A reoccurring theme at my office, seems to be the status of the real estate market with many people hesitating to make long term purchase commitments; CMHC shortened amortization maximum's and the media cried Canada at risk; ZERO down eliminated effective October 08. The media responded with Buyers will be wiped out.
1) I do not have a crystal ball.
2) I do not profess to have special insights.
3) I just report the facts as I see them.
That said; I thought it interesting to examine the real estate market from a slightly different perspective.
In Toronto, we are a collective population of 4.7 Million People source This does not include the surrounding GTA to the west, Mississauga, Oakville, North regions of Newmarket and Markham, and the Oshawa Ajax region. Although all their sales are pooled into TREB.
From the pool of data that we have from the Toronto Real Estate Board stats posted monthly, give us sales summary number- up or down; percentages increasing and decreasing. But What do they all really mean?
August 6, 2008 -- TREB Members reported 7,806 sales of single-family dwellings in July, continuing a healthy but not record setting pace into the summer. “Even though GTA sales were down 12 per cent from the best-ever July 2007 figure of 8,912, sales were up 10 per cent from July 2006 (7,082),” Market Watch Stats are available to you here.
Total number of homes for sale in the TREB system 26,543 eom July 08.
Now lets compare that with an urban city in the United States. I took a site tour and found the following details from The Houston Housing Market.
The Houston Housing Market continues to show strength in pricing. However, the Houston Homes Market posted declines in the number of homes sold with July of 2008 posting 5,885 total closed sales compared to July of 2007 which posted 6,856 Houston Homes sales. These numbers show a slight improvement over June of 2008 on a percentage basis, as July posted a 14.2 percent decrease in Houston Single Family Home sales on a year over year basis, while June showed a decrease of 14.7 percent on a year over year basis. This trend has again increased Houston Housing Inventory now pushing 6.9 months with a total of 36,287 active Single Family homes on the market.
The Houston Population number's given are a census Metropolitan area of 1.9 Million people.
What conclusions do I drawn from this comparison?
We still are in an active market but our sales vs population ratio's when compared to the Houston market are about 1/3 rd. Lets compare data.
Listings available for sale; 36, 287 26, 543
Sold this month (July) 5,885 7,806
If I took these figures to heart, Toronto should have 15,000 sales per month based on the percentage of population. Toronto continues to be a growing world class city and is drawing attention globally for investors as a safe harbour for their equity.
The biggest difference I remind people of is; every crane you see, is a building that is already sold.
I believe that the Canadian dream of owning your own home is alive and well.