his eyes on one spot.  He struck three blows with the hammer; and lo and behold, much to the surprise of the on-lookers, off she went!

“Just how much do we owe you?” yelled the foreman.

“One thousand and three dollars,” replied the mechanic.

“What’s the thousand and three bucks for?” asked the foreman.

“Three bucks for three blows, and a thousand bucks for knowing where to hit,” the mechanic retorted.

So, in the long run, if a fellow knows his business, it’s a cinch; and if not, it’s too bad for him and the other fellow he’s doing it for.

When it comes to real estate, I know “where to hit” .You are taking no chances when you let me serve you or your friends. After all, you have a friend in real estate and I take special care of my friends!

 

Have a great April!

 

Your Friend in Real Estate.


Great Rates, Warmer Market, Still Snowing

Dear Friend,

With the days getting longer and some warmth finally coming from the sun, spring is just around the corner and the spring real estate market has begun.  Sales in February, even though one of the coldest on record, were about the same as last year coming in at 5,731 (compared to last year’s 5,613) - a good month for real estate given the cold that we all had to endure.

The inventory of homes for sale is still very low throughout the Greater Toronto Area with only 14,019 homes available for sale right now.  The significance of this number becomes very clear when you consider that the number of homes for sale, at the exact same time 10 years ago, on February 28, 2004, was 17,640 or 26% more.  It is even more amazing when you realize that the GTA’s population has grown by over 500,000 people over that same 10 year period of time.  Given these factors, multiple offers will continue for well-priced homes throughout the spring season.   What a great time to list your home for sale.

And of course if you sell your home, you have to buy another one.

If you are in the market to buy a home, you are also in a great position this spring.   Discounted rates for 5 year fixed mortgages are now back to the lowest levels seen since the early 1960’s with rates approaching the 3.00% level.  Combine this with the expected strong price growth through 2014, and it’s also a great time to buy.

In addition, there are some great positives on the economic front right now for Ontario.   The decrease in the Canadian Dollar versus the U.S. Dollar, combined with the economic recovery occurring in the U.S., should help increase the rate of job growth this year and help to reduce the overall unemployment rate in the province and in the GTA.    Ontario should finally be getting a long awaited economic boost like they have been experiencing in Western Canada for many years.

 

Please call me if you would like any further details about the market or are thinking of buying and selling.   I am never too busy for you, nor too busy for your referrals.

 

Thanks very much and I look forward to talking to you soon.

 

Your Friend in Real Estate.


Real Estate Market Update

Dear Friend,

The winter of 2013/2014 may be one of the fiercest winters Torontonians have faced, but it did not deter the serious buyers as they braved the harsh conditions to purchase 4,135 homes, slightly down from last year’s 4229 sales.

What the snow did affect was the number of homes that were listed for sale, 11,903 vs last year’s 14,231 or 16% less. This lack of inventory created multiple offer situations and resulted in January’s average selling price of $526,528 – up by more than 9% compared to $482,080 in January 2013. 

The major change that is occurring is the recovery of the US economy. Analysts are reporting that real estate prices have recovered and are 15% below their height in 2007. (The only exception is Florida, where its 30% below its peak). This recovery has sparked the Canadian/US exchange rate to fall to $1 Canadian to .90 US with some predicting it will drop further to .80 cents. The lower exchange rate will stimulate our economy through tourism and of course exports, always a good thing as a Canadian living at home, but more expensive when we travel!

With the economic boost, there will be more jobs and more buyers entering the market, so real estate investment is still a great opportunity. If you are considering it, or know of a friend who is, let’s get together and talk. If you are considering a retirement investment in Florida, it’s still not too late! I will be happy to set you up with a US real estate expert in whatever State or city you are considering!

Have a great month and remember, I really appreciate your referrals!

Yours Sincerely

Your Friend in Real Estate.


2013 Real Estate Market Review & 2014 Prognosis

Dear Friend,


2013 Real Estate in Review.
 

With December’s 4,078 residential transactions , (up by almost 14 per cent compared to 3,582 sales in December 2012) the 2013 total sales ended the year at 87,111, up about 2% over 2012’s 85,496. New listings were down by almost 4% over the same period.


Due to negative speculation about real estate values in the media, the sales in the first half of 2013 were sluggish as consumers became wary about purchasing, and sales were down compared to the same period in 2012. The second half of 2013 was marked by brisk sales, as consumers realized that prices and demand had continued and that as Franklin D Roosevelt said in his 1933 inaugural address, “there was nothing to fear but fear itself!” 
The average selling price for 2013 as a whole was $523,036, which represented an increase of 5.2 % compared to the calendar year 2012 average of $497,130.


2014 Prognosis


The average selling price will be up again in 2014 and by more than the rate of inflation, probably 4%-7%, as the seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA. Neighbourhoods of low-rise home types like singles, semis and town-homes, will continue to be in demand as they are the neighbourhoods that are in great demand by first time buyers.
 

Continued immigration, the good economy, a positive outlook about the future and low interest rates, all will continue to drive the real estate market in 2014, and the future looks great for home ownership. Condominium sales will continue to be strong in 2014 as investors and young people continue to snap up condominiums in prime downtown locations. A strong rental market assures investors of great returns and hi demand as Toronto continues to grow.
 

All in all it’s a great time to buy Toronto Real Estate. If you are considering a purchase in 2014, let me encourage you to do it now. The harsh weather discourages buyers from looking now, and represent a great opportunity while there is less competition!
 

If you have any questions, or know of someone who could use my expertise, please give me a call, I would be happy to help.
 

All the best in the New Year,

Your Friend In Real Estate.


December Market Update

Dear Friend,

The Toronto Real Estate Market continues to be a great investment as November's average selling price jumped to $538,881, up 11.3% over last November’s $484,208. This now brings the average price of a single family home in the GTA to $523,216, up over 5% from 2012.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 6,391 residential sales through the Toronto MLS system in November, representing a 13.9 per cent increase over the sales for November 2012. While pundits continue to offer their negative opinions about condominiums, almost 24% of November’s sales (1,515) were condo apartments that sold at an average price of $354,864, up 9% from the same period last year.

As I had reported to you in previous months, the last 6 months of 2013 were expected to be extremely strong due to the pent up demand and a limited inventory of correctly priced homes on the market. Correctly priced is within 5% of market value. It seems like a very small difference, but homes even priced at 10% over market will languish without offers or activity until they come within that 5% value. Why? Simply put, agents have access to market data, as do buyers due to the internet and access to information. Thus overpriced properties do not get the traffic required to get them sold and the average buyer is not prepared to play a long negotiation game with an unrealistic seller. Homes priced within 5% of market value generally sold within 19 days and got a higher sale price than those homes that were overpriced to start.

December and the next 7-8 month period will continue to be stronger than 2013, as low mortgage rates continue to keep the monthly mortgage rates affordable. The affordability factor plus a limited number of homes on the market, inflation and the desire for home ownership will continue to raise prices. I expect the price of an average home to increase between 5%-6% in 2014. As the expression goes, "Have you bought your land yet? We are not making any more!"

I will be working over the holiday season, so if you have any questions, or know of someone interested in buying or selling, please let me know. I would love to help!

Best wishes to you and your family over the holiday season, and have a healthy and prosperous 2014!


November Market Update

Dear Friend,

 

The Toronto Real Estate Market continues to be hot as Realtors reported 8,000 home sales through the Toronto MLS system in October 2013, up almost 20% from 6,713 transactions reported in October 2012. Over the same period, the supply of homes for sale went down to 18,557, compared to the 20,737 in 2012. This combination of fewer listing and higher sales fueled an increase in the average selling price in October to $539,058, up 7.4% over October's $502,127.

The factors that have led to the hot market have not changed. Immigration into the GTA, both foreign and domestic (other provinces), low mortgage rates, a good economy and a stable government, (crack smoking aside), have created the GTA as an ideal place to live and work. Consequently as population increases, so does the demand for homes and the ensuing increase in prices. It appears that 2014 will continue the trend of increasing demand and higher real estate prices.

This trend is duplicated in the United States as they recover from their issues. Property in the "retirement" states of Florida and Arizona has started to increase, and dramatically in some high demand areas like Scottsdale and Miami. The key with these facts is how to take advantage of the trend. Buying real estate is the obvious answer. It may seem self serving for me to suggest buying real estate, but the fact is, it is the wise investment for the long term.

If you are considering a purchase in the States, give me a call, I will make sure to set you up with an experienced full time professional who knows the areas you are interested in.  If you have children who will be going to university soon or are looking to upgrade your home or purchase an investment property, I would be pleased to help.

Also, if you know anyone thinking of buying or selling, I would appreciate a call.  

I always have time for your referrals!

 

Have a great November,

 

Your Friend in Real Estate.


October Market Update

Dear Friend,

As I predicted in last month's newsletter, the fall real estate market exploded with a huge increase in sales compared to October 2012. I was conservative in my predictions of a 20% increase in sales, as the actual increase was 30%! 7,411 single family homes sold in September 2013 compared to 5,687 transactions reported in September 2012. This brings the year-to-date total of residential sales reported through the Toronto MLS system to 68,907 during the first nine months of 2013, and on target to over 90,000 homes sold in 2013, making it one of the most active years for real estate trading hands.

Through the first three quarters of 2013, the average selling price was $520,118 – up by over four per cent compared to the first nine months of 2012.

The "surge" in sales was really easy to predict. The factors that created the result started in the spring of this year, as mortgage lending guidelines were tightened to ensure home owners could afford to maintain their mortgage payments should rates increase. That move led some individuals seeking "headlines" to predict that the real estate bubble was about to burst and prices would fall. This negative press made many people postpone their home purchase. As the months progressed and no meltdown occurred and prices continued to increase, buyers regained confidence and returned to the market. So in many ways, the traditionally strong spring real estate market has been delayed to the fall/winter season.

The real reason for Toronto's strong real estate market is immigration. If you have not noticed, we have grown like crazy and immigration levels will not diminish for the next 5 years. That has created the demand for houses and the resulting construction boom. Those who cannot afford to buy are renting and that means condominiums. Downtown condominiums are being sold at a bargain price of $500-$700 per sq ft, with rental rates of $1,800 - $2,200 per month for an average 600 sq ft unit. This represents a great investment opportunity in many different ways.

The market will continue to be strong over the next several months and there are many great opportunities for either investing or upgrading your home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call, and remember, "I am never too busy for your referrals!"

 

Your Friend in Real Estate