Friday, August 7, 2009

Best July Ever for Toronto Real Estate

Toronto’s housing market has followed a record-breaking June with its best July ever and real estate experts say sellers will have the advantage with the current limited inventory and prices edging higher.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, homes sales in the Greater Toronto Area last month rose 28%, to 9,967 from 7,806 homes sold a year ago.

It was the best July for sales since the board started tracking the numbers in the mid-1960s. And the average sale price was $395,414, up 6% from a year earlier.

“We have seen the increase across all different housing types. It’s not just first-time buyers coming into the marketplace,” said Jason Mercer, the real estate board’s senior manager of market analysis.

“At the end of 2008, we saw a steep dropoff in sales. Those people who became confident, you’ve seen them move back into the housing market and interest rates moving down to historic lows helped that out.”

These summer months stand in contrast with the market environment last fall when sales plummeted.

Back then, Candace Kaszas, a sales representative with Keller Williams Advantage Realty, listed a two-storey detached brick house in East York with a free car to attract buyers. In Rosedale, one of her clients dropped the price of a two-storey, five-bedroom home in Rosedale from $2.4-million to $1.9-million.

But today Ms. Kaszas said: “Things are looking up.”

“February right through, it hasn’t stopped,” she said. “Right now, it is a seller’s market ... We’re constantly in multiple offers. Recently, a two bedroom bungalow, with no parking and an unfinished basement had four offers. It was listed at $329,000 and it sold for $375,000.

“Consumer confidence has come back. The media has stayed out of it; for the past month it has been all about garbage and nothing about real estate and we’ve been selling up a storm.”

Christine Martysiewicz, spokeswoman for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc., said most GTA neighbourhoods saw decreases in the price of detached homes and condos in the first six months of this year.

“Consumers got very scared with all of the negative news,” Ms. Martysiewicz said. “A lot of people did not; they got into the market and got the best deals that we’ve seen in a long time.”

Buyers can still get a good deal, she added.

“That’s not going to last. Those prices will go up if inventory does not come on the market,” she said.

Last month, 36% fewer homes were listed for sale than a year ago. New listings were down 18% from last month compared to July, 2008.

“Inventory is very, very low. The demand is quite high. What that does is cause increases in the prices of homes. Prices will be on par, if not exceed, 2008 levels by year-end,” Ms. Martysiewicz said.

Mr. Mercer said people will likely list more houses as sales and prices climb. Though year-to-date sales are still 1.2% lower compared to this time last year, he predicts that the market will continue to do well, maybe even surpass 2008 figures.

David Pylyp: Inventory for sale is almost non existent in downtown condo's under $300K or west Toronto /Mississauga Townhouses with a double garage below $400K. The average detached house is $390 thousand. Historically the summer months have generally been slower for sales.

Is there a ceiling?

If you would like to read the Market Watch report it is available here

Thinking about Selling your place? Let's get you a number.

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