Home Prices and Sales Driven Upward

Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that the spring market started off on a strong note in the Greater Toronto Area, with a 10.8 per cent year-over-year sales increase reported by Greater Toronto REALTORS® during the first two weeks of April. Sales through the Toronto MLS system over this period amounted to 4,541 units.

“The robust increase in sales speaks to the fact that home ownership remains affordable in the GTA. The majority of home buyers purchase a home using a mortgage. A household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford a mortgage on an average priced home,” said Ms. Usher.

“While the persistent listings shortage in the GTA, coupled with strong demand, has led to a brisk pace of price growth, very low advertised mortgage rates have gone a long way to mitigating the effect of upward trending home prices,” continued Ms. Usher.

The average selling price for April mid-month sales was $583,697, representing an annual increase of 11 per cent. This increase was due to both tight market conditions and a change in the mix of homes sold. At month-end, the MLS® HPI benchmark price will provide more insight into price growth attributable solely to the change in market conditions.

“The overall average price increase was driven by single-detached, semi-detached and townhouse sales in the City of Toronto. There was a substantial increase in higher-end home sales this year compared to last,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

April 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Going FSBO (For Sale By Owner)

Many sellers entertain the idea of selling their home without an agent. They always have. Particularly today, with so much information online, many believe that the Internet weakened the role of the agent; that the agent’s value is not what it used to be.

However, when it comes time to sell a home, it’s common for many people to wonder if they can go at it alone and save the 5 percent commission. Going the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) route seems easy enough. By researching online, you can check out comparable sales, learn your local market, and determine a good price for your home. Take some photos with your smartphone camera, write compelling marketing copy, and make a few cosmetic enhancements if needed. When you’re ready, list your home online for buyers to find and explore. In some cases, it truly can be easy, but not for everyone. There are a few considerations and some reasons why many sellers end up going down the traditional path of being represented by a licensed real estate agent.

When the stakes are high, doubt creeps in

Selling your home isn’t like selling a used car or a flat-screen TV online. It’s just not that cut-and-dried. It’s likely a place where you’ve made memories and have some serious emotional attachments. The sale of a home generally comes at a time of life change; a new job, new baby, retirement, death or divorce. Emotionally detaching means that you may not be as objective as possible. And as a result, there could be negative financial ramifications. Putting a a third party in between you and the sale can be comforting. There are practical considerations as well. Prices can vary by block and there are a variety of elements for a homeowner to consider: the local market, pricing, disclosures and property access, among other things. When it comes time to go FSBO, a little bit of doubt may creep in. Is my timing right? Is my pricing right? Is there something I’m missing? Am I ready to sell? Sellers don’t know what they don’t know. When it comes time to go live, and expose themselves to the market, they sometimes get cold feet.

You’ll probably still pay an agent’s commission

If you go it alone, you aren’t necessarily saving 5 percent of the home’s sales price by not hiring an agent. Most likely, you’re only saving 2.5 percent. When a home is sold, the seller ordinarily pays the 5 percent commission. The seller’s agent then splits the commission with the buyer’s agent. If you want to get traffic to your listing, you need to offer that commission to the buyer’s agent to incentivize them to show your home. Additionally, few buyers feel comfortable negotiating directly with an unrepresented seller. Buyers want guidance from their agent and appreciate their feedback. If you don’t offer that buyer’s side commission you risk losing eyeballs and therefore market share. If you lose a large chunk of the market, you risk not getting top dollar.

It becomes a part-time job

Selling a home takes an immense amount of preparation time, not to mention the time and energy to show the home once it’s listed for sale. You’ll have to field calls, emails and questions from buyers and agents. Plus you’ll need to be prepared to show it at a moment’s notice. It could easily begin to feel as if you’ve taken on a part-time job. And, not everyone is cut out for the additional workload and stress. In many cases, you’ll be doing all this while also focusing on where you’re moving. Are you selling in order to move to another city or town, or because of a change in your career or life? Any of those situations can be stressful enough on their own. When you add selling your own home to your plate, it can quickly be overwhelming.

There are certain people that can absolutely do it. It’s been done successfully over and over through the years. If you’re convinced that you can overcome the doubts and fears associated with being unrepresented, have the time and energy to make it happen, then give it a shot. Start by doing your homework, going to open houses and learning as much as you can about how your market works. Be prepared to set aside a good chunk of time for the months before and during the sale. Search and research as much as possible, not only local listings but how to best present your home to the market. Because you don’t sell homes for a living, you could be caught off-guard or overlook something important.

Once you go “live,” the days on market (DOM) starts to tick. That number of days is the buyer’s way of knowing how your home fares in the market. If the DOM approaches 90 and you are still active, buyers will see it and know it. If you are unsuccessful and end up listing it the traditional way, that buyer will know about the previous attempt to sell FSBO. They may use it against you when making their offer. So put your best foot forward. If you’re not there yet, don’t go FSBO. Take the time you need to and reevaluate your plans. The last thing you want to do is rush into the market when you’re not ready.

April 8, 2014 in For Sale By Owner, Selling Toronto Real Estate | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Toronto Home Prices Up 8% in March

Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported strong year-over-year increases in Toronto MLS home sales and the average selling price in March 2014. Home ownership affordability, backstopped by low borrowing costs, continued to be a key factor underlying this growth.

A total of 8,081 sales were reported in March 2014 – up by 7.2 per cent in comparison to March 2013. Sales growth was much stronger in March compared to the first two months of the first quarter. Sales for Q1 as a whole were up by three per cent compared to the first three months of 2013.

“Sales activity in the GTA accelerated last month. Compared to last year, a greater number of buyers found affordable home ownership options, as evidenced by sales growth for all major home types. Against this backdrop, however, overall inventory at the end of March remained lower than last year. This means competition between buyers increased, which is why the average selling price continued to climb,” said Ms. Usher.

The average selling price for March 2014 sales was $557,684 – an increase of almost eight per cent compared to the average reported for March 2013. The average price for the first quarter of 2014 was up by 8.5 per cent year-over-year.

“With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings. Strong price growth will be the result for the remainder of 2014. If the pace of price growth experienced in the first quarter is sustained, TREB may revise its outlook for the average selling price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

See the Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report for March »

April 3, 2014 in Real Estate Sold Report, Toronto Real Estate Board, Toronto Real Estate Market, Toronto Real Estate Update | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Toronto Real Estate Market Stabilizing

Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that Greater Toronto Area Realtors® reported 3,459 transactions through the Toronto MLS system during the first two weeks of March 2014. This result for the TREB market area as a whole was virtually unchanged in comparison to 3,464 transactions completed during the same period in 2013.

“Despite the poor weather conditions experienced during the first half of March, an abundance of willing buyers were actively searching for a home to purchase. However, many of these people continued to be affected by the enduring shortage of single-detached, semi-detached and townhouse listings, which means that in some cases they could not find a home on which to make an offer, or they were facing stiff competition from other buyers,” said Ms. Usher.

For all home types combined in the GTA, the average selling price was $560,948 - up by almost six per cent in comparison to the average price for the same time frame in 2013. The semi-detached market segment in the City of Toronto led the way in terms of price growth during the first 14 days of March, with a year-over-year increase of more than ten per cent.

"Semi-detached houses represent a more affordable ownership option for some households. Because of this, some semi-detached listings have attracted many interested buyers. This competition has served to exert strong upward pressure on the average selling price," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The average single-detached price was down slightly in the City of Toronto year over year because of a smaller share of luxury deals this year compared to last. Tight market conditions will continue to drive strong detached price growth in 2014,” added Mercer.

March 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Toronto Homes Sales Strengthening

Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that February 2014 home sales reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® were up by 2.1% compared to the same period last year. Total February sales amounted to 5,731 compared to 5,613 last year.

“Despite the continuation of inclement weather in February, we did see a moderate uptick in sales activity last month. The sales increase was largely driven by resale condominium apartments. New listings of resale condominium apartments were up on a year-over-year basis, giving buyers ample choice. This is in contrast to the listings situation for singles, semis and townhomes, where supply continued to be constrained. Some would-be buyers had difficulty finding a home that met their needs,” said Ms. Usher.

“If we see renewed growth in listings for low-rise home types, the pace of sales growth will accelerate as we move through the year,” Ms. Usher continued.

The average selling price for February 2014 sales was up by 8.6 per cent to $553,193, compared to the average of $509,396 reported for February 2013. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 7.3 per cent year-over-year.

“While the strong price growth experienced over the last year should prompt an improvement in the supply of listings, sellers’ market conditions will continue to prevail this year. Home prices, on average, will trend upwards at a pace well-above the rate of inflation. The impact of strong price growth on affordability will be mitigated by low borrowing costs,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

See the Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report »

March 5, 2014 in Toronto Real Estate Board, Toronto Real Estate Market, Toronto Real Estate Trends, Toronto Real Estate Update | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CMHC increasing insurance premiums

CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowners and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1– 4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This increase does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 units) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges.


Loan-to-Value Ratio

Standard Premium (Current)

Standard Premium (Effective
May 1, 2014)

Up to and including 65%



Up to and including 75%



Up to and including 80%



Up to and including 85%



Up to and including 90%



Up to and including 95%



90.01% to 95% –
Non-Traditional Down Payment



For more information on CMHC’s mortgage insurance rate increase, go here

March 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GTA Sales Up, Listings Down

Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that “sales growth has rebounded so far in February after a slow start to the year in January. While new listings were still down in comparison to last year, the annual rate of decline was less than experienced last month. This may point to an improvement in the listings situation moving forward, which would help alleviate some of the pent-up demand that currently exists in the marketplace."

Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 2,767 sales through the Toronto MLS® system during the first 14 days of February. This result was up by 1.3 per cent in comparison to 2,731 transactions reported during the same period in 2013. New listings were down by 6.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

"Price growth well above the rate of inflation will be the norm for the remainder of the year. Over the same period, mortgage rates are expected to remain low, thereby keeping home ownership affordable in the GTA," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

The average selling price during the first two weeks of February 2014 was $547,107 – up 7.8 per cent compared to the average of $507,474 for the first 14 days of February 2013.

February 20, 2014 in Toronto Real Estate Board, Toronto Real Estate Market, Toronto Real Estate Trends | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Toronto MLS® Listings Down 16.6%

In January, the number of homes listed for sale was down quite strongly compared to last year, which means that it was difficult for some buyers to find a home.

Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 4,135 sales through the TorontoMLS system in January 2014. This result was down by 2.2 per cent in comparison to January 2013. New listings entered into the system were down over the same period by 16.6 per cent to 8,822.

“Looking forward, it is possible that strong price growth, and therefore an increase in home equity, will act as a trigger for more households to list their homes for sale. This is especially the case for households whose life styles are changing, including those with an expanding family looking for a larger home or empty nesters looking to downsize,” said Dianne Usher, President, Toronto Real Estate Board.

The average selling price for January 2014 sales was $526,528 – up by more than nine per cent compared to $482,080 in January 2013.

“The pace of price growth will remain strong in 2014. Similar to last year, competition between buyers for singles, semis and town homes in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions will continue to exert upward pressure on selling prices. At the same time, mortgage rates will remain near historic lows, so despite strong price growth, home ownership will remain affordable for the average household in the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

See the Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report »

February 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


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