Toronto Sales Up 15% - Prices Up 7.4%
Stepping into his role as President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Paul Etherington announced a strong increase in residential sales reported through the Toronto MLS system in June. Sales were up by 15.4 per cent year-over-year to 10,180 transactions. New listings were also up compared to the same period in 2013, but by a lesser annual rate. This means that competition between buyers increased in June.
“Home buyers in the Greater Toronto Area are confident in their ability to purchase and affordably pay for a home. Generally speaking, buyers feel that ownership housing will be a good investment over the long term. This is why we continued to see increases in home sales in June for all major home types across the GTA. Given the degree of pent-up demand in the market today, I would expect to see sales growth continue through the summer,” said Mr. Etherington.
The average selling price for June transactions was $568,953, representing an increase of 7.4 per cent compared to June 2013. The strongest price increase for the GTA as a whole was for semi-detached houses, with the average price up by 9.7 per cent year-over-year. The pace of price growth for condominium apartments was also strong at 6.8 per cent.
“With less than two months of inventory in many parts of the GTA, it makes sense that we continued to experience very strong price growth in June. This is especially the case for low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses. Strong price growth for these home types will continue through the remainder of 2014. Despite higher inventory levels, the condominium apartment market segment has benefitted from enough buyer interest to result in above-inflation price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
See Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report »
Home sales and new listings up
Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that both sales and new listings were up substantially during the first 14 days of June 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
“If the first two weeks of June are any indication, we may be seeing a turnaround in the supply of homes for sale in the Greater Toronto Area. New listings were up on a year-over-year basis for most major home types in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions. However, sales growth outpaced growth in new listings, which suggests that there is still a lot of pent-up demand yet to be satisfied, so sellers’ market conditions will likely remain in place for the remainder of 2014,” said Ms. Usher.
Sales reported through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of June amounted to 4,938 – up by 11.3 per cent in comparison to 2013. New listings were up over the same period by 7.8 per cent to 8,825.
The average selling price for June mid-month transactions was $582,100, which represented an increase of 8.6 per cent compared to the average of $535,865 in 2013.
“Average selling prices were up across the GTA for low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses as well as for condominium apartments. This is no surprise given that the number of transactions was up compared to 2013 by a greater rate than the number of new listings, which suggests that competition between buyers arguably increased,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Toronto Home Sales Up 11.4% in May
Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that both the number of home sales through the TorontoMLS system and the average selling price were up strongly in May compared to a year ago.
Total Toronto MLS sales for May 2014 amounted to 11,079 – a new high for the month of May. This result was up by 11.4 per cent compared to 9,946 sales reported in May 2013. The average selling price for these sales was $585,204, representing an 8.3 per cent year-over-year increase compared to the average price of $540,544 in May 2013.
“We are now at the peak of the spring market when we generally see the greatest number of sales and the highest average selling prices. Based on the May statistics, buyers have been more active this spring compared to last year. Despite strong price growth so far in 2014, many households remain comfortable with the monthly mortgage payments associated with the purchase of a home, as borrowing costs have remained at or near record lows over the past few months,” said Ms. Usher.
Average selling prices varied across the Greater Toronto Area, depending on geography and home type. A detached home in the City of Toronto sold, on average, for $943,055. In the surrounding GTA regions, the average detached price was $648,439. The average price for condominium apartments was $401,809 in the City of Toronto and $307, 307 in the surrounding regions.
“The listings situation in the GTA did not improve this past May. With listings down and sales up compared to last year, competition between buyers increased. The result was price growth well-above the rate of inflation, especially for singles, semis and townhomes,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
“It is also important to point out that even though the condo apartment market segment remains comparatively well-supplied, as new project completions have generally led to an uptick in listings, we have seen enough buyer interest to prompt strong condo price growth as well,” continued Mercer.
See the Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report for May »
Calling their fluff
How to spot the home stagers’ tricks at work
When you go house hunting in downtown Toronto, you’ll struck by a disturbing similarity in what you see. The furniture at many resale homes looks suspiciously fresh and new, the art hanging on the walls seems all-too-familiar and the rooms are just soooo squeaky clean. After looking at a few of houses, you’ll start to recognize the signs that a home stager has been at work. Let’s face it, how many of us have furniture that matches perfectly? You can tell as soon as you walk into a staged home that this is something that belongs in an interior design shop, not your average family’s home.
Remember: no matter how beautifully decorated a home may be, its true value hinges on practical considerations — how much space it offers, the neighborhood, how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has.
Here’s how to make sure you don’t get taken in by a stager’s tricks:
Beware of old panes
The best tipoff that a home stager has been at work is a beautifully decorated home with old windows. Why? Because a complete set of new windows is expensive — think $10,000 or so — and most stagers won’t bother to put them in. But if the windows are old, you have to wonder what other secrets the house may be hiding.
Stagers are notorious for making small rooms look larger by renting undersized couches, tables and chairs. Imagine the shock the new owners must have felt when they tried to move in their own furniture. To make sure you don’t have a nasty surprise, pack a tape measure and write down the dimensions of all key rooms.
The showrooms in many new condo developments use pint-sized furniture, large mirrors and other space-expanding tricks to make the units appear larger than they are. If you’re looking at something in a new complex, ask to look at another suite that hasn’t been done up. You’ll get a feel for what the home will look like with regular furniture and appliances.
View it live
Most real estate agents insist that viewing the house when it’s empty gives you time to examine it at leisure. But a better option is to view it around suppertime when the owners are present. When someone’s in the place, you get a better sense of the house. Is there enough counter space for the dinner dishes? Does the kitchen feel spacious with two or three people in it? You can imagine what it would be like to live there yourself.
Come out of the closet
Stagers often empty out closets to make them look larger than they really are and give the illusion of plentiful storage space. Be aware of the trick and make sure you know exactly how much storage space you’re getting. Ever wonder where all the jackets, shoes and coats are in the homes ypu see because they certainly aren’t in the closets. Ask to see other storage areas. Tune out the noise
Any good stager tries to create a relaxed, elegant mood. Jazz on the stereo, a roaring fire in the hearth, fresh flowers and homey scents are just some of the tricks you’ll encounter. The only defense? Close your eyes and imagine the same room with kids yelling and yesterday’s newspaper spread out on the floor. Reality may not be as pretty as the staged version, but it’s a much better guide to value.
June 2, 2014 | Permalink
Toronto Home Sales Up 19.6%
Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that “Sales reported by Greater Toronto REALTORS® were up strongly during the first two weeks of May in comparison to the same time last year. However, new listings were down slightly over the same period, which means competition between buyers continued to increase and price growth remained very strong.”
There were 5,185 sales reported through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of May 2014. This result was up by 19.6 per cent in comparison to the first 14 days of May 2013. Sales increased for low rise home types, including single-detached and semi-detached homes and townhouses, as well as for condominium apartments.
The growth in sales was also widespread geographically, with the number of transactions up in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions.
The average selling price for the first two weeks of May was $590,132 – up 8.9 per cent compared to the average of $542,074 reported for transactions during the same period in May 2013.
Price growth was strongest for detached homes in the City of Toronto, where demand remained very strong relative to the short supply of listings. While the condominium apartment market segment remained well-supplied, there was enough demand to prompt above-inflation price growth.
“While tight market conditions continue to prompt strong year-over-year increases in the average selling price, it is important to point out that the monthly cost of home ownership – mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and utilities – has not trended upward as strongly. Strong price growth has been mitigated to a large degree by low borrowing costs,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis
Toronto Home Prices Up 10.1% in April
Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that during April – the first full month of spring – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported a 1.8 per cent year-over-year increase in sales through the TorontoMLS system. Total April 2014 sales amounted to 9,706, compared to 9,535 transactions in April 2013.
“April marked the beginning of the spring market, during which time we generally see the highest monthly sales totals in a given year. Despite the persistent shortage of listings, a substantial number of GTA residents were able to come to terms on a home that met their needs. However, sales levels would have been higher, but for the lack of supply,” said Ms. Usher.
“A number of factors underlie the constrained supply of listings. Studies and polling suggest that the additional upfront land transfer tax in the City of Toronto has prompted some households to stay put and renovate rather than list their home and move. In the broader GTA context, above-trend home sales in the years leading up to the recession have meant that many households who purchased during this period simply aren’t ready to move again,” continued Ms. Usher.
The average selling price for April 2014 sales was $577,898 – up by 10.1 per cent compared to the April 2013 average of $524,868. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by seven per cent year-over-year. The MLS® HPI strips away price fluctuations resulting from a change in the mix of home types sold from one period to the next.
“Price growth for the GTA as a whole was driven by the single-detached, semi-detached and townhouse market segments in the City of Toronto. So far this year, there has been no relief on the listings front for these home types in many neighbourhoods in Toronto and surrounding regions. Until we see a marked and sustained increase in listings, we should expect to see the annual rate of price growth above the long-term norm,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
See the Toronto Real Estate Board's Market Watch Report for April »
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.
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 »