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Hello Friend!

January 2017

Hello Friend,

No surprise, 2016 was the second consecutive record year for home sales for the Toronto Real Estate Board, as Realtors reported 5,338 homes sold, up 8.6% over December 2015. This brought the total number of sales in 2016 to 113,133, up 11.8% over 2015. The overall average selling price for calendar year 2016 was $729,922 – up 17.3% compared to 2015’s final price of $622,121.

The strongest rate of growth of all home types in 2016, was in condominium apartments, up 18.5%, with the average condominium apartment selling at $440,669. Why? The answer is obvious. As prices of other home types became unaffordable to first time buyers, they had no choice but to look at condominium apartments.

The prognosis for 2017? More of the same. Low inventory, high demand, and increased prices, as none of the factors from 2016 have likely changed.

The next big areas of price increase? The outskirts. Barrie, Newmarket, Oshawa, Pickering, etc. Those people who cannot afford Toronto prices, but are willing to drive in order to get the home they crave, will have few other options.

Experience and knowledge. Those are the 2 most important factors when choosing any professional. Picking by price generally does not end well. The number of real estate agents has grown exponentially in the last few years as people believe it’s an easy business. As they realize the difficulties, they lower their prices to get business. I have seen many cases, where the seller saved $15,000 in commission and lost $50,000 plus in the sale price of their home.

If you are looking to purchase or know of someone who is, please feel free to give me a call to chat, and let me put my experience and knowledge to work for you. You will be pleased with the results!

Have a great year of 2017!

Sam

 

 

October 2016

Hello Friend,

Toronto Real Estate Board reported 9,902 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in the Greater Toronto Area in September 2016. This result was up by 21.5 per cent compared to September 2015. The average selling price for all home types combined were up on a year-over-year basis in September, by 20.4 per cent to $755,755. Once again the sustained lack of inventory in many neighbourhoods across the GTA continued to underpin high rates of price growth for a…ll home types. We continued to see strong demand for ownership housing up against a low supply of listings in the Greater Toronto Area in September.

This month the federal government has announced changes to Canada’s housing rules, aimed at addressing concerns related to foreign buyers who buy and flip Canadian homes, and also ensuring Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford amid historically low interest rates. Four major changes are worth noting:

1. Expanding stress tests to all insured mortgages, not just mortgages in which the buyer has put down less than 20 per cent of the purchase price.

2. Closing a tax loophole that some foreign buyers have used to claim exemptions in capital-gains tax for selling properties that they falsely claim as their primary residences. Now, home buyers must file taxes in Canada, as a resident, the same year they buy a home, before they can later claim the principal residence exemption on any gains for that year.

3. Launching consultations to see if banks can take on added lending risks, which would lighten Ottawa’s obligations to pay for insured mortgages in the event of a housing crash.

4. Changing the restrictions on portfolio insurance, a type of bulk insurance for mortgages with down payments of 20 per cent or more.

While these changes are aimed to try to control the rapid increase in home prices, it is important to note that much of the upward pressure on home prices in the GTA has been largely due to declining inventory of homes available for sale. As the low level of inventory persists and the level of demand remains strong due to population growth & low interest rates, I’m of the opinion that the market will not be impacted greatly.

All in all the market continues to be strong, and rental rates are high with very little inventory. Real estate remains a strong investment option. If you’re thinking of buying or selling or know of someone who is, please give me a call. I’ll be happy to chat.
Have a great month of October,

Sam

 

June 2016

Hello Friend,

Once again, the Toronto Real Estate Board has experienced a new record for home sales. May’s sale of 12,870 homes, marked a 10.6% increase over the same period last year. While sales were up, the number of new listings taken was down 6.4% thus exacerbating the shortage of homes for sale which has resulted in the price of homes increasing once again. The average price for a home on the Toronto Real Estate Board now stands at $712,375, and that’s set to …continue as demand and competition show no signs of abating.
While detached and semi-detached homes become unaffordable, many first time buyers and investors have switched to purchasing townhouses and condominium apartments, and that segment has increased in value well above the rate of inflation. The average townhome price as of the end of May was $553,000 up 15.5% over the same period last year, while the average condo apartment was $413,925, up 5.9% over last year.

Even with prices at record levels in the GTA, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation ( CMHC) isn’t forecasting any sort of correction as sales activity is expected to slow down for the rest of the year and into 2017. In fact prices are expected to rise due to strong economic growth and proportionally more sale of expensive single-detached homes which are leading the overall price growth.

While the market is the strongest it has ever been, 20% of homes did not sell, and even within those that sold, there could be a large difference in the price one Seller received over another, despite the similarity of the properties. The truth of it is a house will sell itself, but the price one gets is influenced by the experience, skill and hard work of the agent involved. Some professionals in various fields are more skilled and effective than others, and though they share the same name, it does not guarantee you will receive the same results from all of them.
Real estate agents and real estate companies are like that. There is a reason why we are the #1 RE/MAX in Canada. More services, more support better results for my clients. If you or a friend are interested in buying, (yes, it’s still a good time), give me a call and put my experience to work for you.

Have a great month of June.
Sam

 

April 2016

Hello Friend,

The Toronto real market continued its torrid pace with the sale of 12,085 homes in April, the best April in the 100 plus year history of the Board, and up 7.4% over April 2015.

While the average price in all of the Toronto Real Estate Board marketing areas for all types of residences now stands at $697,679, the price breakdown for local areas is as follows:

City of Toronto $718,682 (Detached Homes only in April $1,257,958)
York Region $896,476
Durham Region $494,643
Peel Region $582,496

Is there a real estate bubble? Will prices adjust? Is it too late to buy? These are questions I am continually asked, and while everyone has an opinion, no one, truly knows. Economic forecasts and weather forecasts are similar. The systems are just too complicated and the experts are best guessing with the information at hand, and that changes minute by minute.

Here is what I say to my clients.

People need to live somewhere. Our vacancy rate is near 0%. In other words very low. Basement apartments in Newmarket are renting for $1,200 per month. Downtown condos are renting for $1,800 -$2,200+ monthly! If you buy a property to rent and hold, prices may adjust, but will always recover as the population continues to grow. As long as you have a good tenant the price fluctuations will not affect you.

If you are buying a property to live in, it’s your home, and prices may fluctuate but as long as you live there, price is irrelevant, and will always recover.

In 1975 the average price was $57,581
In 1995 the average price was $203,028
In 2015 the average price was $ 622,217

Who knows what the next 20 years will bring, but I do know Toronto will continue to grow and people have to live somewhere!

Have a great month of May and don’t forget, I am never too busy for your real estate related questions.
Sam

 

 

January, 2016

Hello Friend,

Toronto Real Estate Board members sold 4,945 homes in December, bringing the 2015 calendar year total to 101,299. This 9.2 % increase over 2014’s 92,782 sales, marked 2015 as the best year in the history of the Board. The average selling price for 2015 as a whole was $622,217 – up 9.8 % compared to $566,624 in 2014.

City of Toronto Average price $659,270
Aurora Average price $746,715
King Average price $1,006,701
Markham Average price $803,357
Newmarket Average price $618,498
Richmond Hill Average price $886,773
Vaughan Average price $797,377
Stouffville Average price $789,730
Pickering Average price $530,413
Whitby Average price $488,304

The outlook for 2016 appears to be more of the same if not better! We have several factors occurring that will impact the market. First is the weak Canadian dollar. That has two immediate consequences. One, investors from around the world can buy Canadian real estate at 30% off. (Real estate sales in the USA are slowing down as foreign investors are not buying due to the strong US dollar.) Two, American companies are now buying Canadian, whether its goods or holidays or consultants as its 30% cheaper! Secondly, with worldwide humanitarian crises continuing and Canada accepting more refugees, demand for housing will increase tremendously!

All in all, a strong real estate market with increased demand, low interest rates and people who can afford the mortgage payments. A sure fire recipe for increasing prices.

Have you bought your land yet, we are not making any more! If you have questions about how to invest in real estate, give me a call, I would love to help you create a great investment/retirement strategy.

Have a great 2016!
Sam

 

 

December 2015

Hello Friend,
As we enter the Holiday Season, all is well on the real estate front. November’s record 7,385 sales through the first eleven months of 2015 brought the year to date total to 96,401, a new calendar year record for home sales, eclipsing the previous record set in 2007.

Demand for ownership fuelled by low interest rates, job opportunities and immigration, (foreign and domestic) and a limited supply of homes for sale and rent has put upward pressure on… home prices. The average price of a home sold on the Toronto Real Estate Board has increased about 10% since January 2015.

It’s been a hectic year for me. Lack of inventory, multiple offers, and homes selling overnight have taken a toll on my clients…..and me as well! As you know, I am committed to my clients and always do my best for them. These high pressure times are not pleasant for any of us. However, as Rudyard Kipling wrote in his poem If,

If—
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
…………
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! (My apologies to the ladies!)
So, I have kept my head, my sense of humour, helped my clients keep the right perspective, and assisted them in buying the homes of their dreams….. and had a great year! (Mr. Kipling would be proud of me!)

Thank you all for your many referrals and your help in making 2015 a great year. I could not have done it without you!
All the best in the Holiday Season, Peace, Health and Happiness throughout 2016!

Sam

PS. I am working in December, so please do not hesitate to call if you or a friend have some Real Estate needs, I am here to help!

November 2015
Hello Friend,
Toronto Real Estate Board reported record home sales of 8,804 homes in October 2015.  This is the best result on record for the month of October. Over the same period, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 7.3 per cent to $630,876.
Record sales coupled with a constrained supply of listings in GTA neighbourhoods has underpinned very strong price growth throughout 2015.  Price growth continued to be driven by the low-rise market segments.  Even if we do see a greater supply of low-rise listings in the marketplace over the next year, market conditions shall remain tight enough to see continued price growth well-above the rate of inflation.
Despite the record October result, recent real estate related news should not be overlooked. The Government of Ontario could potentially hamper home sales in the near future.  The Wynne government is considering allowing municipalities throughout Ontario to institute a second land transfer tax on top of the existing provincial tax.  Recent polling has shown that the great majority of Ontarians oppose this tax and would consider delaying a move if they were forced to bear the additional upfront cost.  Moreover, OECD expressed concern over the risk of market correction in Canada over unoccupied housing units in a recent report.  However a recent CMHC report shows that the demand for high-rise units remains robust while the new housing starts have slowed.
It is apparent that most GTA households remain upbeat about home ownership because owning a home still represents a high quality, long-term investment.  If you have any question about real estate in general, please feel free to reach out directly.  Let’s talk real estate.
Have a great month of November!
Sam

October 2015

Hello Friend,

The 8,200 home sales reported for September 2015 by the members of the Toronto Real Estate Board was a new record for September’s sales! This brings the number of sales for the first nine months of 2015 to 80,331, (another record), a 9.5 per cent increase compared to the same time period in 2014. At this rate, total sales for 2015 are expected to be at or near the 100,000 mark.

I wish I could say that these numbers are a surprise to me, but the truth of the matter is that real estate has been going strong for the last 20 years and other than the media occasionally trying to stir up fear in the marketplace by predicting that there is a bubble or the bubble will burst, it is it has been and will continue to be very very strong market. I know that this sounds like a self-serving statement, however these results are a testament to the importance that people give to home ownership, both as the enjoyment of home ownership, as well as a long-term investment. When these factors are combined with massive immigration and investment from outside of the country by individuals who see Canada as a safe investment vehicle as well as a great place to live, these results are not surprising at all.

Two factors are fueling the demand for ownership and investment opportunity. One is the low interest rates which makes homeownership affordable to more people than ever before and second the low Canadian dollar (70 cents US) puts Canada “on sale” to overseas investors at a third off.

Despite the increased prices, real estate still remains a viable investment and I’m still strongly recommending to my customers that they buy more and invest more property in Toronto. Without a doubt our population will continue to increase and as a population increases the demand for housing continues and……prices increase!

If you’re thinking of buying or selling or know of someone who is, please give me a call. I’ll be happy to chat.

Have a great October,

Sam

 

 

September 2015

Hello Friend,

As the kids’ summer holidays end and they head off to school, our fall holidays begin! As much as we love them, it’s nice to get back into the normal routine of work and school.

As the weather heated up in August so did the real estate market with 7,998 sales, up 5.7% over August 2014. Sales were up for all major type of homes, and the average sale price increased 10.3 % year over year for August 2014 vs 2015. While the number of homes listed inc…reased, the number of active listings at the end of August were still down compared to last year. These factors prove that the current sellers’ market continues and there is no downturn in the desire of people to own homes.

As we head into the last four months of 2015, I see very little change in the factors that have created our amazing real estate market. Immigration continues as do low interest rates. The big news in my mind is that the Canadian dollar continues to fall compared the US dollar. While this is not good for those traveling to the states or for imports, it’s great for Canadian exports as well as tourism, as many Americans will choose to come to Canada because their dollar buys so much more. (Canadians vacationing in Canada will be great for our economy as well!). For investors in other parts of the world, Canadian real estate continues to be an even greater bargain as the Canadian dollar drops.

Canada is a great country and many foreigners continue to invest and immigrate to Canada. All of this means that real estate is and will continue to be a great investment. I still think it’s a great idea to buy investment property. Great investment opportunities can still be found! If you are thinking about an investment or know a friend who is please give me a call I would love to help.

Have a great month of September!

Sam

 

 

August 2015.

Hello Friend,

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced record home sales…. Again!

The 9,880 homes sold through the MLS system, represented an 8% increase over July 2014, with the average year to date sales price for the whole MLS system standing at $622,557. The number of transactions were up for all major home types, including a double digit year-over-year increase in condominium apartment sales.

Here’s a little better breakdown of average prices so far this year.
416 Area Code     905 Area Code
Detached Homes $996,770            $729,261
Semi – Detached   $716,160            $499,821
Townhouse            $536,212            $448,785
Condo Apartment $394,504           $317,564

On average, 66% of the MLS sales occur by July 31. Base on the 64,262 homes sold year to date, it looks like we will have over 97,000 homes sold in 2015, a new record!

I continually get asked if we are in a bubble. From my point of view, home ownership demand has been driven not only by low borrowing costs, but also by the fact that the GTA economy has been performing quite well, with the unemployment rate lower compared to last year. Home buyers also remain confident in the long-term benefits of owning a home. When combined with foreign investors getting their money out of their own countries, and the fact that Canada is “on sale” (most foreigners use the US dollar, so the falling Canadian dollar makes Canadian purchases that much cheaper), it’s easy to see why sales are so high, and prices continue to rise. As long as those factors do not change, prices will continue to increase.

If you have a friend who is considering selling privately, please, please, please, make sure they call me first. Not because I want their business, (yes I would like it) but pricing is very tricky in this type of a market. Just because a similar type of home sold for a price last week, it might be possible to get $100,000 more this week. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the market we are in. I would be happy to consult with them, no obligation, to make sure that they would not sell their home for less than market value.

Have a great August, and remember, I am never too busy for your referrals!

Sam

 

July 2015

Hello Friend,

I am constantly asked whether the media is correct, that there will be a market correction. A market correction has been predicted since 1998 but so far it has not occurred. The reality is that at some point there will be a lack of demand for real estate brought about by fear or perhaps large increases in interest rates. This fear will create a temporary drop/correction in the value of real estate. Unfortunately no one knows when that will occur. …However, once that fear disappears and people get used to the new interest rates (we had a very strong market in Toronto in the early eighties with a 20%+ interest rate), prices will continue to increase again.

Why do prices continue to increase? Two major factors: One is the fact that there is constant inflation in the cost of building a new home. It starts with the cities charging more for supplying services such as water and sewage and more for building permits. The price of building supplies and workmen also increases, so as it costs more to buy a new home, existing homes increase in value. The second factor is population. As the city continues to grow through immigration and births, there is a shortage of living space and prices increase due to demand. Toronto is in its infancy of growth. We have 3,000,000 people compared to cities like New York and London, with populations of over 8,000,000.

Here’s the real question: do you really care about a price adjustment? If you’re planning to buy today and sell tomorrow for profit, yes you should be concerned about a price adjustment. However if you’re buying your home today and plan to live in it for the next 5 to 10 years, chances are that if there is price adjustment it will miss you and prices will continue to go up. If you’re buying an investment property and you buy it and you rent it out and you have a good tenant paying your rent, if the value of the property goes down by 15%, it does not impact your rental rate. And even if you decide to sell your home five years from now and the value of your property has dropped by 15% don’t forget that the home that you’re going to be buying will also have dropped by 15% so it really does not impact your ability to buy and sell.

My recommendation is to ignore the media that is trying to sell advertising. Prices may at some point in time be temporarily depressed, but eventually due to demand, home prices will always increase.

Have a great month of July!

Sam
P.S: Another record month of sales in June, with the average price of a home on the Toronto Real Estate Board increasing to $624,938.

June 2015

Hello Friend,

The Toronto Real Estate Board hit a new sales record for the number of homes sold in May, as Greater Toronto Realtors reported 11,706 sales, up 6.3% over May 2014. Record May transactions, coupled with a dip in the number of homes available for sale, resulted in strong price growth. The average selling price for all home types combined in May 2015 was up by 11 % from May 2014, bringing the average sale price year to date to $620,819.

While real estate sales will continue to be strong, I believe May will be the most active month of 2015, with 11,706 sales. I believe that the number of sales in June will be about 10, 800, so expect the news headlines to read, “Market drops by 8%!” When you read those headlines, keep in mind that only means the number of sales, not the price of an average home. With no relief so far on the listings front, expect similar rates of price growth as we move through the remainder of 2015.

A huge part of the demand for homes in Toronto is our low vacancy rate, which has remained at 1.6% from the fall of 2013 to the fall of 2014, according to CMHC. The other major factor in Toronto’s home price increases issoaring rental rates. The average monthly rent for a bachelor apartment in Toronto grew nearly 3% to $896 between the fall of 2013 and the fall of 2014. The average cost of a two-bedroom also climbed roughly 3% during the period, to $1,251.

The combination of low vacancy rates, high cost of renting, rock bottom interest rates which brings ownership monthly costs into the same ballpark as renting, growing demand from millennials (18-35year olds) and wealthy immigrants, it`s no wonder that prices in Toronto continue to increase.

There is an old saying, “Have you bought your land yet, we are not making any more!”  If you are considering buying, or have a friend who is, or just want to talk about the market, give me a call.  I would love to chat with you.

Have a great month of June!

Sam

 

 

May 2015,

Hello Friend,

The Toronto real estate market is just CRAZY! Huge demand for real estate ownership has made April 2015, with 11,303 homes sold, the highest sales record for April sales, (up 17% over April 2014), in the history of the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The unprecedented demand saw the average sale price of a home sold in April to jump to $653,932, and the year to date average price to $609,903, up 7.6 % from the start of the year.

While these are averages for the whole of the Board’s trading area, here is a breakdown of the average sale price year to date of more local areas:

City of Toronto      $ 653,129

Richmond Hill        $ 854,774

Vaughan                 $ 764,487

Markham                $ 777,332

Newmarket             $ 588,669

Pickering                $ 510,590

Ajax                         $ 479,332

Mississauga           $ 544,530

Here is how the sales have taken place by price range so far this year:

$0 –                  $199,999                 2.6 %

$200,000 –       $299,999               11.2 %

$300,000 –       $499,999               34.4 %

$500,000 –       $799,999               32.9 %

$800,000 –       $999,999                 8.7 %

$1,000,000 –    $1,499,999              6.7 %

$1,500,000 – +                                 3.5 %

The conditions for continued price growth have not, nor appear to be changing, so this market will continue for some time. BUT…. more than ever, with prices increasing so rapidly, you need an agent who is experienced, and capable of looking after your best interests in order to help you with your real transaction. I have seen and heard of agents underselling their own homes because they did not understand the market!

Before you start your search, or know of a friend thinking of buying or selling, please give me a call. My advice is free. I want to make sure your interests are protected! So don’t hesitate to call me, there are no stupid questions!

Have a great month of May!

Sam

 

 

April 2015

Hello Friend,

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 U.S. and other countries.  This will result in a stronger economy and more jobs which in turn allow and motivate more Canadians to buy real estate. Most foreign investors deal in US dollars and now Canada is on sale for 20% less.  More buyers and more competition will continue to result in increased prices.

It is still a good time to buy real estate.  While price is an important factor, so is affordability, which is a measure of interest rates, and low interest rates 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.  Knowing the good locations and values vs the not so good!

If you know of anyone considering buying or selling, or if you just have a question about real estate in general, please give me a call.  I would be happy to share my knowledge and experience with you.

Have a great month of April!

Sam

 

 

March 2015

Hello Friend,

And the hot Toronto real estate market continues!  The Toronto Real Estate Board reported the sale of 6,338 homes in February, a substantial 11.3 % year-over-year increase compared to February 2014.

The record low temperatures in February did little to slow down the real estate market and we saw an increase in the number of people purchasing homes in the GTA. This speaks to the importance that Canadians, and new immigrants, place on home ownership, both as an enjoyment of day to day life, as well as a quality long-term investment.

The demand for home ownership, fueled by desire and low interest rates, put a further strain on the market as the number of available homes for sale was down by 8.7 % compared to February 2014. This means that market conditions became tighter, leading to more competition between buyers, and increased the average selling price of a home on the Toronto Real Estate Board to $596,163 in February, up 7.8 % compared to the average for February 2014. Driving this increase was the detached market segment In the City of Toronto, which moved above $1 million dollars for the first time in a calendar month.

As the weather warms and we head into the spring market, we traditionally see more homes placed for sale, and potentially more choices for buyers. However, we will also see more buyers entering the market, and so while there may be more homes for sale, there will be more buyers looking to buy. This will result in a continued hot market and an increase in the average sale price.

There are successful strategies on how to survive and prosper in this type of market. Strategies that a full time, experienced agent like myself and a great company, RE/MAX Realtron, the #1 RE/MAX in Canada (most transactions) bring to the table. If you are thinking of buying or selling, or know of a friend who is, give me a call. I would be pleased to put my experience and expertise to work for you.

Have a great month of March!

Sam

P.S. I’m never too busy for your referrals

 

 

February 2015

Hello Friend,

With 4,355 home sold in January (6.1% increase over January 2014), and the average selling price for January 2015 up by 4.9 % year-over-year to $552,575, 2015 is shaping up to be another record year for real estate sales in Toronto.  Strong sales growth suggests home buyers continue to see housing as a quality long-term investment despite recent economic uncertainty.  Moreover, the fact that new listings grew at a faster pace than sales suggests that it has become easier for some to find a home that meets their needs.

When you think about it, it’s really not a surprise given these economic factors.

  • Immigration to the GTA continues from abroad and from other provinces.
  • The lower Canadian dollar makes Canadian real estate a better bargain for investors abroad.
  • The lower dollar will stimulate tourism (leading to jobs and foreign money into the economy) as Americans & foreigners will travel to Canada, while Canadians will likely travel within Canada rather than cross the border and pay more.
  • A lower dollar favours our exports as well as consulting and technology industries, resulting in a stronger economy.
  • The lowering of interest rates will largely mitigate price growth this year, which means affordability will remain in check.
  •  Robust end-user demand for (well located) condominiums continues, which should result in above-inflation price growth in the high-rise segment as well.

So as you can see, I believe we are in for another strong year for real estate.  As the old saying goes, “Have you bought your land yet? We are not making any more!”

The low interest rates make it an ideal time to upgrade your home or to buy an investment property. So if you are considering it, or know of a friend who is, I would be happy to help.

Have a great month of February, and keep warm!

Sam

 

 

January 2015

Hello Friend,

With 4,446 homes sold on the Toronto Real Estate Board in December, 2014 went down in the history books as the second most active year in the history of the Board with 92,867 sales, just below 2007’s record of 93,193 homes sold.

The average selling price continued to grow on a year-over-year basis in 2014, with an 8.4 per cent increase over 2013 to $566,726.  The continued strong price growth is a result of two factors, strong demand and low interest rates, which made the purchase of an average priced home affordable, in terms of the average household’s ability to comfortably cover their monthly mortgage payments.  These factors created a shortage of homes for sale that resulted in increased prices as buyers competed for a limited supply of available homes.  The constrained supply of listings was especially evident for low-rise home types like singles, semis and town houses.

The forecast for 2015 appears to be more of the same, as there seem to be no factors on the horizon that will likely dampen the strong demand for home ownership.  In general Canada remains among world’s hottest real estate markets, and Toronto real estate continues to be a great investment.  With the recent depreciation of the Canadian dollar, many foreign investors will continue to invest in real estate as they see the growth and potential of the GTA market.

Having said that, not all properties, areas or condominium projects appreciate the same way. It’s critical to have the right information and guidance through the buying and selling process to get the best return on your investment.

If you or a friend are looking into the real estate market, or just having a question about real estate, please do not hesitate to reach out.  I will be happy to guide you through the process with the information and experience you need.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015.

Sam

 

 

December 2014

Hello Friend,

Toronto Real Estate Board members reported 6,519 residential sales in November bringing the 11 month total of sales in 2014 to 88,462, up 6.6% from 2013. 2007 was the most active year for the Toronto Real Estate Board with 93,193 single family homes sold. We are on track for 2014 breaking that record number to become the most active year in the over 80 year history of the Toronto Real Estate Board.

What makes this busy year so unusual is the lack of listings inventory. The low inventory of homes for sale coupled with continued demand for houses sustains our current Sellers’ market, which is highlighted with multiple offer situations and rising prices.

While prices increase, demand for homes continues to be strong as people remain upbeat about owner ownership. Why?  Todays low interest rates create low monthly mortgage payments and those are affordable relative to accepted lending standards and today’s salaries.

The results are that prices continue to rise, and the average price of a home in Toronto now stands at $567,198 up 8.5% over 2013.

While the average price of all homes on the Toronto Real Estate Board is $567,198, the average price differs throughout the GTA. Here is a breakdown of some local areas as of November 30 2014.

City of Toronto $612,398

Oakville $795,825

York region $683,926

Durham region $392,027.

Peel region $485,605

King city is the highest in York region with an average price of $960,500.

If you are interested in some more local areas, give me a call I will be happy to give those numbers to you.

As 2014 comes to a close, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy and peaceful Holiday season and may 2015 be your best year ever!

 

Sam

(PS, I am still working so feel free to call me if I can help you in any way, or if you know of someone who could use my services.)

 

 

October 2014

Hello Friend,

September 2014 experienced the second highest sales ever for that month in the Greater Toronto area with 8,051 homes trading hands during the month.  This result represented a 10.9 per cent increase compared to September 2013.  On a year-to-date basis through the first three quarters of the year, sales were up by 6.9 per cent annually to 73,465.

Tight market conditions also prompted a strong 7.7% increase in the average sale price year-over-year in the month.  The average selling price year-to-date was $563,813 – up 8.5 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2013.  When you take a more detailed look at average price, it is noteworthy that the average price for a detached home in the City of Toronto was $951,792 whereas the average price for a condominium apartments in the City of Toronto was $395,505 – a significant difference.  The average price for detached homes and condominium apartments in areas of the GTA outside of the City of Toronto was $656,003 and $300,273 respectively – also a significant difference.

I am often asked about the construction of condominiums in the GTA and if it is a good investment to purchase a unit to hold and rent.  The simple answer is that buying real estate is a good investment in general.  But it all of course depends on the development and the location.   As with all real estate, location, location, location is extremely important.  As is the development and the size of the unit you purchase to rent.

There are two supports for the condominium market in the GTA.  First is demand due to immigration.   Roughly 40% of new immigrants to Canada settle in the GTA each year.   This number is in excess of 100,000 people settling in Toronto each year.  Owning or renting will continue to drive robust demand for housing.

Second is the development plan that exists for the GTA.  These plans are encouraging intensification in Toronto and less overall urban sprawl.  This has resulted in a significant change over the last 10 years in the number of newly constructed ground oriented homes (declined) versus the number of newly constructed low and high rise buildings (increased).

Please call me if you are interested in learning more about the condominium market in the GTA, or just have a question about real estate in general.  I’m always up for a chat.

Have a great month of October!

Sam

 

 

September 2014

Hello Friend,

Growth in home sales continued last month in the Greater Toronto Area, as the Toronto Real Estate Board reported 7,600 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in August 2014.  This result was up by 2.8 per cent compared to 7,391 transactions recorded in August 2013.  Year-to-date sales through the end of August amounted to 65,454, which represented an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2013.  The average selling price in August 2014 was $546,303, up 8.9 per cent in comparison to the average of $501,677 in August 2013.  The year-to-date average price through August was $562,504, which represented an increase of 8.5 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2013.

The number of listings was down in August in comparison to last year, while the number of sales increased.  This suggests that market conditions favoured sellers with much competition between buyers still.  This is why we continued to see strong price growth last month.  Looking forward, if sales growth continues to outpace the growth of listings, the average selling price should continue to increase on a year-over-year basis.

As we look toward the fall market, demand for ownership housing shall remain strong.  Home buyers will continue to benefit from a diversity of affordable home ownership opportunities throughout the GTA.  The fact that sales were up for all major home types in August suggests that first-time buyers and existing home owners remain very active in today’s marketplace.  Moreover, as Canadian banks remain optimistic about the mortgage market and are expecting further growth, this suggests strong demand for housing shall persist in the near term.

As we move from summer season to fall, the maintenance of your home comfort system should not be ignored!  If you have an integrated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (A/C) system that uses the same distribution channel for all functions (central forced air), now is the time to make sure your ductwork and filtration are in good working order.  Running your A/C during the summer can cause moisture to build up in or around the unit, which could allow irritating mould to grow and then circulate throughout your home when your fan is turned on.  So check both your heating and your A/C for signs of mould.  Also check for air leaks in the ductwork where possible, particularly in bends and connections, as leaks could allow moisture to enter or collect in the system.  Finally if you think you have mould growing in your system, get a professional to examine and clean your system before starting your furnace fan.

Have a great month of September, and don’t forget to reach out if you have any question about real estate!

Sam

 

 

August 2014

Hello Friend,

The Toronto real estate market experienced strong year-over-year growth in both unit sales and average price for July 2014.  Unit sales were up by 10% coming in at 9,198 versus 8,367 in July 2013.  This was the second strongest July sales result on record.  Average price was $550,700 which was 7.5% greater than the same month last year.  The second half of 2014 started where the first half left off, with very strong demand for the diversity of home ownership options in the Greater Toronto Area.  Sales were up strongly for most major home types and market conditions actually tightened, with sales growth outpacing listings growth.  The result was average price grew well-above the rate of inflation.

Fundamentally, the most important thing driving the housing market over the longer term is population growth and household formation.  These factors are very favourable for the Greater Toronto Area given that about 40% of new immigrants to Canada settle in the GTA.  This represents a gain in population of over 100,000 people, roughly adding a new city the size of Ajax to the GTA each and every year.

Over the shorter term, two key factors drive the housing market: employment and interest rates.

Employment in the GTA has been roughly growing at the rate of the growth in the labour force for some time now.  In July, The province gained over 15,000 net new jobs.  Including July’s job gains, the province has recovered all the jobs lost during the global recession, and employment is now 3.1 per cent above the pre-recession peak.  Recently there was also some very positive data relating to the strength of the U.S. economy, and this resulting increase in net Canadian exports of goods and services, many of which are produced in the GTA.  The trade deficit in June declined by over $300 million going down to $468M from May 2014.  This is a positive for employment growth and the housing market.

Finally are interest rates.  Once someone has a job, they then need to understand how much they can afford in terms of monthly payments.  Interest rates, particularly the most popular 5 year fixed term mortgages are at all-time lows.  You can now get a 5 year fixed rate mortgage for less than 3.00%.  This continues to be a very strong factor in the current housing market.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out if you have any question about real estate in general.  Have a great month of August!

Sam

 

July 2014

Hello 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.  The average selling price for June transactions was $568,953, representing an increase of 7.4 per cent compared to 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.

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

So what is considered 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.

Luxury homes, in all markets, typically 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, this may be a great time for a trade-up to a luxury home if you are in the market to move up.  Your existing home, if marketed and priced well, will sell quickly with great 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 feel free to call me if you have any question or just want to talk real estate!  Have a great July!

Sam

June 2014
Hello Friend,
So the strong Greater Toronto Area homes sales continued in May, and here are some facts. Total TorontoMLS sales for May 2014 amounted to 11,079, a new high for the month of May, up by 11.4 per cent compared to 9,946 sales reported in May 2013.  Unit sales year to date were up by 5% from last year.  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.  Year to date average price was up 9% from last year and up 12% from two years ago.  Average selling prices varied across the GTA, 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.  The inventory of homes available for sale was down by a large amount, 9%, from the same time last year, and supply remains tight in many areas.  While we are at the peak of the spring market where we typically 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.  With listings down and sales up compared to last year, competition between buyers continued to increase.  The result was price growth well above the rate of inflation, especially for singles, semis and townhomes.

Despite strong price growth so far in 2014, the GTA housing market remains “modestly” overvalued, and many households remain comfortable with the monthly mortgage payments associated with the purchase of a home.  Factors such as low borrowing costs at or near record lows and “gifting” by parents as suggested by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation have contributed to the resilience of the GTA housing market.

And as always, if you know of anyone who may require my expertise, or just have questions about real estate market in general, I’ll be pleased to help!

Have a great June!

Sam

 

 

May 2014

Hello 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. 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.

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 shall not continue.

Is your mortgage coming up shortly for renewal? It’s 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. As Canadian banks and mortgage landers battle for mortgage market share, and the federal government gradually reduces its involvement in the mortgage market, it is a good idea to compare what is available on the mortgage market.

Have a great month of May, and don’t forget to reach out if you have any question about real estate.

Sam

 

April 2014

Hello 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 in March, 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 selling price for March 2014 sales was $557,684 – an increase of almost 8 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.

Spring is typically a busy season for real estate. As the weather warms up, it is safe to expect a healthier inventory level relative to what we saw this past winter. However consider the amount of activities we’ve had so far this year, we would expect the strong demand to continue. With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a somewhat constrained supply of listings. Strong price growth should be the result for the remainder of 2014. Toronto Real Estate Board may have to revise its outlook for the average selling price for 2014 if the pace of price growth experienced in the first quarter is sustained.

And of course tis the season for spring cleaning!! The environment of your home can negatively impact your health. Indoor air quality, water purity, and potentially dangerous toxins and chemicals can all lead to possible illness. By setting aside a few hours one weekend this spring, we can make simple changes inside our homes—from steps to ensure we’re breathing clean air, such as replacing your furnace filter, to properly disposing of expired medications—that can help lower our risk of becoming sick.

As always if you have any question about real estate, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Have a fantastic month of April!

Sam

 

 

March 2014

Hello 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, up by 2.1%) – 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.  As a result, 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.  Given these factors, multiple offers will continue for well-priced homes throughout the spring season.

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.  As interest rates are predicted to rise by end of 2014, many are taking advantage of the current low mortgage rates.  Combine this with the expected strong price growth through 2014, more homes are expected to become available for sale, and hence greater availability and options.

In addition, there are some positives on the economic front right now for Ontario.   Despite Ontario adding only 28,700 jobs (0.4% increase given the large base) in February, 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 look forward to speaking to you soon.

Have a fantastic month of March!

 

Sam

 

 

February 2014

Hello 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.  Home ownership in the Greater Toronto Area remains affordable, and there are many people looking to purchase a home.

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 abroad!

With the economic boost and low interest rates, there will be more jobs and more buyers entering the market, and so real estate investment still presents a great opportunity. If you are considering it, or just have questions in general about real estate, let’s get together and talk.
Have a great month of February!

Sam