Toronto home sales down 9.7%
Greater Toronto Area realtors reported 4,476 transactions through the Toronto MLS system during the first 14 days of May. This result represented a decline of 9.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. Sales declines were larger for the City of Toronto, at 11.4 per cent, versus the surrounding regions where sales were down by 8.6 per cent year-over-year.
“Despite fewer sales this year compared to last, competition between buyers in most segments of the market remained strong enough to promote annual rates of price growth above the rate of inflation. A household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford the mortgage payments associated with the purchase of an average priced home,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.
The average selling price during the first two weeks of May was $543,838 – up by 5.4 per cent in comparison to the same time frame last year. Price growth was strongest for low-rise home types, but positive price growth for condo apartments in the City of Toronto was also reported.
“Continuing the prevailing trend over the last year, the low-rise segment of the market drove overall price growth during the first half of May, as months of inventory remained below historic norms for key home types,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Toronto MLS decision under appeal
The Competition Bureau has filed an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal today, seeking to overturn the Competition Tribunal’s ruling in the Toronto Real Estate Board's ‘abuse of dominance’ matter.
“The Bureau believes that the Tribunal’s ruling was based on an overly narrow interpretation of section 79 of the Competition Act — the ‘abuse of dominance’ provision. The Tribunal ruled that TREB, as an incorporated trade association, does not compete with its own members in the real estate brokerage market and therefore cannot be found to have contravened the abuse of dominance provision,” says the Bureau in a news release.
“Allowing the Tribunal’s finding to stand could leave a significant loophole in the application of the Competition Act,” says Interim Commissioner of Competition John Pecman in the release. “While most trade associations comply with the Competition Act, we are concerned that, if the Tribunal’s decision is left to stand, trade associations may be tempted to develop rules aimed at preventing or eliminating potential new forms of competition.”
Pecman says: “We believe that the Competition Tribunal erred in dismissing our application and in not ruling on the facts of the case. Tt is our view that TREB’s anti-competitive behaviour continues to restrict potential homebuyers and sellers from taking advantage of a greater range of service and pricing options when making one of the most significant financial transactions of their lives.”
Toronto Prices Up as Market Declines
Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 9,811 sales through the TorontoMLS system in April 2013, representing a dip of two per cent in comparison to 10,021 transactions in April 2012. Both new listings during the month and active listings at the end of April were up on a year-over-year basis.
“Despite the headwinds we have experienced in the housing market this year, April sales came in quite strong in comparison to last year. As we move through the spring and into the second half of 2013, the demand for home ownership should continue to firm-up relative to last year,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.
“It has been almost a year since the federal government enacted stricter mortgage lending guidelines. It is realistic to surmise that some households, who originally put their decision to purchase on hold, are once again looking to buy,” continued Ms. Hannah.
The average selling price for April 2013 transactions was $526,335 – up by two per cent in comparison to April 2012. The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark Price was up by 2.9 per cent.
“The condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto was a key driver of price growth in April, with both the average selling price and the MLS HPI apartment index up on a year-over-year basis. The improved condo sales picture, with Toronto sales down by only one per cent compared to last year, suggests that interest in condo ownership may be improving," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
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April MLS® Sales Down Slightly
Greater Toronto Realtors reported 4,260 sales through the Toronto MLS system during the first 14 days of April, representing a slight dip of less than one per cent compared to the same period in 2012. The reported sales figure did benefit from one extra working day compared to last year, because Good Friday in 2012 fell in April.
“April sales to date, which were driven by strong growth in single-detached home sales in the regions surrounding Toronto, represent a positive start to the spring market. Because market conditions have remained tight, we continue to see average price growth well above the rate of inflation for many home types,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.
The average selling price for April mid-month sales was $527,397 – up 4.3 per cent compared to $505,617 in 2012. Rates of average price growth were similar for the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions under the TREB market area.
“The annual rate of price growth so far in April is actually above TREB’s forecast of 3.5 per cent for 2013. Strong growth in the average condo apartment price in the City of Toronto was a key driver in this regard,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis
Sales down 17% - Price up 3.8%
Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 7,765 transactions through the Toronto MLS system in March 2013 – down 17 per cent compared to 9,385 transactions in March 2012. While the year-over-year dip in March sales followed the trend that has unfolded since mid-way through 2012, it is also important to note that the Good Friday holiday was in March this year versus April in 2012.
Generally speaking, there are fewer sales reported on statutory holidays and weekends. In the first quarter of 2013, sales amounted to 17,678 – down by 14 per cent compared to Q1 2012.
"Home ownership remains affordable for a household earning the average income in the Greater Toronto Area. There are many willing buyers in the marketplace today. While some households have put their decision to purchase on hold as a result of stricter lending guidelines or the additional Land Transfer Tax in the City of Toronto, other households simply haven’t been able to find the right house due to a shortage of listings in some market segments," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah. The average selling price in March was $519,879 – up by 3.8 per cent compared to March 2012. The average price in Q1 2013 was $508,066 – up by 3.2 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012.
"The average selling price and the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up on a year-over-year basis across most home types, especially in the low-rise market segments where supply remains an issue. TREB's average price forecast for 2013 remains at $515,000, representing a 3.5 per cent annual rate of growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Sales Down 11.5% - Prices Up 6%
Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 3,594 transactions through the Toronto MLS system during the first 14 days of March 2013 – down 11.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of new listings was up by less than two per cent.
“With sales down and listings up slightly, the GTA market was better supplied in the first half of March compared to last year. This fact notwithstanding, there has been enough competition between buyers to promote moderate to strong upward pressure on average selling prices for most home types on an annual basis,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.
“The average price for condominium apartments in the City of Toronto was up over last year. If this price growth continues, it may indicate that conditions are tightening slightly in this segment,” added Ms. Hannah.
The average selling price for the first two weeks of March was up by almost six per cent year-over-year to $532,102. Average prices were up for all major home type categories.
“Due to tight supply, the average annual rate of price growth for singles, semis and towns continues to far outpace the rate of inflation. The condo apartment segment has been a mitigating factor, which is why our forecast for price growth in 2013 remains at approximately 3.5 per cent or $515,000 for all home types combined,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Sales Down 15% - prices up 2%
Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 5,759 sales through the Toronto MLS system in February 2013 – a decline of 15 per cent in comparison to February 2012. It should be noted that 2012 was a leap year with one extra day in February. A 28 day year-over-year sales comparison resulted in a lesser decline of 10.5 per cent.
The average selling price for February 2013 was $510,580 – up two per cent in comparison to February 2012.
“The share of sales and dollar volume accounted for by luxury detached homes in the City of Toronto was lower this February compared to last. This contributed to a more modest pace of overall average price growth for the GTA as a whole,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.
“Stricter mortgage lending guidelines that precluded government backed mortgages on homes sold for over one million dollars and the City of Toronto’s additional upfront land transfer tax arguably played a role in the slower pace of luxury detached home sales,” added Ms. Hannah.
The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark price covering all major home types eliminates fluctuations in price growth due to changes in sales mix. The Composite Benchmark price was up by more than three per cent on a year-over-year basis in February.
“We will undoubtedly experience some volatility in price growth for some market segments in 2013. However, months of inventory in the low-rise market segment will remain low, resulting in average price growth above three per cent for the TREB market area this year. Our current average price forecast is $515,000 for all home types combined in 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
London home sales continue slow
Although home sales exceeded those of January 2013 by 138 units, 2013 continued to be slow out of the gate in February, with 448 detached homes exchanging hands – down 10.4% from February 2012 – and 128 condos – down 6.6%. Altogether sales were down 9.6% from the previous year. However, “February 2012 had 29 days, compared to last month, which had only 28 days,” points out Doug Pedlar, President of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®. “You wouldn’t think that a day makes much of a difference. However, on February 29 of last year, a total of 27 homes sold – 22 detached homes and 5 condos. If we to have had that extra day this month and the same sales volume, detached homes would be down only 7% and condos 3%, with the total number of homes sold down only 5%.“
Overall new listings were down 19.6% for detached homes and 13.9% for condos in February. Inventory – the number of active listings at month end – was also down, but less dramatically – by 6.8% overall. “That the market was pretty stagnant in February is bourn out by these numbers,” says Doug. “It wasn’t just that there were fewer sales this February than last, it was also that there were fewer listings. There just wasn’t as much activity of any sort . . . and, again, the loss of a day has had its impact.”
February was a good month for London’s Sister City of St. Thomas. Fifty homes exchanged hands in St. Thomas in February, up 38.9% from the previous year. No homes were sold on February 29, 2012, so these numbers are not skewed. Year-to-Date sales are also up 22.7%. The average price of a home in St. Thomas in February was $197,499, up 4.1% from January 2013, whereas the average price Year-to-Date stands at $193,977, up 1.2%, from December 31, 2012. As was the case in LSTAR’s jurisdiction overall, new listings were down in St. Thomas by 21.4%, as was inventory, by 8.3%.
The average price for a detached home in LSTAR’s jurisdiction in February 2013 stands at $264,984, up 8.2% compared to January 2013, while the average price for a condo in 2013 stands at $179,050, up 13.3% over January 2012. Year-to-Date the average price of a detached home is $256,175, up 0.7% from December 31, 2012 and the average price of a condo for the same period is $171,181, down 0.1%. The average price for a home of any sort in February stands at $245,888, up 7.1% over the previous month, while the average price of such a home Year-to-Date stands at $238,975, up 0.1% compared with December 31, 2012.