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"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer

 

Spring Market Capped Off with Strong June

July 6, 2016 - Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 12,794 residential transactions through TREB's MLS® System in June 2016. This result was 7.5 % higher than the 11,905 sales reported in June 2015. In line with the prevailing trend so far this year, the number of new listings was down by 3.8 %.

"As I start my term as TREB President, we are certainly in an interesting environment for ownership housing. There is no doubt that demand is at a record level, but would-be home buyers continue to face an uphill battle against a constrained supply of listings, which has perpetuated strong price growth. Buyers and sellers alike continue to benefit from the value a REALTOR® brings to a transaction," said Mr. Cerqua.

"As the federal, provincial and local levels of government discuss housing policy in the coming months, issues affecting the lack of supply in the GTA should be of paramount importance. TREB will be undertaking, and making public, results of additional research in the second half of 2016, with the goal of proactively adding to the housing policy discussion," added Mr. Cerqua.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 16 % on a year- overyear basis. The average selling price for all home types combined was up by a slightly higher annual rate of 16.8 % to $746,546. The single-detached, semi- detached and townhouse market segments led the way in terms of price growth.

"When TREB surveyed consumer intentions for 2016, we found that the majority of GTA households who were likely to purchase a home continued to be pointed towards some form of ground oriented housing. This is why we continue to see strong competition between buyers in many neighbourhoods where supply remains constrained," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

Strong Sales Growth Continues in May

June 3, 2016 – There were 12,870 home sales reported through TREB’s MLS® System in May 2016. This result represented a new record for the month of May and a 10.6 % increase over the same period last year.

In contrast, the number of new listings was down over the same time frame by 6.4 %. The decline in listings was experienced in both the low-rise and condominium apartment market segments.

“Whether we’re talking about existing homeowners or people looking to purchase for the first time, there is no shortage of buyers in the marketplace today. So, while the record number of home sales through the first five months of 2016 is not necessarily surprising, it does sometimes mask the larger story in the GTA: the shortage of listings, which has resulted in strong upward pressure on home prices,” said Mr. McLean.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 15 % year-overyear in May 2016. Similarly, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 15.7 % over the same period. Low-rise home types, which remained in short supply in many GTA neighbourhoods, experienced the strongest price growth. “Widespread competition between buyers of singles, semis and townhouses across the GTA has underpinned the robust annual rates of price growth experienced so far this year. With this said, however, it is also important to understand that tighter market conditions for condominium apartments have resulted in price growth well above the rate of inflation in this market segment as well,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Federal Government Announces Change to Minimum Down Payment Rules 

December 11, 2015 - Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5 % to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. 

The 5 % t minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.

For example, on a $625,000 property (2015 average GTA price), Buyers will now require a minimum of 6% down, an additional $6,250.

  • The minimum down payment will increase gradually with the price of a house, varying from 5 per cent for homes priced at or below $500,000 to 7.5 per cent just below $1 million. Properties priced at $1 million and higher will continue to require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. For example, a person buying a $600,000 property would be required to pay a down payment of 5 per cent on the first $500,000 and 10 per cent on the remaining $100,000, resulting in a total minimum down payment of $35,000, or 5.8 per cent of the total purchase price.

  • The announced measure will take effect on February 15, 2016 and apply to new mortgage loan applications received on February 15, 2016 or later. Any mortgage insurance application received between December 11, 2015 and before February 15, 2016 that does not conform to the measures announced today must have a mortgage in place by July 1, 2016.

  • This measure applies only to new insured mortgage loans. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages will not be affected by this policy change as mortgage insurance is good for the life of any existing insured mortgage.

  • The issue of an increase to minimum down payments is something CREA has effectively and successfully fought against since 2011. CREA has communicated concerns with today’s announcement to the government and will continue to advocate on this issue.

More information is available at the Department of Finance website: News Release: http://www.fin.gc.ca/n15/15-088-eng.asp ;  Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.fin.gc.ca/afc/faq/hdpmeh-mfperpc-eng.asp

Record Sales in November 2015

December 3, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,385 home sales through TREB's MLS® System in November 2015 – up by 14 % compared to November 2014. This result also represented the best result on record for the month of November. Sales through the first eleven months of 2015 amounted to 96,401.

"Not only did we see a record sales result for November, but with one month left to go in 2015, we have already set a new calendar year record for home sales in the TREB market area, eclipsing the previous record set in 2007. Sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions. This suggests that the demand for ownership housing is widespread, from first-time buyers to long-time homeowners across the GTA," he said.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 10.3 % year over year in November. The average selling price for all transactions was also up by a similar annual rate of 9.6 % to $632,685. Annual rates of average price growth for November and the first eleven months of 2015 were similar, with the strongest rates of increase being reported for low-rise home types, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses.

"Demand for ownership housing has remained strong in the GTA throughout 2015, with sales generally increasing at a greater annual rate compared to new listings. This means that competition between buyers has strengthened in many neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions. The end result has been upward pressure on home prices well above the rate of inflation in most cases," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

Strong Condo Sales and Price Growth in Q3 2015

October 16, 2015 -- Toronto Real Estate Board President announced strong year-over-year growth in condominium apartment sales reported through TREB's MLS® System in the third quarter of 2015. Sales were up by close to 11 % to 6,586 compared to Q3 2014. New listings entered into the System during the quarter and active listings at the end of the quarter were also up on an annual basis, but by a lesser rate compared to sales. "The condominium apartment market segment has been a key contributor to overall growth in GTA home sales this year. With continued sales growth expected in the fourth quarter, we are on track for a new record in condo transactions through TREB's MLS® System this year."

"As the absorption rate for condos accelerated over the last year, tighter market conditions have resulted in sustained price growth." 

Annual growth in the average and median selling prices and the MLS® HPI Benchmark for apartments exceeded the annual rate of inflation in the third quarter. For the TREB market area as a whole, the average selling price for condo apartments was up by 5.4 %  yearover- year. The median selling price was up by 4.4 %. The MLS® HPI Benchmark for apartments was up by 5.6 % at the end of September.

"The condominium apartment market has certainly benefited from an increase in the supply of listings over the past year. However, through the first three quarters of 2015, growth in sales has actually outstripped growth in listings. This suggests that there was a certain amount of pent-up demand for condominium apartments. As new projects have completed, investor-held units listed for sale have been absorbed very quickly by end users, to the point where price growth has remained strong," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

Sales and Average Price Up in August

September 4, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,998 residential transactions through the TREB MLS® System in August 2015. This result represented a 5.7 % increase compared to 7,568 sales reported in August 2014. On a GTA-wide basis, sales were up for all major home types.

The annual growth rate in new listings was greater than the annual growth rate in sales, but active listings at the end of August were still down compared to last year. This suggests that sellers' market conditions remained in place, especially where low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses were concerned.

"Buyers in the GTA remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term. They see ownership housing as a quality investment that has historically produced positive returns while at the same time providing owners with a place to live in their chosen community," he said.

Both the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark and the average selling price for all home types combined were up substantially in August compared to the same period in 2014, with both increasing by approximately 10 % year-over-year.

"A record year for home sales continued to unfold in August as competition between buyers exerted upward pressure on selling prices. It was encouraging to see annual growth in new listings outstrip annual growth in sales, but we will need to see this for a number of months before market conditions become more balanced," said TREB's Director of Market Analysis

Condo Sales and Price Up in Q2 2015

July 17, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that there were 7,656 condominium apartment transactions reported through TREB’s MLS® system in the second quarter of 2015, representing a yearover- year growth rate of 17 % relative to Q2 2014. Sales growth greatly outpaced growth in listings, with new listings up by a lesser rate of 7.3 % year-over-year and active listings at the end of the second quarter down by 1.3 %. "Much of the new condominium apartment inventory that has been brought to bear on the market in the recent past has been absorbed. In fact, market conditions have tightened with months of inventory trending lower. This suggests that recent condominium apartment completions, while strong from a historic perspective, simply helped satisfy a growing demand for this housing type. Absorption rates and price growth statistics point to a healthy market," said Mr. McLean.

The average selling price for condominium apartments in the TREB market area as a whole grew by 5.8 % year-over-year to $388,066. In the City of Toronto, which accounted for 70 % of sales in the GTA, the average selling price of $416,728 represented a 6.1 % increase compared to Q2 2014.

"Condominium apartment prices have been appreciating at a moderate pace, on average, over the past year, especially when compared to low-rise home types like detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. However, it is possible that we could see an acceleration in condo price growth in the second half of this year, as growth in sales remains strong relative to growth in listings," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Toronto Now In The Top 10 World's Top Financial Centers 
 
Toronto has risen into the top 10 on a ranking of the world’s most important financial centres.
 
Canada’s largest city is now ahead of Chicago and Boston, becoming the second-most important financial centre in North America, according to the latest Global Financial Centres Index from Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre.
 
Toronto now ranks eighth in the world, behind Zurich and ahead of San Francisco.
 
“Toronto seems to get stronger over last few years. A number of Toronto rivals have opened up subsidiaries there,” the survey quoted an unidentified New York banker as saying. Montreal rose one spot to 17th place, while Vancouver fell three spots to 18th. Calgary, at 39th, is the only other Canadian city on the 84-city list. London jumped over New York to become the world's number-one financial centre, pushing New York to second place. Those two have been fighting it out for top spot for years, with Hong Kong rounding out the top three.
 
The survey combines data from various other surveys calculating five criterias for a financial centre: Business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure, human capital and reputation.
 
Toronto scores highest on reputation, coming in at eighth place. Its worst score is on human capital, coming in at 11th.
 
Successful people are attracted to successful cities and it is perhaps no surprise that these centers are ranked so high by financial professionals. And I would add, this is also bringing additional positive influence to our already successful luxury downtown financial district condominium real estate market.
 
MID-MAY Resale HOUSING Figures, STRONGEST GROWTH in DETACHED HOMES
 
TORONTO, May 19, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President  announced a 9.6 % year-over-year increase in home sales reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® during the first 14 days of May.  There were 5,655 sales reported in the first two weeks of May 2015 compared to 5,160 sales during the same period in May 2014. “It is clear that demand for ownership housing remains very strong in the GTA.  So much so that, if the pace of sales experienced in the first half of this month is sustained in the second half, we will see record home sales for the month of May,” he said.
 
The average selling price for transactions reported during the first 14 days of May was $ 652,782 for all home types combined – up by 10.7 % compared to the first two weeks of May 2014.  The strongest price growth was experienced in the detached market segment, with the average price up by 13.8 %.
 
“The low-rise market segments, including detached home sales, have been the driver of average price growth in the GTA this year.  As market conditions have tightened, average price growth has remained very strong.  However, while tighter market conditions have been a key factor, so too has been a shift to higher priced homes.  Detached sales growth in the City of Toronto, for example, has been strongest for high-end homes.  The resulting change in the mix of homes sold has also been an important factor in pushing the average price higher,” said TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Record Sales in APRIL 2015

May 5, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 11,303 sales in April 2015. This was the highest sales result on record for the month of April and represented a 17 % increase in comparison to April 2014. While sales increased strongly on a year-over-year basis, new listings were up over the same period by a more moderate five per cent. “The record April result clearly points to the fact that a growing number of GTA households view ownership housing as a high quality, long-term investment. This is evidenced by the strong sales growth we have experienced in Toronto and surrounding regions for all major home types. Firsttime buyers and existing homeowners remain very active in today’s market.”

The overall average selling price, which accounts for all homes reported sold by GTA REALTORS® in April 2015, was up by 10 % year-over-year to $635,932. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark, which estimates the price of a benchmark home with the same attributes from one period to the next, was up by 8.4 % over the same period. The fact that average price growth outpaced growth for the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark, suggests that a greater share of higher-end homes changed hands this year compared to last.

Irrespective of the indicator used, price growth in the GTA was strongest for low-rise home types. However, the better supplied condominium apartment segment also remained healthy with price growth above the rate of inflation.

“Demand for ownership housing was very high relative to the number of homes available for sale in April. This situation is not expected to change markedly as we move through the remainder of 2015. Until we experience a sustained period in which listings grow at a faster pace than sales, annual rates of home price growth will remain strong,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

 

SALES AND PRICE UP YEAR-OVER-YEAR IN MARCH 2015

April 7, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,940 sales in March 2015. This result represented an 11 % increase compared to March 2014. Sales were up for most major home types, both in the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions. New listings were also up, but by a lesser 5.5 %, indicating tighter market conditions.

“Home sales increased compared to last year as the cost of home ownership remained affordable, with lower interest rates going a long way to mitigate the effect of rising home prices. However, a substantial amount of pent-up demand remains in place, especially as it relates to low-rise market segments. This suggests that strong competition between buyers, which has fuelled strong price growth so far this year, will continue to be experienced throughout the spring,” said Mr. Etherington.

In March, the average selling price for all reported transactions was $613,933 – up 10 % year-over-year. Average price growth was strongest for detached homes in the City of Toronto, at 15.9 %.

"It is clear that seller's market conditions in many parts of the GTA are driving price growth. However, looking at the detached market segment in the City of Toronto in particular, growth in the average selling price outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI. This points to the fact that the mix of detached homes sold this year compared to last has shifted towards more expensive properties," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

 
 
GREATER TORONTO REALTORS® Q1 APRIL CONDOMINIUM MARKET FIGURES
 

April 17, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,940 condominium apartment sales during the first quarter of 2015. This result represented an 11.1 % increase compared to 4,447 sales reported in Q1 2014. New listings were also up on a year-over-year basis by 6.2 %. The fact that sales grew at a faster pace than new listings contributed to active listings remaining virtually unchanged at the end of the quarter, in comparison to 2014. "The condo apartment segment represents a very important component of the overall GTA housing market and particularly the City of Toronto, which accounted for 70 % of total condo apartment transactions reported by REALTORS® in the first quarter. Newly completed condo units listed for sale over the past few months have been met with a substantial amount of demand from end user. The average selling price for condominium apartments in the first quarter was up by 3.6 % year-over-year to $363,973. During the first three months of the year, the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark for apartments was up by a similar amount, ranging between 3 - 4 % annually. The fact that average price growth and growth in the MLS® HPI benchmark was similar in the first quarter suggests that the mix of units sold was similar this year compared to last. “The condo apartment price growth in the first quarter is indicative of a healthy marketplace where there is enough demand relative to the supply of listings to see moderate year-over-year price growth, sign of balanced market conditions as it relates to condos.”

STRONG START TO 2015

February 4, 2015 - Toronto Real Estate Board President announced a strong start to 2015, with robust year-over-year sales and average price growth in January. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,355 home sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first month of the year. This result represented a 6.1 % increase over January 2014. During the same period, new listings were up by 9.5 %.

"The January results represented good news on multiple fronts. First, strong sales growth suggests home buyers continue to see housing as a quality long-term investment, despite the recent period of economic uncertainty. Second, the fact that new listings grew at a faster pace than sales suggests that it has become easier for some people to find a home that meets their needs," said Mr. Etherington.

The average selling price for January 2015 home sales was up by 4.9 % year-overyear to $552,575. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite benchmark was up by 7.5 % compared to January 2014.

"Home price growth is forecast to continue in 2015. Lower borrowing costs will largely mitigate price growth this year, which means affordability will remain in check. The strongest rates of price growth will be experienced for low-rise home types, including singles, semis and town houses. However, robust end-user demand for condo apartments will result in above-inflation price growth in the high-rise segment as well," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

SALES & PRICE GROWTH CONTINUE IN NOVEMBER
 
December 4, 2014 - Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,519 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in November 2014. This result was up by 2.6 % compared to 6,354 sales reported in November 2013. Through the first 11 months of 2014, total sales amounted to 88,462 - up 6.6 % compared to the same period in 2013.
 
The average selling price for November transactions was up by 7.4 % year-over-year to $577,936. The year-to-date average price was up by 8.4 % to $567,198. The MLS(R) Home Price Index Composite Benchmark price for November was up by 7.7 % compared to a year earlier.
 
While the trend of year-over-year sales growth continued, the supply of listings remained constrained, with active listings at the end of November down in comparison to last year. Monthly mortgage payments remain affordable relative to accepted lending standards. This is coupled with the fact that housing has proven to be a quality long-term investment," stated TREB President.
 
"The robust average price growth experienced throughout 2014 has been fundamentally sound, with demand high relative to supply. Strong competition between buyers has exerted upward pressure on selling prices. Barring a substantial shift in the relationship between sales and listings in the GTA, price growth is expected to continue through 2015," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.
 
PERSONAL, FAMILY & SOCIAL IMPACT ON HOME OWNERSHIP
 
December 5, 2014 - The season’s first snow flakes have arrived at our city, and many of us will host various holiday celebrations in the coming weeks, and then again, next summer when athletes and fans from countries throughout the Americas arrive to Toronto for the Pan Am and Parapan Games. Regardless of an events – celebrations and hosting typically brings a very positive return on the investment it demands, and thanks to contributions of each of us in Greater Toronto Area, our city routinely achieves high marks in various global rankings.
 
No matter what part of the city you call home, chances are you’re proud of your neighbourhood, condo community, school, or sports association. Many Torontonians also take individual pride in their home ownership. The various effects, both immediate and long-term, that home ownership has on the people of our city were listed in 2012 Building a Better City Report, by Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.
 
After studying the experiences of those who had recently transitioned from rental housing to ownership of a Habitat home, the report’s results confirmed what Greater Toronto REALTORS® have long known to be true: home ownership is directly associated with a range of benefits from improved health, to personal safety, to children’s academic performance.  84% of the survey’s respondents reported improvements in asthma after moving into their Habitat home, which has a direct correlation to healthcare spending, and a staggering 76 % reported improvements in their children’s grades, important for children future and also success for our region’s future economic competitiveness. In fact, virtually all of the children in these households, including 19- to 29-year-olds are still pursuing an education. Also significant is a finding related to engaging in the community: half of respondents reported feeling safer walking outside their homes and 72 % of those surveyed reported being friendly with five or more neighbours – a 25 % increase. Recycling efforts also grew: from 50 % prior to home ownership to 98 % thereafter.
 
A report published in 2012 by the National Association of REALTORS® in the United States illustrates quite similar findings.  For example, it indicates that since homeowners tend to remain in their homes longer, their residential stability lends itself to home improvement efforts and civic participation, both of which contribute to the quality of a community and economy growth. It also found that homeowners are happier, healthier and contribute more to their children’s academic achievement.
 
These and a number of other studies confirm that home ownership is not only a wise long-term financial investment; it is one of the most important steps you can take for your family’s overall well-being.
 
GREATER TORONTO REALTORS® - COMMERCIAL MARKET FIGURES
 
TORONTO, December 4, 2014  - in November 2014, TREB Commercial Network Members reported 470,604 leased square feet of industrial, commercial/retail and office space within the TREB market area for which pricing was disclosed on a per square foot net basis. This result was down by 25 % compared to 624,924 sq ft of combined space
leased in November 2013. Almost 80 % of total leased space was accounted for by the industrial market segment.
Year-over-year changes in average lease rates in November for industrial and commercial/retail properties were up to $5.29 per sq  ft net and $22.31 per sq  ft net respectively. The large increase in the commercial/retail segment was
due, in large part, to the existence of a larger property which leased for a below average lease rate in November 2013. Average office lease rates were down 5.2 % to $13.27per square foot net. “The demand for commercial real estate, whether for lease or for sale, can be volatile on a monthly basis when comparing to the previous year. With this said, recent economic data suggests that we could see an uptick in the demand for commercial space moving forward, given that the Canadian economy expanded at a relatively strong pace over the past two quarters. On top of this, the dip in the value of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the US could result in increased demand for goods produced in the GTA for export south of the border. This could lead to an increase in the demand for industrial space in the GTA as well,” said TREB President. The number of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office transactions in November was unchanged compared to the same period in 2013. There were 67 total transactions for which pricing was disclosed.
 
Average sale prices, on a per sq  ft basis were actually quite volatile in November, both to the positive and negative depending on the market segment in question. However, it should be noted that average price changes can be the result of both market forces and changes in the type and location of properties sold. In November, price change was largely the result of a change in the mix of properties sold this year compared to last.
 
A HOMEOWNER'S GUIDE TO RADON
 
December 2, 2014 - CREA has developed a guide to help homeowners understand radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odourless, colourless, and tasteless. It is produced by the breakdown of uranium found in sediment (soil), rocks, and water. When radon is released into the atmosphere, it gets diluted and poses negligible risk to human health. However, if radon accumulates inside a home, it can pose a serious health risk. Radon levels can be reduced cost-effectively, and there are a variety of options available. A qualified radon specialist can help homeowners make an informed decision. For more information on radon and to obtain a copy of “A Homeowner’s Guide to Radon”,
 
GREATER TORONTO REALTORS® REPORT MID-MONTH RESALE HOUSING STATISTICS
 
April 17, 2014 – 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 % year-over-year sales increase reported by Greater Toronto REALTORS® during the first two weeks of April. Sales through the TorontoMLS 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 %. 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.

SALES AND AVERAGE PRICE UP IN MARCH

April 3, 2014 - Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported strong year-over-year increases in TorontoMLS 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 % 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 3 % 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.

 
CONDO MARKET REPORT - STRONG DEMAND PROMPTS ROBUST PRICE GROWTH IN Q1
 
April 15, 2014 - Home buyers remained confident in purchasing condominium apartments during the first three months of 2014. This included first-time buyers and seasoned home owners looking to change their housing situation. Despite the condo market segment being well-supplied, strong sales growth translated into a robust increase in the average selling price,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,454 condominium apartments sold through the TorontoMLS system in Q1 2014 – up 9 % compared to 4,085 sales reported in Q1 2013. The average selling price for Q1 2014 transactions was up by 5.6 % year-over-year to $351,213.
The City of Toronto accounted for 70 % of all condo apartment transactions, with 3,121 sales reported. The average selling price in the City was $376,226.
The supply of condo apartments listed for sale also edged up in the first three months of 2014. New listings reported during the quarter were up by 3.1 % year-overyear. Active listings at the end of the quarter were up by 1.8 %.
 
“The number of new condominium apartment completions was up substantially in 2014. Because of this, we could see stronger growth in listings in the second half of 2014 as some investors choose to list their units for sale. If this occurs, buyers would benefit from more choice in the marketplace and thus could have more negotiating power with regard to price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
COMMERCIAL REALTY INFO:  LEASE & SALE - Q1 2014  
 
April 3, 2014 - LEASE: Toronto Real Estate Board Commercial Network Members reported a year-over-year increase in the total amount of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office space leased through the TorontoMLS system in the first quarter of 2014. In Q1 2014, total space leased amounted to 4,517,411 square feet – up by 3.6 per cent in comparison to 4,363,905 square feet leased during the first three months of 2013. The largest annual rate of growth was reported for the office market segment (+29 per cent), followed by the commercial/retail segment (+6.9 per cent). The total amount of industrial space leased was down by less than one per cent year-over-year. Annual change in average lease rates was mixed. The average commercial lease rate, for properties leased on a per square foot net basis for which pricing was disclosed, was up by almost 23 per cent. Some of this change was due to a different mix of properties leasing this year compared to last. The average industrial lease rate was down only slightly compared to last year and the average office lease rate was down by approximately six per cent.
“Since coming out of the recession, we have certainly seen a few false starts as it relates to economic growth, particularly where business investment and exports are concerned. However, the first GDP data point for 2014 was very encouraging. Hopefully, the positive result for first quarter leasing activity in the GTA points to continued economic growth, as businesses take on more space in response to anticipated growth in demand for goods and services produced in southwestern Ontario,” said Commercial Committee Chair Cynthia Lai.
 
SALE: There were 197 combined industrial, commercial/retail and office property sales through the TorontoMLS system in the first quarter of 2014. Average selling prices on a per square foot basis for transactions where pricing was disclosed were up for industrial and commercial/retail properties and down for office properties. In addition to market forces, annual price changes also resulted from changes in the mix of properties sold, in terms of both size and geography. “Conditions are in place to support an increase in commercial real estate investment in the GTA. The expectation is that the US economy will continue to pick up steam, which should help facilitate the long-awaited recovery in the Canadian export sector. All of this, coupled with the continuation of accommodative borrowing costs, could prompt an increase in sales activity moving forward,” continued Ms. Lai.
 

SELLING PRICE UP STRONGLY IN JANUARY

February 5, 2014 - Home ownership in the Greater Toronto Area remains affordable and there are many people looking to purchase a home. 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 % in comparison to January 2013. New listings entered into the system were down over the same period by 16.6 % 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 9 %  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.

BILLY BISHOP TORONTO CITY AIRPORT PROPOSAL

Porter Airlines is proposing to introduce new service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport using the Bombardier CS100 jet.  This new service requires City Hall approval and a vote has been scheduled for April 1st. 
 
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport can be important element of Toronto’s economy and can represents a significant economic development advantage for Toronto. For this reason, many support plans that will allow this important economic development tool to be utilized to its fullest potential, while respecting the intent of current restrictions that minimize impacts on other waterfront uses.
 
More Information / Action if you also want o voice your support or opposition. More information and opportunities to contact your Toronto City Councillor are available at Porter Airline’s website: www.porterplans.com.
 
SALES AND AVERAGE PRICE UP IN CALENDAR YEAR 2013

TORONTO, January 6, 2014 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,078 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in December 2013 – up by almost 14 % compared to 3,582 sales reported in December 2012.  New listings entered into the TorontoMLS system were down by almost 4 % over the same period. Total sales for calendar year 2013, at 87,111, were up by approximately 2 % compared to 85,496 transactions in calendar year 2012.

The average selling price for December 2013 sales was $520,398 – up by 8.9 % compared to the average of $477,756 in December 2012.  The average selling price for 2013 as a whole was $523,036, which represented an increase of 5.2 % compared to the calendar year 2012 average of $497,130.

“After a slow start to the year, sales growth accelerated to a brisk pace in the second half of 2013.  Despite the inclement weather in December, the year was finished with a respectable gain in transactions compared to 2012.  Looking forward, I believe that home ownership in the GTA will remain affordable as borrowing costs stay low.  The result could be a further increase in sales in 2014,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

“The average selling price will be up again in 2014 and by more than the rate of inflation.  The seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA.  Some neighbourhoods, especially those characterized by low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhomes, will continue to have less than two months of inventory,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

COLD AND BUSY MID-DECEMBER RESALE REPORT
 
December 17, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,483 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of December 2013.  This number of transactions represented an 18 % increase compared to 2,104 sales reported during the same period in 2012.  The number of new listings entered into the TorontoMLS system was basically unchanged from a year ago.
 
“The key story in the GTA housing market continues to surround the availability of listings, or lack thereof.  With the cost of homeownership remaining affordable, we have seen a resurgence in buying activity in the second half of 2013.  However, growth in listings has not matched growth in sales.  The result has been more buyers competing for fewer listings.  This is why we continue to experience strong price growth,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
The average selling price for December mid-month transactions was up 10 % to $520,379, compared to $471,602 reported for the first 14 days of December 2012.
 
“Inventory levels will remain low in many parts of the GTA in 2014, especially where low-rise home types are concerned, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes.  Expect above-inflation price growth to continue next year,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE OUTLOOK

Most economist predict interest rates will remain low well into 2016, based on moderate job growth, no apparent inflation expected some time soon, and the economy that is largely dependent on trading with US, while their economy is quite sluggish as well. Good news are: 1.) Low interest rates are making it more affordable to buy a home, but can  continue to drive prices up which concerns the Minister of Finance for some time, and 2.) The Federal Government has recently indicated they are not planning any further tightening of mortgage rules. Although, statistics and data indicate that employment income does not rise as quickly as GTA house prices and it appears that the sooner one can own the property the better. For some time it was apparent that the longer one waited to buy the property, resulted in either buying some inferior property, or moving out to a cheaper area. Currently a $500,000 mortgage is approximately $2,000 per month which is a similar to the price of renting a 2-bdrm condo in Toronto.
 
TIGHTER MARKET CONDITIONS DRIVE STRONG PRICE GROWTH 
 
December 4, 2013 - GTA REALTORS® reported 6,391 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in November, representing a 13.9 % ncrease over the sales result for November 2012. Over the same period, new listings on TorontoMLS were down by 4.4 % and month end active listings were down by 12.1 %.
“Growth in sales was strong for most home types in the Greater Toronto Area. Sales growth was led by the single detached market segment followed by condominium apartments. Together, singles and condos accounted for almost three quarters of total GTA transactions,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
“With National Housing Day having just passed, housing affordability is top of mind in the GTA and indeed nationally. Despite strong price growth and an uptick in borrowing costs this year, monthly mortgage payments on the average priced home remain affordable for a household earning the average GTA income,” continued Ms. Usher. The average selling price for November 2013 TorontoMLS transactions was $538,881 up by 11.3 % in comparison to the average of $484,208 reported for November 2012.
The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 5.7 % over the same period.
“Whether we consider the average TorontoMLS selling price or the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark, annual home price growth remained well above the rate of inflation in November. This makes sense given the fact that competition between buyers increased last month. Transactions were up strongly year over year while the number of homes available for sale was down,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
CANADIAN REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION PREDICTS A STRONG YEAR IN 2014
 
December 16, 2013 - Canada’s largest real estate association says this year is turning out better than expected and 2014 will be even stronger.
The Canadian Real Estate Association’s 2013 sales projections have been increased slightly upward in Ontario and the four western provinces and that prices have been generally firmer than expected.
“Most housing markets are well balanced, including many large urban centres,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.
“Housing price gains are always stronger in places where supply is tight relative to demand, such as we’re seeing in Calgary and in parts of southern Ontario including the low rise market in Toronto.
“Prospects for price appreciation will be limited in parts of Quebec and some areas in the Maritimes, where competition among sellers has increased.”
 
Nationally, CREA is projecting 458,200 homes will be sold through its members this year — eight-tenths of a per cent more than in 2012.
CREA also anticipates next year will be even stronger, with 475,000 homes nationally.
The updated numbers are slightly ahead of a forecast in September by the association that predicted 449,900 homes sold this year and 465,600 in 2014.
CREA said Monday the 2013 projected national average price is $382,200, a 5.2 % increase from last year. The projected national average price for 2014 is $391,100, a 2.5% increase from this year.
CREA says November’s home sales dipped slightly from October but were up substantially from the same month last year, when the industry was going through a soft patch attributed to changes in federal rules for mortgage lenders and borrowers.
Home sales edged 0.1 % lower from October on a seasonally adjusted basis. Actual activity was 5.9 % above November 2012 levels.
 
The national average sale price rose 9.8 % on a year-over-year basis in November while the MLS Home Price Index, which CREA says is a better indicator, rose 4.1 % year-over-year in November.
 
BIDDING WARS PICKING UP BEFORE NEW YEAR AND DRIVING PRICES HIGHER
 
December 16, 2013 - GTA house prices were up 11.3 % over last year’s soft November and sales were up by almost 14 %, lead by sales of detached homes and condos, says TREB.
According to the TREB figures, the average sale price of a home in the City of Toronto, in November was $590,366, up from $516,426 a year ago. That compared to $505,190 in the 905 regions, up from $462,907 a year ago. Condo sales showed somewhat mixed results depending on where people were buying. Sales remained strong in both the city and suburbs, up 12.7 % and 14.2 % respectively.
Resale condo prices were up 10 %, year over year, in the 416 region, but they were down just slightly, 0.4 %, in the 905 regions.
The average sale price of a detached house in Toronto was a whopping $855,188 in November.
 
That means that despite concerted efforts by Ottawa to cool the housing market, the average price of a home in the GTA hit $538,881 last month, up from $484,208 in November of 2012. But what’s really pushing up prices — in addition to exceptionally low interest rates — is the worsening shortage of properties for sale that has plagued the Toronto market for more than three years now. The number of new “for sale” signs dotting the region was down 4.4 % in November, year over year, and month-end active listings were down 12.1 %, according to TREB.
No one really knows why so few folks are listing their homes now. But CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal believes it’s because moving up has simply become difficult and costly, especially in Toronto, where two land transfer taxes can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost.
The supply problem has been exacerbated, especially in sought-after city neighbourhoods that are close to transit and good schools, by an unexpected rush of buyers into the market over the summer and fall, who were worried about possible interest rate increase, while at the same time sellers seemed less and less interested to put their homes for sale. That created the lack of inventory in September, October and November which has been influencing the market with bidding wars and rising prices.
 
Some of the sales are, one modest simple semi detached home on Hazelwood Ave, near Pape and Danforth, that sold for more than $135,000 over the asking price, and the other is one detached home on a Davisville and Mount Pleasant area, that had four bids and sold for $951,000, more than $100,000 over the asking price. Houses in the $750,000 to $850,000 range are now considered entry-level homes in some parts of the city, even thought they may need $100-200,000 worth of renovations and updates.
 
Interest rates are also driving the market. Money is so cheap and the inventory is so low that some buyers are saying, if they don’t do what it takes to get the house they like and want, it may be a while until they get another one they like and can afford.

INVESTMENT MORTGAGES CHANGES

Some changes: Approximate 4 out of 5 lenders no longer entertain 80% mortgages on rental properties... particularly for Condominium Apartments. Lenders would now mostly advance mortgages between 65-75% of the properties value, with interest rate premium.  Also, the underwriting criteria for mortgaging investment properties can be significantly different from lender to lender. "Equity mortgages" are no longer allowed. These mortgages were for borrowers that have a large amount of cashable assets but little monthly income. New mortgage regulations insist that all lenders need to clearly document the ability of the borrower to pay monthly obligations with their monthly income regardless of how much money they have or assets they own. Having a lot of assets or cash, but little or no documented income, no longer secures a mortgage in Canada. This is where our expertise is crucial in guiding potential investors through their best mortgage options.
 
THE QUESTION: FIXED OR VARIABLE MORTGAGES
 
Most of borrowers rely on news, predictions, statistics, worry, or on logic that rates do fluctuate and therefore periodically rise and drop... Financial institutions historically made more profit with a standard 5-year fixed mortgages, and because of that those mortgages are generally highly preferred and more pushed by most banks - lenders. On the other side, the 5-year variable mortgage is based on expectation that changes between rising and falling rates will stay within expected reasonable range, so that on average less interest should be paid to the Bank. By examining and comparing historic data of variable and fixed mortgage rates, it is clear that variable interest rates helped borrowers save more money, and made less profit for the bank. Also, most variable rate mortgages are also "flexible" mortgages, allowig borrower the ability to convert, once, their variable rate mortgage to a fixed term mortgage, choosing a fixed rate offered at that time, with NO penalties, while with fixed mortgages, borrower is locked in with the same rate until maturity, with penalties required for any rate change. But, there are no right or wrong mortgages, as no one really knows the future, and personal preferences of each borrower.
 
REALTORS® RAISE CONCERNS OVER POTENTIAL PROPOSALS TO MAKE FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PAY MORE TORONTO HOME BUYING TAX
 
December 11, 2013 - The Toronto Real Estate Board(TREB) is sounding the alarm over a potential proposal that would see first-time home buyers in Toronto paying more Toronto Home Buying Tax (Land Transfer Tax). TREB is responding to published comments indicating that the City's Budget Committee may consider a proposal to eliminate the Toronto Home Buying Tax on the first $200,000 value of a property, for all home buyers, but to also eliminate the current rebate that relieves first-time home buyers from paying Home Buying Tax on the first $400,000 value of a property.
 
 
NEW POLL SHOW INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PHASING-OUT LAND TRANSFER TAX
 
November 25, 2013 - In light of the launch of the City of Toronto's 2014 budget-setting process, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released the results of new public opinion research that shows a strong majority of Torontonians, 69 %, support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, up four points from May 2013.
 
CONDO SALES AND AVERAGE PRICE REBOUND IN Q3 2013
 
October 16, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,307 condominium apartment transactions through the TorontoMLS system in the third quarter of 2013. This result was up by 18 % in comparison to 4,498 condominium apartment sales reported for the third quarter of 2012. In the City of Toronto, which accounted for 72 % of condominium apartment transactions, sales were up by 19.5 %.  The average selling price for condominium apartments in the third quarter of 2013 was $340,069 – up almost 2 % in comparison to the average of $333,846 in the third quarter of 2012.
 
“The Echo Generation wants to live close to where they work and play. It makes sense that they have turned to condominium apartments as they have moved into home ownership. Many condominium apartments in the GTA are characterized by their proximity to a diversity of employment, transportation and leisure alternatives. A growing number of buyers have restarted their search for a condominium apartment since the summer. Despite the onset of stricter lending guidelines, buyers have found that home ownership remains affordable,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
“We experienced a moderate annual rate of increase in the average condo price. However, while condo sales were up, listings were down in the third quarter. If this trend continues, it could point to increased competition between condo buyers and an uptick in the pace of price growth moving forward,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

HOME PRICES IN THE GTA CONTINUE TO CLIMB DESPITE OTTAWA'S EFFORT TO COOL DOWN REAL ESTATE MARKET

 
TORONTO, October 3, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,411 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in September 2013, representing a 30 % increase compared to 5,687 transactions reported in September 2012.  Year-to-date, total residential sales reported through TorontoMLS amounted to 68,907 during the first nine months of 2013 – down by 1 % compared to the same period in 2012.
 
“It’s great news that households have found that the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, remain affordable.  This is why the third quarter was characterized by renewed growth in home sales in the GTA.  We expect to see sales up for the remainder of 2013, as the pent-up demand that resulted from stricter mortgage lending guidelines continues to be satisfied,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
The average selling price for September transactions was $533,797 – up by 6.5 % year-over-year.  Through the first three quarters of 2013, the average selling price was $520,118 – up by over 4 % compared to the first nine months of 2012.
 
Condos continued a surprising surge, which started this past summer, with sales up 28.8 % year over year — up 31.5 % in the City of Toronto and 22.3 per % in the 905 regions. Average condo sale prices in September, however, were down 3.7 % in the city (416 region) to an average of $363,149, but up 2.9 % in the suburbs (905 regions) to an average of $290,239. That resulted in an almost 2 % decline in condo prices overall across the GTA from September of 2012 to the same month this year.
 
Detached sales were up almost 34 % year over year across the GTA, and prices up 7.9 %, bringing the average sale price of a detached home in the 416 region to $856,169 and $608,866 in the 905 regions, says TREB.
 
Semi-detached sales were up more than 20 %, with average prices hitting $616,049 in the city and $405,920 in the suburbs.
 
Townhouse sales climbed by almost 31 %. The average 416 townhouse sold for $455,518 in September and $388,727 in the suburbs, up 9.7 % overall from September of 2012.
 
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark for September was up by 4 % year-over-year.  The annual rate of growth for the composite benchmark has been accelerating since the spring of 2013. “The price growth story in September continued to be about strong demand for low-rise home types, coupled with a short supply of listings.  Even with slower price growth and month-to-month volatility in the condo apartment market, overall annual price growth has been well above the rate of inflation this year.  This scenario will continue to play out through the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 

U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DRIVING CANADIAN MORTGAGE RATES LOWER, FOR NOW

The Huffington Post Canada  |  By Daniel Tencer | http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/08/mortgage-rates-canada-_n_4064341.html?ref=topbar

Oct. 8, 2013 - The U.S. government shutdown has had an interesting side effect for Canada: It has held out the promise of lower mortgage rates, and therefore a stronger housing market.
 
Not that the housing market needs much help these days. Housing starts jumped 5.3 % in September, according to data released Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., beating analysts’ estimates. All parts of the country saw rising starts except Ontario, where they fell 15.6 %.
September house sales in the two most closely-watched markets, Toronto and Vancouver, are up 30 % and 63.8 % respectively, according to those cities’ real estate boards (though there is reason to doubt those numbers).
 
But the housing market could see even more heating, thanks to the U.S. shutdown. That’s because, with the economic uncertainty, investors are flocking to bonds, driving down bond yields. Fixed-rate mortgage rates are tied to bond yields, so mortgage rates are going to come down as a result, according to RateSupermarket’s mortgage outlook panel.
 
Of course the flipside of lower mortgage rates is higher house prices, and Canadian municipal leaders are getting worried about the erosion of affordability, the National Post reports.
 
In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Claude Dauphn, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, urged the federal government to help address the shrinking supply of affordable housing. “Housing costs and, as the Bank of Canada notes, household debt, are undermining Canadians personal financial security, while putting our national economy at risk,” Dauphin wrote.
 
But all bets are off if the gridlock in the U.S. Congress extends past the debt ceiling deadline on Oct. 17. If the U.S. were to suddenly default on its debt, it would “devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression,” Bloomberg reports, citing dozens of experts. So the good news for mortgages could be short-lived indeed.
 

TORONTO REAL ESTATE SALES SOAR IN JULY

 
August 2, 2013 -  House sales across the GTA in July reached their highest levels for that summer month since 2009, with a 16 % surge in sales compared to July 2012. It was the best July result since 2009, and third best July for sales on record, says the Toronto Real Estate Board. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,544 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in July 2013.  The average selling price also spiked in July, up 8 %, to $513,246 (on a year to year basis), largely based on sales of low-rise homes.
“We are a year removed from the onset of stricter mortgage lending guidelines and many households who put their decision to purchase a home on hold have reactivated their search.  An increasing number of these households are getting deals done,” said Ms. Usher, Toronto Real Estate Board President. The low-rise market segment continued to be the driver of overall price growth. 
It should be noted, however,  that even the condo sector is seeing increase in both transactions and prices, despite the fact that the number of units for sale remains high. Condo sales increased approx 10.5% across the GTA over last year, and transactions increased in both 906 and 416 areas. The average selling price of condos sold in July was also up, by 3.4%, from last year, more then the rate of inflation on annual basis, to $338,854. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was also up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types. 
 
While surprising on the surface, the sudden surge can be explained by a few factors: This year’s strong July is being compared to last year’s weak sales figures. A year ago the market was softening significantly, especially condo sales, in the wake of tougher mortgage lending rules that had been imposed that month by Ottawa, sidelining many first-time buyers. As well, July’s sales were pushed upward by a rush of buyers into the market, armed with 90-day pre-approved mortgages at rates often under three per cent, concerned that a slight uptick in mortgage rates in June was just the beginning of what might become a steady upward trend.
Weather may have also be a contributing factor: The spring market was pretty much a wash-out across the GTA this year as the cold, wet weather kept buyers at bay. Many realtors are anticipating that this trend could see an extension of the spring market into the summer, and perhaps even into this fall. On the price side, some of the upward pressure in July can be attributed, quite simply, to a lack of inventory for sale, mostly single-family homes, especially in the some high-demand areas of City of Toronto.
 
Highest growth in demand, by far, was for semi-detached homes where sales were up 26.4 % in July over the same month of 2012, according to the TREB statistics. Sales spiked almost 29 % in the City of Toronto and 25.2 % in the 905 regions. Average prices hit $584,499 (up 11.1 %) in the 416 areas and $416,420 (up 6.5 %) in the 905 areas.
 
Detached home sales were up 20.7 % in the 416 areas and 19.6 % in the 905 areas. The average price of a detached home in the 416 regions rose 6.5 %, to $793,842, in the City of Toronto, and 8 % in the 905 regions, to an average of $597,404.
 
Condo sales were up 10.6 % in the City of Toronto and 10.2 % in the suburbs. Average sale prices, that had largely flatlined over the last year because of fears the condo market was headed for a crash, rose 4.1 % in the City of Toronto to about $362,000, and just 1 % in the 905 regions, to an average of $281,044.
 
First-time buyers appear to have adjusted a year later to the mortgage lending rule changes. They’ve had saved up bigger downpayments, seem to have more confidence that the condo market is holding up much better than some observers had expected a year ago, and seem to be out buying again, realtors say, and Toronto Real Estate Board statistics show.
 
“We are forecasting continued average price growth for the remainder of 2013 and through 2014 as well.  Months of inventory for low-rise homes remains near record lows, suggesting that sellers’ market conditions will remain in place in the second half of 2013.  An increase in listings in 2014 would lead to more balanced market conditions and a slower pace of price growth next year, albeit still above the rate of inflation,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Despite recent increases in average borrowing costs, home buyers are still finding affordable home ownership options in the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher. 
 
DEMAND FOR REALTORS IS INCREASING 
 
Aug 7, 2013- You may or may not be aware of this fact, but more people are choosing to use a real estate agent than ever before. In correlation to the increased demand for real estate agents is the so-called democratization of information – the opening of the web, a.k.a. the Google factor, and the general trend of consumers choosing how and when they purchase products. When you analyze the statistics surrounding Internet adoption and demand for real estate agents, an untold story unfolds.
 
Let’s start with the number of home buyers working with a Realtor, as published in a recent U.S. report issued on Realtor.org. In 2001 about 69 % of all home buyers worked with a real estate agent. Dramatically, by 2012 that number increased to 89 %, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s a whopping 20 % increase.
 
That’s a good news story for Canadian real estate. After an onslaught of news about an uncertain economy over the last four years, along with a general opening up of information online, you would be forgiven for assuming that Realtors’ future in the marketplace might be at risk. The numbers are not reflecting that, and the story doesn’t stop there.
 
The increased demand for real estate agents may be related to a surprising factor.  A growing demographic of home buyers is adopting the Internet and technology in their home-buying process. An analysis of the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released by NAR found that home buyers using the Internet were more likely to work with a real estate agent. Twenty per cent more likely, to be exact. This is counter to a common assumption that the more access a home buyer has to information online, the less they will need to work with a real estate agent.
 
In reality, “91 % of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent, as did 71 % of non-Internet users,” says the study.
 
Data released by the Parliament of Canada reveals that since 2000, Internet usage in Canada increased by 35 per cent. Today 80 % of Canadian mobile phone users are on a smartphone and 93 % of Canadians go online for product information. These latest statistics divulge an interesting outcome. With the ability to search for homes online Canadians have spoken through their actions. They like using the Internet to search for information about property and real estate agents when purchasing.
 
Perhaps the greatest value a real estate agent provides for the home buyer is a sense of security that they are making the right decision and that the deal is put together correctly. With the increase in accessible information online, it is likely home buyers are realizing just how much information is available and are recognizing the need for an expert in the purchasing process
 
According to NAR, 87 % of buyers surveyed viewed real estate agents as a source of valuable information. Another study by Mustel Group Market Research found home buyers believe that the greatest value a real estate agent provides is dealing with the details and negotiating the best price. One can conclude from all this that with the rise of technology, Canadian home buyers are embracing real estate agents. That’s not to say there isn’t uncertainty. But the numbers expose strong demand for real estate agents from the most promising of all consumers groups, the emerging home-buying demographic. Canada’s youngest home buyers using the Internet are also the most likely to work with a real estate agent. The future of Canada’s real estate agents is remarkably good.
 
By Jonathan Whiting. Jonathan Whiting is a founding partner of StreetText.com, a text message and web marketing platform that serves Canadian real estate agents and mortgage brokers coast to coast. REM Online
 
TORONTO RESIDENTS SUPPORT ELIMINATING LAND TRANSFER TAX 
 
Aug 6, 2013- A poll conducted for the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is showing strong public support for eliminating the city’s Land Transfer Tax.
“Torontonians know that the land transfer tax is bad for our city, and they want City Council to follow through on commitments to phase it out,” says Ann Hannah, president of TREB.
 
The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid, found that:
-  Two-thirds of Torontonians support plans to eliminate the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
-  Support for eliminating the Land Transfer Tax with a gradual phase-out    approach, as suggested by Mayor Rob Ford, is strong (65 per cent);
-  90 per cent of recent home buyers feel that they received little or no added value in municipal services for the Land Transfer Tax that they paid to the city;
-  74 per cent of home buyers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area say they are more likely to purchase a home outside of Toronto specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
-  65 per cent of home buyers who currently live in Toronto say they are more likely to leave Toronto when they purchase their next home,  specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

 

PRICE GROWTH ACROSS ALL MAJOR HOME TYPES IN MAY

June 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 10,182 sales through the TorontoMLS system in May 2013, representing a dip of 3.4 % compared to May 2012. Sales of single-detached homes in the GTA were up by almost 1 % compared to the same period last year, including a 3 % year-over-year increase in the City of Toronto.

“The sales picture in the GTA has improved markedly over the past two months. While the number of transactions in April and May remained below last year’s levels, the rate of decline has been much smaller. A growing number of households who put their decision to purchase on hold as a result of stricter lending guidelines are starting to become active again in the ownership market,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price for May 2013 sales was $542,174 – up by 5.4 % in comparison to $514,567 in May 2012. The annual rate of price growth was driven by the tight low-rise segment of the market and particularly by single-detached and semi-detached home transactions in the City of Toronto. Average condominium apartment prices were also up slightly in comparison to last year.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 2.8 % year-over-year.

“The annual rate of price growth in May was not surprising given the competition that still exists between buyers, particularly for low-rise home types such as single-detached and semi-detached houses. We remain on track for a three-and-a-half per cent increase in the average selling price for 2013 as a whole,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

POSITIVE START TO 2013

February 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,375 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in January 2013. This number represented a slight decline compared to 4,432 transactions reported in January 2012. The average selling price for January 2013 sales was $482,648 – up by 4.3 % compared to $462,655 in January 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark price was up by 3.8 % over the same period. 

“The January sales figures represent a good start to 2013. While the number of transactions was down slightly compared to last year, the rate of decline was much less than what was experienced in the second half of 2012. This suggests that some buyers, who put their decision to purchase on hold last year due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, are once again becoming active in the market. It is interesting to note that sales were up for many home types in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto. This is due, at least in part, to the additional upfront land transfer tax in the City of Toronto,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

“There will be enough competition between buyers in the marketplace to prompt continued growth in home prices in 2013. Expect annual average price growth in the three to five per cent range this year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

CONDO MARKET WELL SUPPLIED

January 11, 2013 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,830 condominium apartment sales through the TorontoMLS system during the fourth quarter of 2012. This number represented a decline of 23% compared to 5,005 sales during the same time period in 2011.

The average selling price for condominium apartments in the fourth quarter was $332,410 – down by 1% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

“The condominium apartment market was the best supplied market segment in 2012. Strong condo apartment completions in 2011 and the first few months of 2012 resulted in a substantial number of new listings on the TorontoMLS system last year. With more units for buyers to choose from, the annual rate of price growth moderated,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

In the condominium apartment rental market, transactions rose by almost 13% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of units listed for rent increased by over 17%. Average rents were up on a year-over-year basis for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

“While some first-time buyers put their decision to purchase on hold in the fourth quarter, many of these people chose to rent a condominium apartment instead. Similar to the ownership market, strong new condo completions prompted a considerable increase in the number of investor-held units offered for rent. However, there was still enough competition between renters to prompt upward pressure on average rents,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

SALES DIP IN NOVEMBER WHILE SELLING PRICES INCREASE

December 5, 2012 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,793 sales in November 2012 – down by 16 % compared to November 2011. The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year.

 

 

“Transactions have been down on a year-over-year basis since June, after being up substantially in the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. Some buyers pulled forward their decision to purchase, which has impacted sales levels in the second half of 2012. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines, including a reduced maximum amortization period and a purchase price ceiling of one-million dollars for government insured mortgages, have prompted some buyers to move to the sidelines. This situation has been exacerbated in the City of Toronto because the additional upfront Land Transfer Tax takes money away from buyers that otherwise could be used for a larger down payment,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year.

“The moderate annual rate of price growth compared to previous months was largely due to a different mix in detached home sales this year compared to last, particularly in the City of Toronto. The share of detached homes that sold for over one-million dollars was down substantially, which influenced the overall average price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The MLS® HPI detached benchmark price, which tracks the price for a home with the same attributes over time, was up by almost six per cent in Toronto, suggesting that market conditions for low-rise homes remain quite tight despite a changing mix of sales,” added Mercer.

MORTGAGE RULES CHANGING
 
June 21, 2012 - Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced four measures for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 %:
  • Reduce the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 years.
  • Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow when refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent of the value of their homes.
  • Fix the maximum gross debt service ratio at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent.
  • Limit the availability of government-backed insured mortgages to homes with a purchase price of less than $1 million.
The new rules will take effect on July 9, 2012.  For more detailed information, please visit www.fin.gc.ca 

GTA REALTORS® REPORT MID-AUGUST RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES

TORONTO, August 16, 2012 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,857 transactions through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of August 2012. This mid-month result represented a dip of 7.6 % in comparison to 3,091 sales reported during the same period in 2011.

"A number of factors played into the dip in sales in the first half of August. Sales growth in the spring was very strong, suggesting that some buyers sped up their decision to buy. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines that came into effect at the beginning of July likely prompted some households to put their buying decision on hold. Finally, relatively higher home prices and the additional upfront cost of the City’s Land Transfer Tax go a long way to explain the more pronounced dip in sales in the ‘416’ area code," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

 

The average selling price for the first two weeks of August in the Greater Toronto Area was $480,180 – up 9.2 % in comparison to 2011.

"The strong annual rate of price growth so far in August was driven by the single-detached market segment, particularly in the City of Toronto. While this segment of the market has been consistently tight over the past year, the strong double-digit price growth for single-detached houses in the City suggests that the mix of houses sold this year compared to last also changed, with higher end homes accounting for a greater share of sales this year," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

GTA HOME PRICES UP IN JULY

August 3, 2012 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,570 sales in July 2012, representing a decline of 1.5 per cent compared to 7,683 sales reported in July 2011. The decline was most pronounced in the condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto. Total sales in the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up compared to the same period last year.

“Very strong annual sales growth in the first half of 2012 and an earlier peak in sales this spring compared to 2011 help explain more moderate sales this summer. New mortgage lending guidelines and the additional upfront cost of the City of Toronto land transfer tax also prompted some households to put their buying decision on hold,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price in July 2012 was $476,947 – up by 4 % compared to July 2011. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI)* composite index, which allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of benchmark home prices from one year to the next, was up by 7.1 % year-over-year.

“The GTA housing market became better-supplied in recent months. Buyers benefitted from more choice in the market place, resulting in less upward pressure on the average home price in July. The mix of homes sold in July 2012 versus July 2011 also appears to have changed, further influencing the average selling price. This is evidenced by the different annual rates of growth between the overall average price and the MLS HPI®,” 
said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

GTA REALTORS® RELEASE MID-MONTH RESALE FIGURES

TORONTO, July 8, 012 – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,679 sales through the first 14 days of July 2012, representing a 5.6 % increase compared to the 3,484 sales reported for the same period in 2011. New listings were up by 14.4 % over the same time frame. “Housing demand remained strong in the first half of July. Sales growth occurred in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto. In the City of Toronto, where sales were down, the relatively higher cost of home ownership likely prompted some buyers to purchase elsewhere in the GTA. Higher costs in the City of Toronto include the upfront payment of the additional land transfer tax,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price in the first half of July was $473,466 – up by 2.3 % compared to last year. On average, homes sold for 98 % of the asking price in 5 days – in line with July 2011. Price growth was strongest in the City of Toronto, climbing by 3.5 % to $496,645. 

“A better supplied market contributed to a slower annual rate of price growth in July relative to the first half of 012,,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As buyers benefit from more choice in the second half of this year, expect price growth to slow to a more sustainable pace.”

 

LOW-RISE HOME TYPES DRIVE JUNE PRICE GROWTS

July 5, 2012 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,422 home sales through the TorontoMLS system in June 2012. The number of transactions was down by 5.4 % in comparison to June 2011. The year-over-year decline was largest in the City of Toronto, where sales were down by 13 % compared to June 2011. Sales in the rest of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) market area were comparable to a year ago.

“Buyers continue to face the substantial upfront cost associated with the City of Toronto’s unfair Land Transfer Tax,” said TREB President Ann Hannah. “Recent polling by TREB suggests that many households are considering home purchases outside of the City of Toronto to avoid paying the Land Transfer Tax. This goes a long way in explaining the disproportionate decline in sales in the City versus surrounding regions.”

The average selling price in June was $508,622 – up by 7.3 % compared to June 2011. The mortgage payment associated with the average priced home in June, assuming 5 % down and a five-year fixed rate mortgage amortized over 25 years, would account for approximately 35 % of the average household’s income in the GTA after adding property tax and utility payments.

“According to new mortgage lending guidelines set out by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the GTA housing market remains affordable. The share of the average household’s income going toward major home ownership payments for the average priced home remains below the 39 % ceiling recently announced by Mr. Flaherty,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The average household in the GTA continues to benefit from a considerable amount of flexibility to account for higher interest rates moving forward,” continued Mercer.

CONDO PRICES GROW AT MODERATE PACE IN Q2

July 18, 2012- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,435 condominium apartment transactions during the second quarter of 2012 – down by 2.6 % compared to 6,609 transactions reported in the second quarter of 2011. New listings for condominium apartments were up substantially on a year-over-year basis, climbing by 19 % in comparison to 2011.

“The condominium apartment market has been the best-supplied market segment in the GTA this year. Many condominium projects have completed over the past year and this has resulted in a substantial increase in listings and ultimately more choice for buyers,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah. “The greater degree of choice in the condo market translated into a moderate rate of price growth compared to what was experienced in the low-rise market segment.”

The average price for second quarter condominium apartment sales was $342,212, representing a 3.2 % increase over the same period in 2011.

“Sellers seemed to be well-aware of condo market conditions in the second quarter. On average, units were priced in line with buyer expectations, with apartments selling for 98 % of the asking price in less than a month’s time,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

COMMERCIAL Q2 2012, LEASED SqFt DOWN, LEASE RATES UP, SALES MIXED

July 5, 2012 - Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Commercial Division Members reported almost 3.5 million sq fT of total leased space in the second quarter of 2012. This figure represented a decline of 22 % compared to 4.4 million leased sq ft in Q2 2011. While the amount of space leased was down year-over-year, average lease rates were up for industrial, commercial/retail and office properties.

Industrial properties accounted for close to 80 per cent of total leased space through the TorontoMLS system in the second quarter, with deals completed for over 2.7 million sq ft of industrial space – down by 7 % compared to Q2 2011. The average lease rate for industrial properties transacted on a per sq ft net basis and for which pricing was disclosed was $4.92, representing a 13 % increase year-over-year.

“Given the degree of economic uncertainty that has characterized the Canadian economy this year, it is not surprising that the amount of space leased was down in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2011. With this said, while some firms may have temporarily taken a step back from further real estate investment, we continued to see enough demand for average lease rates to remain buoyant over the past year,” commented TREB Commercial Division Chair Cynthia Lai.

Sales of industrial and commercial properties, with 98 and 95 transactions respectively, were down in comparison to the second quarter of 2011. There were also 50 office transactions representing a slight increase over Q2 2011. Changes in average selling prices compared to last year were mixed. The average price per sq ft for sold industrial properties was up substantially on a year-over-year basis, whereas the average selling prices for commercial/retail and office properties were down.

“Price change can often be driven by a change in the composition of sales from one year to the next. This was certainly the case for industrial transactions in the second quarter. Last year, larger industrial properties, which generally sell for less on a per square foot basis, accounted for a much greater share of transactions compared to 2012. This compositional shift was the main driver of the jump in the average industrial selling price,” continued Lai.

TIGHT MARKET PUSHES THE AVERAGE PRICE ABOVE $500K
Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,032 sales in February 2012 - up 16 % compared to February 2011. New listings were also up over the same period, but by a lesser 11 %  to 12,684. It is important to note that
2012 is a leap year, with one more day in February. Over the first 28 days of February, sales and new listings were up by 10 % and 6 % respectively.

"With slightly more than two months of inventory in the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) market area, on average, it is not surprising that competition between buyers has exerted very strong upward pressure on the average selling price. Price growth will continue to be very strong until the market becomes better supplied," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

"It is important to note that both buyers and sellers are aware of current market conditions. This is evidenced by the fact that homes sold, on average, for 99 % of the asking price in February," continued Silver.

The average selling price in the TREB market area was $502,508 in February - up 11 % compared to February 2011. The Composite MLS® Home Price Index for TREB, which provides a less volatile measure of price growth compared to the average price, was up by 7.3 % compared February 2011.

"If tight market conditions continue to result in higher than expected price growth as we move into the spring, expectations for 2012 as a whole will have to be revised upwards," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "While price growth remains strong, the average selling price remains affordable from a mortgage lending perspective for a household earning the average income in the GTA."

BANK OF CANADA KEEPS INTEREST RATE ON HOLD - March 2012
The Bank of Canada kept its trend-setting Bank Rate at 1.25 % on March 8th, 2012. This marks the 12th consecutive policy meeting in which borrowing costs have been left unchanged. The Bank said that the heightened uncertainty around the global economic outlook had decreased in the weeks since the Bank released its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR).

That said, the global economy is still expected to grow at a pace below its long-term average owing to deleveraging in advanced economies.

The Bank noted that U.S. growth was proceeding at a modest pace amid recent signs of life in the labour market, and that while Chain's economy was slowing, its rate of growth is still high; however, commodity prices are currently higher than anticipated.

Specifically, the price of oil has been pushed higher by recent geo-political concerns. The Bank warned that if sustained, higher oil prices could ultimately dampen the aforementioned improvement in global economic momentum.

Focusing in on the Canadian economy, the Bank said that the outlook for the Canadian economy had improved, though only marginally, from the January MPR. The Bank expects Canadian household spending to remain high as households add to their debt burden. This was characterized as the biggest domestic risk to the outlook.

Net exports have seen some improvement from increased U.S. demand, although they are still being held in check by the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar.

The Bank said that inflation had been higher than previously expected owing to reduced slack in the economy and higher oil prices. That said, inflation is still expected to moderate in the second quarter of the year before returning to its two per cent target for the remainder of the forecast horizon.

"Financial markets still expect interest rates to be hold until well into next year, and today's announcement confirms the Bank is perfectly happy to sit on the sidelines, and is no closer to raising rates now than it was in January," said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump.

The Bank will make its next scheduled rate announcement on April 17th, 2012.
CREA 03/08/2012

SECOND-BEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR SALES

January 5, 2012 - The December result capped off the second-best year on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,718 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in December 2011.  Total sales for 2011 amounted to 89,347 – up 4 % cent in comparison to 2010.
“Low borrowing costs kept Buyers confident in their ability to comfortably cover their mortgage payments along with other major housing costs. If Buyers had not been constrained by a shortage of listings over the past 12 months, we would have been flirting with a new sales record in the Greater Toronto Area,” said TREB President Richard Silver.
For all of 2011, the average selling price was $465,412, an increase of 8 % in comparison to the average of $431,276 in 2010.
The average selling price in December was $451,436 – up 4 % compared to December 2010.
“Months of inventory remained below the pre-recession norm in 2011. Very tight market conditions meant substantial competition between Buyers and strong upward pressure on selling prices. TREB’s baseline forecast for 2012 is for an average price of $485,000, representing a more moderate four per cent annual rate of price growth. This baseline view is subject to a heightened degree of risk given the uncertain global economic outlook,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

 BUSY - FIRST TWO WEEKS OF DECEMBER

TORONTO, December 16, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 2,699 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system during the first 14 days of December. This result was 11 % above the number of transactions recorded during the same period in 2010. On a year-to-date basis, sales amounted to 87,407 – up 4.3 % compared to 2010.
"We have had the second best year on record for transactions under the current Toronto Real Estate Board boundaries. Households have continued to take advantage of affordable home ownership options across the diverse array of housing types available in the Greater Toronto Area," said TREB President Richard Silver.
The average selling price during the first two weeks of December 2011 was $460,967 – up 6 % in comparison to December 2010.
"Strong average price growth, driven by seller’s market conditions, has been largely mitigated by the continuation of very low borrowing costs this year. The share of average household income going toward mortgage principal and interest has increased only marginally and remains in line with accepted mortgage lending standards," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis
.  

HEALTHY FALL MARKET CONTINUES IN NOVEMBER

December 6, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,092 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in November – up 11 % in comparison to November 2010. At the same time, the number of new listings was up by 14 % in comparison to last year.

“We have seen strong annual sales growth through the 2011 fall market. The increase in transactions has been broad-based, with strong growth across low-rise and high-rise home types throughout the Greater Toronto Area. The market has also become better supplied, with annual new listings growth outstripping that of sales. As this trend continues into 2012, we will see more balanced market conditions”, said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Richard Silver. 

The average price for November transactions was $480,421, representing an increase of almost 10 % in comparison to $437,494 in November 2010.

"Despite strong price growth this year, the housing market remains affordable in the GTA, said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The correct method of assessing affordability is to consider the share of the average household’s income that is dedicated to mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and utilities. Currently, this share remains in line with generally accepted lending guidelines.

Given this positive affordability picture, average price growth is forecast to continue in 2012, albeit at a more moderate pace."

PACE OF HOME SALES REMAINS BRISK IN OCTOBER

November 3, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,642 home sales through the TorontoMLS® in October 2011. This represented an increase of 17.5 % compared to the 6,504 transactions reported in October 2010.

Monthly sales data follow a recurring seasonal trend that should be removed before comparing monthly results within the same year. After adjusting for seasonality, the annualized rate of sales for October was 97,100, which was above the average of 90,700 for the first three quarters of 2011.

"The pace of October resale home transactions remained brisk in the GTA. This bodes well for a strong finish to 2011. Home buyers who found it difficult to make a deal in the spring and summer due to a shortage of listings have benefitted from increased supply in the fall", said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

The average selling price through the TorontoMLS® in October was $478,137 – up 8 % compared to October 2010.

"Sellers' market conditions remain in place in many parts of the GTA. The result has been above-average annual rates of price growth for most home types. Thanks to low interest rates, strong price growth has not substantially changed the positive affordability picture in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions,"said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

STRONG CONDO SALES GROWTH IN Q3 2011

October 24, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 5,770 condominium apartment transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in the third quarter of 2011, representing a 24 % increase over the same period in 2010. The average selling price increased by almost 9 % to $333,352.

"Condominium apartments have accounted for about one-quarter of total existing home sales in the GTA this year. This share is expected to increase moving forward, as new home sales and construction has become increasingly driven by high-rise construction," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

In line with new home sales and construction trends over the last few years, condominium apartment completions have been high so far in 2011. When condo projects reach the completion stage, investors and end users whose housing needs have changed often list their units for sale or rent.

"The average annual rate of price growth remained strong in the third quarter, despite the upward trend in completions and active listings. This is because the pace of sales remained brisk, keeping sellers' market conditions in place," said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

FEWER COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS IN Q3

October 5, 2011 - Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Commercial Division Members leased almost 3.6 million square feet of commercial space through the TorontoMLS® system in the third quarter of 2011, representing a decline of almost 50 % in comparison to almost 6.6 million square feet leased during the same period in 2010. Industrial space accounted for over 78 % of the total space leased. The average lease rate for industrial transactions completed on a per square foot net basis and for which pricing was disclosed was $4.83 – down 28 % compared to an average of $6.75 in the third quarter of 2010.

In the third quarter, 184 commercial properties were sold through the TorontoMLS® system. This result was 35 % lower than the 285 transactions recorded in the third quarter of 2010. The split in sales between industrial and other commercial types was more balanced compared to the leasing market. Industrial sales accounted for 60 % of total transactions. The average selling price for industrial transactions with pricing disclosed was $75.42 per square foot – up almost 22 % compared to an average of $61.88 in the third quarter of 2010. The average price per square foot for other commercial transactions with pricing disclosed was $196.11 – up 21 % compared to an average of $162 per square foot in the third quarter of 2010.

"While some firms will continue to approach real estate investments with some degree of caution in the near term, the consensus view is that Canadian economic growth will resume in the second half of 2011 and through 2012. Once the economic situation becomes clearer, GTA firms, especially those focused on exporting goods and services, will be more likely to consider new investment in real estate," Purchase said.

GTA REALTORS® - Mid-SEPTEMBER RESALE HOUSING FIGURES

Toronto, September 16, 2011 – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,149 transactions during the first 14 days of September, representing an increase of more than 25 % in comparison to the first two weeks of September 2010. New listings over the same period, at 6,890, were up by 14 % compared to last year.
“Purchasing and paying for a home over the long term represents the single largest financial commitment most households will make over a lifetime. To make this commitment, households must be confident in their economic prospects,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver. “The fact that sales continued to grow through the first half of September suggests that GTA households remain confident that the economy will remain buoyant.”
The average selling price in the first half of September was $454,194 – an increase of 11 % compared to the same period in September 2010.
“Strong price growth in the GTA continues to be mitigated by a solid affordability picture. Mortgage rates will remain at or near current levels until the second half of 2012 if not into 2013. In response to strong price growth, more households chose to list their homes for sale in comparison to last August. Growth in listings is expected to continue. Increased choice will result in more sustainable rates of price growth” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

STRONG AUGUST HOME SALES IN THE GTA

September 7, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,542 sales through the TorontoMLS® system in August – a 24 %increase over 6,083 sales in August 2010. New listings, at 12,509, were up by 20 % compared to August 2010. Market conditions remained tight as sales growth outstripped growth in new listings.

"Home sales in the GTA have stood up well despite a less certain economic outlook. Home sales will be bolstered by low mortgage rates moving forward. The Bank of Canada is expected to be on the sidelines until the second half of 2012 or even into 2013. However, home ownership affordability in the City of Toronto could be further improved with the removal of the City's land transfer tax. This tax currently represents a substantial upfront cost for home buyers." said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

With market conditions remaining tight in the GTA, the average selling price continued to grow strongly in August – up by more than 10 % year-over-year to $451,663.

"We remain on pace for the second best year on record for sales. Approximately 90,000 transactions are expected by the end of December.  Major home ownership costs, including the average monthly mortgage payment, remain affordable despite the strong price growth experienced so far this year" said TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis Jason Mercer.

TORONTOMLS® SALES & AVERAGE PRICE UP IN JUNE                                                                                                                         July 6, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,230 home sales through the TorontoMLS® system in June 2011 – up 21 % compared to June 2010. This number represented the third best June result on record behind 2007 and 2009. The number of transactions during the first six months of 2011 amounted to 48,189 – down by 4.5 % compared to the first half of 2010.

"
The strong June result capped off an interesting first half of 2011. The pace of sales was a bit sluggish at the beginning of the year, but rebounded in May and June. Because of the positive affordability picture, home buyers remained confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term", said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

The average price for June transactions was $476,371 – a 9.5 % increase over June 2010. Through the first six months of the year, the average selling price was $467,169 – almost an 8 % increase compared to the same period in 2010.

"
While sales have been strong, we would be on track for a record number of transactions in 2011 if not for the decline in listings so far this year. Tight supply meant more competition between home buyers and an accelerating annual rate of price growth in the second quarter. Home owners will likely react to the stronger price growth by listing their homes in greater numbers. A better supplied market would result in more moderate price increases," said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Median Price - In June, the median price was $405,000, from the $367,750 recorded during June of 2010.

SALES AND PRICE INCREASE IN MAY 
June 3, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,046 sales in May 2011, up 6 % compared to May 2010. This result was the second best on record for May under the current Toronto Real Estate Board service area. The number of new listings in May, at 16,076, was down 15 % compared to last year.

"Positive economic news and low borrowing costs led to strong sales through the first five months of the year, including the increase in May," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston. "At the same time, the market has become much tighter compared to last year, due to a substantial dip in new listings."

Homes were on the market for an average of 23 days and sold for an average price of $485,520, up 9 % compared to $446,593 in May 2010. The strongest rate of price growth was experienced for single-detached homes sold in the City of Toronto.

"We have seen clear-cut seller's market conditions emerge over the past two to three months," explained Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The robust price appreciation that we have seen will hopefully prompt more households to list, resulting in a more balanced market later this year," continued Mercer.

Median Price - In May, the median price was $400,000, from the $376,750 recorded during May of 2010.

 
TIGHT MARKET RESULTS IN STRONG PRICE GROWTH IN APRIL
May 4, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,041 existing home sales through the TorontoMLS® system in April 2011. This result was down 17 % compared April 2010 when sales spiked to a new record of 10,898. While off last year's record result, April 2011 sales were in line with the average April sales level reported over the previous five years.

"Existing home sales have been strong from a historic perspective through the first four months of 2011. Expect the pace of sales to remain robust through the spring, as the economy expands and home buyers continue to benefit from affordable home ownership opportunities," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

Market conditions tightened markedly over the last year. April 2011 sales accounted for 62 % of new listings during the month – up substantially from 53 % in April 2010. Tighter conditions resulted in the average April selling price growing by 9 % annually to $477,407.

"The number of listings has been below expectations so far this year. Increased competition between home buyers has led to an accelerating annual rate of price growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The strong price growth experienced in April should result in more listings and more balanced market conditions."

Median Price - In April, the median price was $402,000, from the $373,000 recorded during April of 2010.

 
SECOND BEST MARCH ON RECORD
April 5, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,262 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in March 2011, representing the 2nd best March result on record. The number of transactions was
11 % lower than the record result reported in March 2010. "The strong home sales reported in March and throughout the first quarter of 2011 have been based on a solid affordability picture and improving economic conditions in the GTA and country-wide," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.
 
The average selling price for March 2011 was up 5 % year-over-year to $456,147. The strongest average annual price growth was reported for condominium apartments and semi-detached houses, at approximately 7 % for both home types.
 
"Market conditions were tighter in March compared to last year. With more competition between buyers, we have seen a strong but sustainable rate of price growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. Median Price - In March, the median price was $385,000, from the $370,000 recorded during March of 2010.
 
LESS SALES, HIGHER AVERAGE PRICES IN FEBRUARY
March 3, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,266 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in February 2011. This result was 14 % lower than the record sales reported in February 2010.

While not representing a record, February 2011 sales were 50 % higher than the number reported in February 2009 during the recession and slightly higher than the average February sales over the previous ten years.

"Continued improvement in the GTA economy, including growth in jobs and incomes and a declining unemployment rate, has kept the demand for ownership housing strong," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston. "Market conditions remain quite tight in the GTA. There is enough competition between home buyers to promote continued price growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

The average selling price for February 2011 transactions was $454,423, which was more than 5 %  higher than the average selling price reported in February 2010.

Median Price in February, was $379,000, from the $366,300 recorded during February of 2010.
 
GTA COMMERCIALl REALTORS® REPORT GOOD FEBRUARY SALES FIGURES
TREB Commercial Members recorded 50 sales of IC&I properties in February 2011, including 28 industrial buildings of all size categories which sold for an average price of $96.98 per square foot, an 83 % increase over the average price of $52.89 per square foot recorded in February 2010. The 22 Commercial/Retail transactions recorded in February 2011 sold for an average of $178.58 per square foot, a 23 % increase compared to the average of $145.66 per square foot reported in February 2010.
 
EXPECT HOMES TO REMAIN AFFORDABLE - MODERATE PRICE GROWTH OVER THE NEXT 2 YEARS
February 25, 2011 - The Toronto Real Estate Board expects to see the average existing home price in the GTA grow by approximately 3 to 5 % per year over the next 2 years. Much has been made of some recent analyses forecasting double-digit declines in Canadian home prices. Some analysts have given a specific time frame whereas others have simply argued that the Canadian homes are currently overvalued and their values should decline over time.

Geography is another issue. Talking about the Canadian housing market as a whole is problematic. Market conditions are not uniform across all Canadian provinces and cities....These regional differences confirm that it is difficult to paint resale housing with one brush country-wide. Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis explained that many of the analyses pointing toward double-digit price declines in Canada have relied on the calculation of Canadian home price to income ratios.
"It has been argued that because this ratio is currently high from a historic perspective, the average resale home price in Canada must fall in order for the ratio to move back in line with the long-term average. Unfortunately, this argument doesn't account for borrowing costs, which is problematic given that most home buyers purchase a home using a mortgage," said Mercer. "A better way of determining if the current average home price level is justified is to consider what percentage of average household income is going toward mortgage payments associated with the purchase of an average priced home.

The current percentage is lower than the long term averages for Canada and the GTA. This means that there is still room for moderate price growth, even after taking into account the consensus view that mortgage rates will increase in 2011 and 2012," continued Mercer. One of the most common topics of conversation amongst REALTORS® and home buyers is where mortgage rates are headed. People are concerned about what their mortgage payments will be relative to their income and other expenses, but we do not hear people talking about what their home price to income ratio is going to be after they purchase a home.
The bottom line is that when most people think about housing affordability, they are thinking about how much of their income is going toward their mortgage payments. Affordability has been an issue in the past. In the early 1990s, mortgage rates were substantially higher than today's levels, the unemployment rate had spiked and income growth had stalled. The result was falling prices.

While we will likely see higher borrowing costs this year and next, income growth is also expected to accelerate. This suggests that home ownership will remain affordable and moderate price growth will be justified over the next two years, said Bill Johnston, President of the TREB. 
 
GOOD START TO 2011
February 4, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,337 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in January 2011. This result was 13 % lower than the record result reported in January 2010. "While off the record pace experienced a year ago, the GTA resale market has started the year on a solid footing. Home buyers in Toronto and surrounding areas continue to benefit from a diversity of housing types for sale at many different price points," said TREB President Bill Johnston.

The average selling price for January 2011 sales was $427,037, representing an increase of over 4 %compared to the average of $409,058 reported in January 2010.

"The average selling price is expected to grow at a moderate pace in 2011. Growth rates in the three to five per cent range will be sustainable from an affordability perspective," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Median Price - In January, the median price was $360,000, from the $350,000 recorded during January of 2010.
 
THIRD BEST YEAR FOR EXISTING HOME SALES
January 6, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,395 existing home sales for the month of December, bringing the 2010 total to 86,170 – down by 1 % compared to 2009.

"Market conditions were anything but uniform in 2010. We went from super-charged sales activity during the first four months of the year, to a marked drop-off in transactions in the summer and then in the fall saw sales climb back to levels that are sustainable over the longer term...New Federal Government-mandated mortgage lending guidelines, higher borrowing costs and misconceptions about the HST caused a pause in home buying in the summer. As it became clear that the HST was not applicable to the sale price of an existing home and buyers realized that home ownership remained affordable, market conditions improved," said TREB President Bill Johnston.

The average home selling price in 2010 was $431,463 – up 9 % in comparison to the 2009 average selling price of $395,460. In December, the average annual rate of price growth was 5 %.

"At the outset of 2010, we were experiencing annual rates of price growth at or near 20 %. This was the result of extremely tight market conditions coupled with the fact that we were comparing prices to the trough of the recession at the beginning of 2009. Balanced market conditions in the second half of 2010 resulted in more moderate home price appreciation. Expect the average selling price to grow at or below five per cent in 2011. With this type of growth, mortgage carrying costs for the average priced home in the GTA will remain affordable for a household earning an average income,"said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Median Price - In December, the median price was $355,000, up from the $349,000 recorded during December of 2009.
 
GTA REALTORS® REPORT NOVEMBER RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES
TORONTO, December 3, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 6,510 existing home sales in November – down 13 % from 7,446 sales in November 2009. New listings were also down 13 % annually to 8,642. On a month-over-month basis, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales increased for the fourth straight month to 88,100. This rate was substantially higher than the July low of 67,900.
"The GTA resale market has tightened since the summer. Healthy market conditions continued to support growth in the average selling price. Sales through the first 11 months of the year were down only marginally compared to the same period in 2009. We remain on track for one of the best years on record under the current TREB market area,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston. Median Price - In November, the median price was $366,000, from the $353,800 recorded during November of 2009.
Selling Price - The average selling price for November transactions was $438,030 - up 5 % compared to November 2009.
"The average selling price in the GTA is affordable. A household earning the average income can comfortably cover the mortgage payments on an average priced home. Expect the average selling price to grow at a moderate pace over the next year," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
GTA REALTORS® REPORT MID-OCTOBER RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES
TORONTO, October 18, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,012 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of October 2010.
This represented a 17 % decrease compared to the 3,631 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. Year-to-date sales amounted to 71,988, representing a 3 % increase compared to 2009. "The GTA resale market is balancing out from the record level of sales experienced in the second half of 2009 and first few months of 2010. This is why sales figures have been lower than 2009 levels in recent months. With this said, it should be noted that the annual rate of decline slowed somewhat through the first two weeks of October," said Toronto Real Estate Board
President Bill Johnston.
The average price for October mid-month transactions was $444,644 – up 7 % compared to the average of $414,479 recorded during the first 14 days of October 2009. "We are seeing enough buyers relative to sellers to promote continued price growth year-over-year. People are buying because home ownership remains affordable in the GTA. A household earning the average income can comfortably afford a mortgage on the average priced resale home," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
GTA REALTORS® - AUGUST SALES and NEW LISTINGS DOWN, PRICES UP 
TORONTO, September 3, 2010 ‐ Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,232 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August 2010.
This represented a 22 % decrease compared to the 8,035 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings decreased by 1 % year-over-year to 10,488.
“The prospect of interest rate hikes and new mortgage lending rules prompted some households to purchase a home sooner than they otherwise would have this year. The result has been a larger than normal dip in sales over the summer months.
With this said, it is important to recognize that sales on the year were 8 % higher than in 2009,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston.
The average price for August transactions was $411,012 – up 6 % compared to the average of $387,921 reported in August 2009.
“Market conditions have remained tight enough to support higher home prices in comparison to last year. Under current mortgage lending standards, a household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford the mortgage payments on an average priced home. Market conditions and the affordability picture would have to change dramatically before a sustained drop in the average selling price would take place,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
GTA REALTORS® MID-AUGUST RESALE HOUSING FIGURES, SALES DOWN, PRICE UP
August 17, 2010 ‐ Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 2,732 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of August 2010. This represented a 29 % decrease compared to the 3,832 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings, at 4,770 were down 8 % compared to the first two weeks of August 2009.
 
“Throughout the better part of the last year, the number of monthly sales was well above the expected long-term trend. Accordingly, it makes sense that the number of transactions has dipped over the past few months in comparison to last year’s record results,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston.
 
The average price for August mid-month transactions was $412,934 – up 8 % compared to the average of $383,796 recorded during the first 14 days of August 2009.
 
SALES and NEW LISTINGS DOWN, AVERAGE PRICE UP IN JULY
August 5, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,564 sales in July – a 34 % dip from the record 9,967 sales reported in July 2009. New listings, at 10,825, dropped to the lowest level for the month of July since 2002. "The level of July sales remained below the expected long-term trend. The market has become more balanced following record monthly sales through most of the winter and early spring," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.
 
Total sales through the first seven months of 2010 were up 12 % compared to the same period in 2009.
 
Notwithstanding the fact that price trends vary at the neighbourhood level in GTA, the average price for July transactions was $420,482, representing a 6 % increase over July 2009. Over the first seven months of 2010, the average selling price was up 12 % annually to $432,253.
 
"Market conditions promoting growth in the average selling price have remained in place. While July sales were down compared to last year, the number of new listings in the marketplace also fell. This means there was enough competition between buyers to exert upward pressure on price," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
Median Price - In July, the median price was $361,000, from the $339,900 recorded during July of 2009.
 
JULY MARKET BALANCED
TORONTO, August 5, 2010 ‐ Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,564 sales in July – a 34 % dip from the record 9,967 sales reported in July 2009. New listings, at 10,825, dropped to the lowest level for the month of July since 2002.
“The level of July sales remained below the expected long-term trend. The market has become more balanced following record monthly sales through most of the winter and early spring,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

Total sales through the first seven months of 2010 were up by 12 % compared to the same period in 2009.
Notwithstanding the fact that price trends vary at the neighbourhood level in GTA, the average price for July transactions was $420,482, representing a 6 % increase over July 2009.

Over the first seven months of 2010, the average selling price was up 12 % annually to $432,253.

“Market conditions promoting annual growth in the average selling price have remained in place.
While July sales were down compared to last year, the number of new listings in the marketplace also fell. This means there was enough competition between buyers to exert upward pressure on price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

MARKET MORE BALANCED IN JUNE
July 6, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,442 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in June. This represented a 23 % decrease compared to the record 10,955 sales reported in June 2009. Sales for the second quarter of 2010 amounted to 28,810 – up 1 % annually. Year-to-date sales through June were UP 23 % to 50,455 compared to the first six months of 2009.

"We experienced a record number of existing home sales during the first half of 2010, but these sales were weighted more towards the beginning of the year," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston. "The pace of home sales has moderated from record levels over the past two months with the prospect of higher mortgage rates."

The average price for June transactions was $435,034 – up 8 % compared to the average of $403,972 recorded for June 2009.

"With more homes to choose from in the second quarter, many home buyers have been making less-aggressive offers. This has resulted in less upward pressure on the average selling price," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The annual rate of average price growth in the second half of 2010 will be in the single digits." Median Price: In June, the median price was $367,750, from the $345,000 recorded during June of 2009.

MID MAY RESALE FIGURES - AVERAGE PRICE 12% UP COMPARED TO MID MAY 2009
TORONTO, May 19, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,887 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of May.

This represented a 7 % increase compared to the 4,561 sales recorded during the same period in 2009.  New listings increased by 48 %  annually to 10,059. “The average household looking to purchase a home continued to benefit from affordable opportunities in the first half of May,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. "The number of done deals will remain high for the remainder of 2010, but will dip from record levels.”
The average price for May mid-month transactions was $448,641 – up 12 % compared to the average of $399,811 recorded during the first 14 days of May 2009.

"The total number of homes currently listed in the GTA is now within a more normal range. As buyers benefit from more choice in the second half of 2010, average selling prices will grow at a slower pace," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

HST WILL NOT AFFECT RESALE HOMES
July 9, 2010 - As of July 1st, the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will be in effect and Ontario consumers will be hard-pressed to avoid this so called “tax on everything”.   While that less than flattering nick name for the HST may be pretty close to the truth, it’s not completely accurate, especially when it comes to real estate, where the HST applies differently depending on the type of real estate, whether it is resale housing, newly constructed housing, or business properties.

Anyone who has ever purchased a home or has considered purchasing a ho1me knows that budgeting for taxes is an important part of determining what they can afford.  Whether it is the on-going cost of property taxes, or the upfront cost of land transfer taxes, the cost of taxes on housing can add up.

With that in mind, one of the most important things to know about the HST is that, fortunately, it will not increase the tax burden on the purchase price for homebuyers who purchase resale housing.  That’s because resale housing, which was never subject to Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or the federal Goods and Services Tax, will continue to be exempt from both taxes once they are combined under the HST.

The same is not true for newly constructed homes, which will be hit with additional tax under the HST.  Newly constructed housing has always been subject to the GST, meaning thousands of dollars of tax for home buyers choosing this option.  Now, with the HST, new housing will also be subject to PST, meaning thousands of dollars in added costs for home buyers of new housing.

There is a silver lining for new housing: the provincial government provides a rebate of 75 per cent of the PST on the first $400,000 of a newly constructed home, or a maximum of $24,000. For example, someone purchasing a new home priced at $500,000 would face $40,000 in additional tax from the provincial portion of the HST, which would be reduced to $16,000 with the rebate.  Obviously, the rebate softens the blow, but an extra $16,000 of tax for a newly constructed home is nothing to laugh at.

Fortunately, home buyers choosing to purchase a resale home don’t have to worry about paying HST on the price of their home.  That’s money that they can keep in their pocket, or use to keep their mortgage costs down. 

There is also encouraging news when it comes to real estate for businesses.  Although the costs of purchasing or renting a commercial property are subject to HST, businesses are allowed to claim tax credits to offset these costs.  Even better, when purchasing a commercial property, the business can claim the tax credits immediately so that no upfront costs are incurred for the HST, and cash flow is not impacted.

It won’t be long before the HST is a reality in Ontario and taxes on a long list of goods and services will increase. Although it would be nice if HST didn’t apply to any real estate transactions, luckily, there is some encouraging news, especially for homebuyers of resale housing, who won’t see the purchase price of their home increase due to HST, and businesses buying or renting commercial properties, who will be able to offset their HST costs.

REALTORS® report MID-APRIL RESALE MARKET: 25% INCREASE FROM APRIL 2009
TORONTO, April 16, 2010 – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,601 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of April. This represented a 25 % increase compared to the 3,681 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings increased by 48 % annually to 9,512.
“The fact that annual growth in new listings outstripped growth in sales suggests that the GTA existing home market is becoming better supplied. Home owners are reacting to strong sales and price growth by listing their homes in greater numbers. They are confident they will receive offers in line with their asking price", said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour.
The average price for April mid-month transactions was $430,271 – up 12 % compared to the average of $383,361 recorded during the first 14 days of April 2009.

APRIL FIRST QUARTER RECORD SALES
April 6, 2010 - April 6, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,430 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, pushing total first quarter 2010 sales to 22,418 – the best result on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. In March, the median price was $370,000, from the $317,500 recorded during March of 2009. The average price for March transactions was $434,696. The average price for the first quarter was $427,948.

“The strong rebound in the existing home market was one of the initial drivers of economic recovery,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “While we don’t expect to see the same rates growth moving forward, GTA households will remain confident in ownership housing as a quality long-term investment, especially as economic recovery expands across all industries.”

The annual rate of growth for new listings continued to accelerate in March. The number of new listings grew by 42 per cent compared to March of 2009.

“The average home price in the GTA will continue to grow this year, but the pace will slow as we move through the spring,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As growth in new listings starts to outstrip growth in sales, buyers will experience more choice, resulting in more sustainable single digit rates of average price growth.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHANGES MORGAGE RULES
February 16, 2010 - The federal government has announced changes to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages (less than 20 percent down payment) as follows:
All borrowers will be required to meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter terms.
Reduced maximum amount that can be withdrawn in refinancing a government-backed insured mortgage to 90 % from 95 % of the value of the home.
Require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner occupied properties purchased for speculation. Borrowers purchasing owner-occupied residential properties will still be able to access government-backed mortgage insurance with a 5 per cent down payment.

Additional detail is available here or copy and paste link in the browser

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n10/data/10-011_1-eng.asp

Background: Canada's Housing Market Remains Strong
Canada's housing market remains healthy and stable. According to the International Monetary Fund, our housing market is fully supported by sound economic factors, such as low interest rates, rising incomes and a growing population. Moreover, mortgage arrears—overdue mortgage payments—have also remained low.
Today's announcement is part of the Government's policy of proactively adjusting to developments in the housing market that could take root and cause instability. These steps are timely, targeted and measured, and will reinforce the importance of Canadians borrowing responsibly and using home ownership as a savings mechanism.

Measures Announced Today - Today, the Government announced three changes to the standards governing government-backed mortgages.

Qualifying at a Five-Year Rate- Current interest rates are at record low levels, which has improved the affordability of housing for Canadians. It is important that Canadians borrow prudently and are able to manage their debt loads when interest rates rise.
The adjustments to the mortgage framework will require mortgage insurers to ensure that borrowers qualify for their mortgage amount using the greater of the contract rate or the interest rate for a five-year fixed rate mortgage when calculating the GDS and TDS ratios.
This measure is intended to protect Canadians by providing them with additional flexibility to support mortgage payments at higher interest rates in the future.

Limit the Maximum Refinancing Amount to 90 per cent of the Loan-to-Value Ratio
Borrowers seeking financial flexibility can currently refinance their mortgage and increase the amount they are borrowing on the security of their home up to a limit of 95 per cent of the value of the property. This type of refinancing lowers the borrower's equity in their home. The adjustments today will lower the maximum amount of the mortgage loan in a refinancing of a government-backed high ratio mortgage loan to 90 per cent of the value of the property, consistent with the principle that home ownership is a tool for savings.

Discouraging Speculation by Requiring a Minimum Down Payment of 20 per cent for non-owner-occupied properties
This measure will require a minimum down payment of 20 % for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation. Currently, borrowers may purchase a residential property with a 5 per cent down payment. Today's change will require a 20 per cent down payment for small (i.e., 1- to 4-unit) non-owner-occupied residential rental properties. Borrowers purchasing owner-occupied residential properties which also include some rental units (e.g., borrowers purchasing a duplex to live in one unit and rent out the other) will still be able to access government-backed mortgage insurance with a 5 per cent down payment.
Moving to the New Framework
These adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework are intended to come into force on April 19, 2010. Exceptions would be allowed after April 19 where they are needed to satisfy a binding purchase and sale, financing, or refinancing agreement entered into before April 19, 2010.


 

MITIGATING THE NEW HST TAX THREAT

February 19, 2010 - Being in the dog days of winter, I’m certain a lot of people are dreaming longingly of summer weather, backyard barbecues, and long weekends. For many Canadians, Canada Day is always the unofficial start of the summer season. Unfortunately, this year, Canada Day is also the start of something a little less inspiring: the provincial government’s new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Not exactly a nice way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

What does the HST mean for you? In a nutshell, this tax will expand the provincial eight percent sales tax to apply, as of July 1, 2010, to the things that are currently applicable to the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). This means that home buyers will have to pay PST on numerous items that they currently do not, including home inspection fees, legal fees, moving costs, home appraisals, and real estate service fees or commissions. For the average home buyer in the Greater Toronto Area, the HST will mean about $2,000 in new taxes.

Fortunately, however, there is still action that the provincial government can, and should, take to soften the HST’s blow, particularly for home buyers. Most importantly, the provincial government should take a serious look at its current Land Transfer Tax (LTT), which, if left as-is, would mean that home buyers are paying, not two sales taxes (provincial and federal), but three!

The provincial LTT is, essentially, a sales tax on home buyers, which is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of their home. For the average GTA home buyer, the provincial LTT costs about $4,000, up front. That’s a pretty hefty sales tax. To make things worse, if you’re buying a home in the City of Toronto, you also have to pay a Municipal Land Transfer Tax of about the same amount.

REALTORS® have always voiced concern about land transfer taxes. Simply put, these are unfair taxes that target home buyers. Furthermore, land transfer taxes are bad policy because they make home ownership more difficult to achieve.

When the provincial government first proposed the HST, provincial politicians said that the HST was not intended to generate more revenue for the Province and that, in fact, it would be revenue neutral because of the credits that businesses would be able to claim under the new system. Well, REALTORS® strongly believe that the government should also take action to ensure that the taxes charged to home buyers also remain neutral. With the HST heading towards implementation, the best way for the government to offset its impact on homebuyers would be to take action on its unfair Land Transfer Tax.

For months, the provincial government has been going to great effort to convince Ontarians that the HST is not a tax grab and is simply a re-design of the tax system to improve efficiency and economic competitiveness. Whether or not that is true is debatable, but it’s clear to REALTORS® that, by taking action on its Land Transfer Tax to offset the HST on homebuyers, the government has a clear opportunity to put its money where its mouth is.


New HST TAX Transition Rules
October 21, 2009 -- The provincial government has provided rules/guidance on how it will transition to the implementation of the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax.

Background

The provincial government has passed legislation to combine the eight percent Provincial Sales Tax with the five percent federal Goods and Services Tax, creating a 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
* The HST is NOT YET IN EFFECT. The HST will come into effect beginning on July 1, 2010; however, note transition rules below.
* HST will not apply on the purchase price of re-sale homes.
* HST would apply to services such as moving cost, legal fees, home inspection fees, and REALTOR® commissions.
* HST will apply to the purchase price of newly constructed homes.

However, the Province is proposing a rebate so that new homes across all price ranges would receive a 75 per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the single sales tax on the first $400,000. For new homes under $400,000, this would mean, on average, no additional tax amount compared to the current system.

Transitional Rules for New Housing - Generally, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before June 18, 2009 would not be subject to the provincial portion of the single sales tax, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010.
The tax would also not apply to sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into after June 18, 2009 where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.


Additional Transitional Rules - Where services straddle the HST implementation date of July 1, 2010, the tax charged for the service may have to be split between the pre-July 2010 and post-June 2010 periods. However, the HST will generally not apply to a service if all or substantially all (90% or more) of the service is performed before July 2010.
Four key timelines are important (see below). All are based on the earlier of the time the consideration is either due (In general, an amount is due on the date of the invoice or the day required to be paid pursuant to a written agreement), or is paid without having become due. If consideration is due or paid,
Before October 15, 2009, HST will generally not apply (however, see above transition rules for new housing).
From October 15, 2009 to April 30, 2010, certain business that are not entitled to recover all of their GST/HST paid as input tax credit may be required to self-assess the provincial component of the HST with respect to goods or services supplied after June 30, 2010.
From May 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply for services supplied after June 30, 2010.
After June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply. An exception to this rule would be where ownership of the property is transferred before July 2010 or the invoice relates to services provided before July 2010.
With regard to the lease or license of goods, including non-residential real property, HST will generally apply to lease intervals or payment periods on or after July 1, 2010 and the general rules noted above will apply. However, where a lease interval begins before July 2010 and ends before July 31, 2010, it is not subject to HST.
With regard to the sale of non-residential property, HST is due where both possession and ownership of non-residential property occurs on or after July 1, 2010.
More Detail
Additional detail on the transition rules is available by calling the provincial government enquiry line at 1-800-337-7222.

GTA REALTORS® REPORTING JANUARY MID-MONTH HOUSING STATISTICS

TORONTO, January 18, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,749 existing home sales on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) during the first two weeks of January. This result was almost double the 888 sales reported for the same period in 2009, when sales had dipped to a recessionary low. “We have had a strong start to 2010,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “Widespread sales growth in terms of geography and housing type indicates that many households remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long-term.” The average price for transactions in the first two weeks of January was $395,307, compared to an average of $332,495 for the same period in 2009. “Double-digit average annual price growth will continue through the first quarter of 2010 as sales remain high relative to listings and we continue to make comparisons to last year’s winter downturn,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

EXPECT STRONG START TO 2010 TO CONTINUE

More than 4,986 homes changed hands throughout the Greater Toronto Area in January, far exceeding last January’s recessionary low of 2,670 transactions. Most significantly, last month’s figure is comparable to sales in January 2008 and 2007, the latter of which finished as the strongest year on record.
As we approach the traditionally busy spring season, we can anticipate an increase in activity. There are a number of reasons why spring usually shapes up to be an active period of the year for the resale housing market. Families often coordinate their moves with the school calendar, purchasing in spring to provide for a late summer closing. Others are simply motivated by every spring’s promise of a fresh start. Many buyers are also prompted to begin their search when the snow has melted, making streets and properties more accessible. Sellers meanwhile, choose this time of year as it affords the opportunity to extend household fix-ups to the outdoors, contributing to improved curb appeal and salability.
There are currently 12,052 properties available in the GTA through the Multiple Listing Service and this figure is expected to climb in the coming months as homeowners react to the recent months’ market strength. More competition means that house prices will likely stabilize however; increased activity will also necessitate quick decision-making.
By contrast, typically the summer months afford many of the same benefits as the spring market, without the fast pace. Last summer’s activity though, was markedly stronger than previous years, reflecting both pent up demand from the recessionary months prior and an emerging all-season attitude toward real estate in our city.
During the fall months another spike in activity is usually seen. Typically, the fall market reaches a crescendo in October, when between 6,000 and 8,000 homes change hands, in comparison to more than 9,000 transactions that often take place at the height of the spring season in May.
Throughout the winter months, we generally see more moderate activity. This can benefit buyers, who have the opportunity to achieve an attractive purchase price from motivated sellers. There are however, also advantages for sellers. Buyers who are searching for a home at this time of the year tend to be serious about making a purchase and as such, ineffectual showings are not the norm. Houses often look their holiday best throughout the winter months as well, which can yield favourable returns.  Tom Lebour, Toronto Real Estate Board PRESIDENT’S COLUMN AS IT APPEARS IN THE TORONTO SUN,  February 12, 2010

ASTONISHING DECEMBER

TORONTO, December 17, 2009 - Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 3,079 existing home transactions in the first two weeks of December compared to 1,487 in 2008. The strong growth represents both increased home ownership demand and the fact that we are comparing the recovery phase of the sales cycle this December with the contraction phase experienced last winter.  Year-to-date sales, at 84,888, were up 16 % compared to the same period last year and have moved in line with the healthy levels experienced in the 2004 through 2006 period.  "We experienced a very strong and broad based recovery in the second half of 2009," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. "The rebound in the housing sector speaks to the confidence that households have in overall economic recovery.”
The average resale home price during the first two weeks of December rose 17 % to $423,103. The year-to-date average was $395,411, up 4 % cent compared to the same period in 2008.
“The double-digit price growth we have experienced since September will continue through the first quarter of 2010. Average price growth will move to a sustainable pace in the spring as listings increase," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Summary Of December Sales And Average Price
December                                     2009                                2008
                                         Sales     Average Price        Sales    Average Price
City of Toronto ("416")           1,343       $460,828            619        $382,759
Rest of GTA ("905")               1,736       $393,918             868        $344,887
GTA                                    3,079       $423,103           1,487       $360,652
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

HOT NOVEMBER  

“This year in the GTA home sales will be in line with the healthy levels experienced between 2004 and 2006,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “Increased resale home transactions in the Toronto area and country-wide played a key role in pushing the Canadian economy out of recession in the third quarter.”   

In the first two weeks of November, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,666 sales, an 84 % increase compared to the same period a year ago. The average price of GTA homes sold during this timeframe also grew, by 10 %, to $415,066. Condominium activity throughout the GTA was even more extraordinary. Sales of this housing type increased 90 %, with an average price of $296,664, up 15 % year over year.
The City of Toronto experienced the highest increase in sales volumes while average price appreciation was consistent throughout both areas.

The number of sales in the City of Toronto increased by 88 % compared to the same period a year ago. The average price meanwhile, climbed to $441,893, a 10 % increase from mid-November last year. Condominium sales in Toronto almost doubled, an increase of 97 %  from a year ago. They sold at an average price of $317,939, up 13 % year-over-year.

In the 905 Region sales activity was up 81 % over the first half of November 2008, totaling 2,106 transactions. The average price of a 905 Region home was $395,195, also up 10 % from a year ago. Condominium transactions in the 905 Region increased 75 % from mid-November last year, to 285 sales. They fetched an average price of $246,351, up 20 % year-over-year.

The average price for November transactions was up 14 %  year-over-year to $418,460. The average price year-to-date was up 4 %  to $394,464.

“Very strong annual growth rates for sales and average price should be expected through the first quarter of 2010, because we will be comparing the current recovery to the housing market decline experienced last winter," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As we move into the spring, growth rates will move to more sustainable levels.”

 

 

GTA HOUSING MARKET REBOUND CONTINUES IN SEPTEMBER

October 5, 2009 - In September 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,196 sales, up 28 per cent from September 2008. The average price for September transactions was $406,877 – up by 10 per cent compared to the same month last year.

“We have experienced an increasing rate of existing home price growth in the GTA as sales have continued outpace 2008 results,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “Consumers have remained confident in ownership housing as a long-term investment.” Year-to-date sales, at 66,437 were up 4.5 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2008. Average price, at $388,417 was up by almost 1.5 per cent.

“Existing home sales will finish strong this year, pushing through the 80,000 mark and moving in line with some of the best years on record under the current TREB market area,” according to Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

STRONG SALES INCREASES CONTINUE IN AUGUST

September 2, 2009 - August 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,035 sales, up 27% per cent from August 2008. The average price for August transactions was $387,921 – up by 6 % compared to the same month last year.

“The increase in demand for existing homes has been widespread across different housing types and price ranges,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “This suggests many categories of home buyers have chosen to make a long-term investment in housing, from first-time buyers to move-up buyers or buyers who are seeking a lifestyle change.”

Year-to-date sales, at 58,421 were up two per cent compared to the first eight months of 2008. Average price, at $385,978 was up by less than one-half of one per cent.
“We have heard more positive economic news lately. The improved housing market has played a key role,” explained Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Home sales have helped other sectors of the economy through home buyers’ spending on things like financial and legal services, moving, renovations and home furnishings.”

Median Price - In August, the median price was $338,000, from the $318,000 recorded during August of 2008.

 

 

CANADIAN REAL ESTATE DARLING OF INVESTORS

Colliers report says demand outstrips supply. International investors are fueling commercial and investment real estate opportunities in Canada so far this year, according to a report from Colliers International. The report says the combination of low interest rates, overall strong economic outlook and an influx of foreign capital have produced one of the highest sales volume figures since early 2000, topping $8 billion. 

 

TORONTO WATERFRONT UPDATE

Redevelopment plans for the Toronto waterfront are continuing to be developed and implemented. Recently, pedestrian improvements were completed at York Quay and begun at Port Union.

York Quay Improvements - On June 26, Harbourfront Centre, the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) and representatives of the federal, Ontario and City of Toronto governments officially opened the new public promenade, boardwalks and piers along the water's edge of York Quay. The $12.5 million project ­ a restructuring of the water's edge ­ was built with TWRC support and equal funding from the three governments and features:

  • Extensive landscaping improvements, the widening of the water's edge promenades and the addition of a five-metre-wide wooden boardwalk on the lake adjacent to the promenade and two new finger piers

  • New and unique lighting and street furnishings, including a continuous granite capstone for seating that runs the length of the boardwalk

  • About 100 new trees and construction of a new fish habitat.

Port Union   - On June 11th, the community got a sneak peek at the new Port Union Waterfront Improvement Project, which stretches from Highland Creek to the Rouge River on Scarborough's east waterfront. The $16 million project is funded equally by the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto through the TWRC, and its first phase will be complete in 2006. The project will add 3.6 kilometres to Toronto's waterfront trail system and feature:

  • A pedestrian tunnel

  • Headlands

  • Beaches and cobble shorelines

  • Wetlands on Adam's Creek

  • A pedestrian bridge over the mouth of Highland Creek.

For more information, please visit the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation's web site.

OTHER NEWS:  STATISTICS      HOT  NEWS      MARKET REPORT

CMHC Makes Changes to Mortgage Insurance

June 30, 2006 - The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has announced three changes to its mortgage insurance intended to make home ownership more affordable and accessible.

Application Fees - Effective June 28, 2006, CMHC eliminated application fees on all high-ratio homeowner mortgage loan insurance products. The typical fee eliminated will be $165, but could be as high as $235 depending on the type of insurance transaction.

Interest-Only Homeownership Mortgage Insurance - CMHC will now be offering mortgage insurance to allow lenders to offer borrowers with a proven history of managing their credit responsibly, the option of making interest-only mortgage payments for up to the first 10 years when they purchase or refinance their home.

Extended Homeowner Amortization Periods - Earlier this year, CMHC introduced, on a pilot basis, mortgage insurance on extended amortization periods of up to 30 years. CMHC has announced that this offer will now continue on an on-going basis. In addition, CMHC also announced that it is introducing extended amortization periods of up to 35 years.

INFO RE. TORONTO LTT REBATES PROVIDED BY THE CITY

October 23, 2007 - Toronto City Council has approved a municipal land transfer tax that will be levied on top of the provincial land transfer tax. TREB and REALTORS® took a strong position to oppose this tax as unfair in principle and refused to compromise. As a direct result of this strong position, City Council was forced to make a number of amendments to the City’s original proposal, including rebates for first-time buyers, a reduced rate, and grandfathering for existing transactions. The City has not yet provided detailed information on administration or implementation issues. The following is based on currently available information. Some information from the City is available here.

What was approved by City Council? A second land transfer tax, on top of the provincial land transfer tax, at the following rates:

Residential: (An easy-to-use residential calculator is available at www.NoHomeBuyingTax.com):

  • 0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000, plus

  • 1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000, plus

  • 2% of the amount of the purchase price above $400,000

Commercial / Industrial / Etc.:

  • 0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000, plus

  • 1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000, plus

  • 1.5% of the amount between $400,000 and $40 million, plus

  • 1% of the amount above $40 million

When does this take effect? February 1, 2008.

Are existing transactions grandfathered? Yes. Any transactions where the purchaser and vendor have entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the property prior to December 31, 2007 will be rebated the full amount of the Toronto land transfer tax, regardless of the closing date. (Note: Media reports that closings must occur by Feb. 1, 2008 are inaccurate.) Until that time, grandfathered transactions (Agreements signed on or before December 31, 2007), closing on or after February 1, 2008, will be charged the Toronto land transfer tax, which will then be rebated by the City of Toronto. Transactions closing before February 1, 2008 will not be charged the Toronto land transfer tax. The City has indicated that the necessary changes to Teranet’s system will be implemented in the “spring of 2008”. If you have concerns, please check with the lawyer or the Ciity. Once the City of Toronto provides clarification, more information I will provide more information.

What about Agreements of Purchase and Sale signed after December 31, 2007 with closing dates before February 1, 2008? Purchasers with a Purchase and Sale agreement signed after December 31, 2007 with a closing before February 1, 2008 will not be required to pay the Toronto Land Transfer tax.

Where does this apply? The Toronto land transfer tax only applies to transactions within the City of Toronto. This does NOT apply to property transactions outside of the City of Toronto.

Are first time home buyers affected? First time home buyers of NEW and RE-SALE homes will receive a rebate of the Toronto land transfer tax of up to $3,725 (this equals a 100% rebate on homes purchased for up to $400,000). The City has indicated that the necessary changes to Teranet’s system will be implemented in the “spring of 2008”.  Until that time, first-time buyer transactions will be charged the Toronto land transfer tax, which will then be rebated by the City of Toronto.

More detailed information will be provided once it is made available by the City. If you have questions, contact the City of Toronto at Access Toronto at 416-338-0338. Some information from the City is available here.

PROVINCE EXPANDS PROVINCIAL LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE

December 13, 2007 - The provincial government has announced that it is expanding the PROVINCIAL land transfer tax rebate for first-time buyers to include re-sale housing, something which REALTORS® have lobbied for.

  • First-time buyers of BOTH re-sale, and newly constructed homes, will be eligible for a rebate of the provincial land transfer tax of up to $2,000.

  • Effective for first-time buyers who enter into Agreements of Purchase and Sale AFTER December 13, 2007.

  • This change is being implemented by provincial legislation introduced on December 13, 2007. The Ministry of Finance has indicated that, until the legislation is passed, first-time buyers of re-sale properties eligible for the rebate can submit their applications for the refund and they will be processed once the legislation has passed. It is not known when the legislation will be passed. Buyers can consult with their lawyers if they have concerns.

  • The provincial land transfer tax rebate applies in all Ontario municipalities. In Toronto, the provincial rebate is in addition to City rebates of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. See details of Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

More Information: Ministry of Finance Land Transfer Tax Section 905-433-6361 or General Inquiry 1-800-263-7965                                 

 

DETAILS OF NEW APPROVED TORONTO LAND TRANSFER TAX - Q & A

Toronto land transfer tax is not payable on transactions closing before the tax takes effect on February 1, 2008. For transactions closing after the Toronto land transfer tax takes effect on February 1, 2008, the City of Toronto allows for certain rebates, as described below.

Details - According to the City, purchasers who are eligible for a FULL rebate of the Toronto land transfer tax will not have to pay the tax (meaning that they do not have to pay the tax upfront and be rebated later). This includes the following:

  • Purchasers who have entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a property on or before December 31, 2007; and

  • First-time home buyers where the total Toronto land transfer tax is $3,725 or less ($3,725 is the amount of TLTT payable on a home purchased for $400,000). First-time home buyers with Toronto land transfer tax payable above the maximum rebate amount of $3,725 (those purchasing homes above $400,000) will be required to pay the total Toronto land transfer tax, and then receive the maximum rebate of $3,725 at a later date from the City. Once all changes have been made to Teranet’s collection system, in the spring of 2008, these buyers will only have to pay the balance of the Toronto land transfer tax above $3,725.

SINGLE WOMEN ARE DIVING INTO HOME MARKET

Although traditionally considered less inclined to buy homes than other demographics, single women of all ages are continuing to knock down barriers by purchasing real estate and tackling home repairs in droves.

According to the new Royal LePage Female Buyers Report, 30 % of single, never-before married women own their own home. For divorced or separated women that proportion is 45 %, and for widowed women it’s 64 %.

Poll results found that of the single, never-before married women, not yet homeowners, 31 % say they will potentially purchase their next home within 3 years. More than half (56%) of women who intend to purchase in the next 3 years are shopping for a property in the $150,000 to $350,000 price range, while 10 % have slightly fatter pocket books and are looking for a property priced above $350,000.

Women today are earning higher salaries than ever before, and are much more financially independent than has been the case in the past. Of the women polled who intend to purchase a home in the next three years, 56 % are willing to participate in bidding wars, in comparison to only 49 % of men.

What’s more, the survey found that, of women intending to buy in the next 3 years, 25 % said they are looking to purchase a ‘fixer-upper’ and plan to renovate it themselves. Only 9 % intend to hire a contractor. Research shows that women in Toronto, Halifax and Regina are the most likely to undertake renovations.

The biggest factor driving women to buy homes (36 %) is that it makes more sense to them than renting. Other important factors include making a good investment, cited by 22 per cent of female homeowners surveyed, and pride of ownership, cited by 13 %. Simply put, women today are more financially astute than previous generations, and appreciate real estate as a long-term investment.  The survey also found that 34 % of women would forego a wedding reception in order to put a larger down payment on a house, as would 27 % of men. Women and men are both moving away from tradition, as a 2004 survey found only 30 % of women and 15 % of men likely to forego a wedding reception in order to invest in a home.

Please feel free to forward this Newsletter to your friends and relatives.

 Thank you for your time and business and have a great day!

COLD AND BUSY MID-DECEMBER RESALE
 
December 17, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,483 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of December 2013.  This number of transactions represented an 18 % increase compared to 2,104 sales reported during the same period in 2012.  The number of new listings entered into the TorontoMLS system was basically unchanged from a year ago.
 
“The key story in the GTA housing market continues to surround the availability of listings, or lack thereof.  With the cost of homeownership remaining affordable, we have seen a resurgence in buying activity in the second half of 2013.  However, growth in listings has not matched growth in sales.  The result has been more buyers competing for fewer listings.  This is why we continue to experience strong price growth,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
The average selling price for December mid-month transactions was up 10 % to $520,379, compared to $471,602 reported for the first 14 days of December 2012.
 
“Inventory levels will remain low in many parts of the GTA in 2014, especially where low-rise home types are concerned, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes.  Expect above-inflation price growth to continue next year,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
TIGHTER MARKET CONDITIONS DRIVE STRONG PRICE GROWTH 
 
December 4, 2013 - GTA REALTORS® reported 6,391 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in November, representing a 13.9 % ncrease over the sales result for November 2012. Over the same period, new listings on TorontoMLS were down by 4.4 % and month end active listings were down by 12.1 %.
“Growth in sales was strong for most home types in the Greater Toronto Area. Sales growth was led by the single detached market segment followed by condominium apartments. Together, singles and condos accounted for almost three quarters of total GTA transactions,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
 
“With National Housing Day having just passed, housing affordability is top of mind in the GTA and indeed nationally. Despite strong price growth and an uptick in borrowing costs this year, monthly mortgage payments on the average priced home remain affordable for a household earning the average GTA income,” continued Ms. Usher. The average selling price for November 2013 TorontoMLS transactions was $538,881 up by 11.3 % in comparison to the average of $484,208 reported for November 2012.
The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 5.7 % over the same period.
“Whether we consider the average TorontoMLS selling price or the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark, annual home price growth remained well above the rate of inflation in November. This makes sense given the fact that competition between buyers increased last month. Transactions were up strongly year over year while the number of homes available for sale was down,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
REALTORS® RAISE CONCERNS OVER POTENTIAL PROPOSALS TO MAKE FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PAY MORE TORONTO HOME BUYING TAX
 
December 11, 2013 - The Toronto Real Estate Board(TREB) is sounding the alarm over a potential proposal that would see first-time home buyers in Toronto paying more Toronto Home Buying Tax (Land Transfer Tax). TREB is responding to published comments indicating that the City's Budget Committee may consider a proposal to eliminate the Toronto Home Buying Tax on the first $200,000 value of a property, for all home buyers, but to also eliminate the current rebate that relieves first-time home buyers from paying Home Buying Tax on the first $400,000 value of a property.
 
NEW POLL SHOW INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PHASING-OUT LAND TRANSFER TAX
 
November 25, 2013 - In light of the launch of the City of Toronto's 2014 budget-setting process, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released the results of new public opinion research that shows a strong majority of Torontonians, 69 %, support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, up four points from May 2013.

STRONG SALES AND PRICE GROWTH IN SEPTEMBER

October 3, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,411 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in September 2013, representing a 30 % increase compared to 5,687 transactions reported in September 2012. Year-to-date, total residential 1 % one per cent compared to the same period in 2012.

“It’s great news that households have found that the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, remain affordable. This is why the third quarter was characterized by renewed growth in home sales in the GTA. We expect to see sales up for the remainder of 2013, as the pent-up demand that resulted from stricter mortgage lending guidelines continues to be satisfied,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

The average selling price for September transactions was $533,797 – up by 6.5 % year-over-year. Through the first three quarters of 2013, the average selling price was $520,118 – up by over 4 % compared to the first nine months of 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark for September was up by 4 % year-over-year. The annual rate of growth for the composite benchmark has been accelerating since the spring of 2013.

“The price growth story in September continued to be about strong demand for low-rise home types, coupled with a short supply of listings. Even with slower price growth and month-to-month volatility in the condo apartment market, overall annual price growth has been well above the rate of inflation this year. This scenario will continue to play out through the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

MID SEPTEMBER REPORT - BUSY MARKET
 
September 17, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 3,158 transactions through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of September 2013.  This result was up by 29 % in comparison to September 2012.  Sales were up for all major home types on a year-over-year basis.  The condominium apartment segment led the way with strong sales growth in the City of Toronto.  “The strong growth in sales that we have seen over the past two-and-a-half months indicates that GTA households are approaching home ownership with a renewed sense of confidence.  Prospective home buyers have taken a hard look at their household balance sheets over the past year and have found that, despite stricter lending guidelines, there are affordable property types from which to choose,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher. 
 
The number of new listings entered into the TorontoMLS system was down slightly in comparison to the same period in 2012.  Strong sales growth coupled with a slight reduction in new listings points to increased competition between buyers in some market segments and the continuation of above-inflation rates of price growth.  The average selling price at mid-month September was up by four per cent on an annual basis to $514,560. 
 
“With months of inventory remaining low from a historic perspective and evidence of tighter market conditions during the summer, the only argument that makes sense is for continued home price growth in the Greater Toronto Area for the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 
HOT SEPTEMBER
 
TORONTO, September 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,569 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in August 2013.  This represented a 21 % increase compared to 6,249 sales in August 2012.   “Sales were up strongly this past August for all major home types compared to last year.  Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home.  These households have found that a diversity of affordable ownership options exist throughout the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher. 
 
The average selling price for August 2013 was $503,094 – up by almost 5.5 % compared to the average of $477,170 in August 2012.  The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 3.7 per cent over the same period. 
 
“Despite an increase in borrowing costs during the spring and summer, an average priced home in the GTA has remained affordable for a household earning an average income.  With this in mind, tight market conditions are expected to promote continued price growth through the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

TORONTO REAL ESTATE SALES SOAR IN JULY

August 2, 2013 -  House sales across the GTA in July reached their highest levels for that summer month since 2009, with a 16 % surge in sales compared to July 2012. It was the best July result since 2009, and third best July for sales on record, says the Toronto Real Estate Board. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,544 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in July 2013.  The average selling price also spiked in July, up 8 %, to $513,246 (on a year to year basis), largely based on sales of low-rise homes.

 

“We are a year removed from the onset of stricter mortgage lending guidelines and many households who put their decision to purchase a home on hold have reactivated their search.  An increasing number of these households are getting deals done,” said Ms. Usher, Toronto Real Estate Board President. The low-rise market segment continued to be the driver of overall price growth.

It should be noted, however,  that even the condo sector is seeing increase in both transactions and prices, despite the fact that the number of units for sale remains high. Condo sales increased approx 10.5% across the GTA over last year, and transactions increased in both 906 and 416 areas. The average selling price of condos sold in July was also up, by 3.4%, from last year, more then the rate of inflation on annual basis, to $338,854. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was also up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types.

While surprising on the surface, the sudden surge can be explained by a few factors: This year’s strong July is being compared to last year’s weak sales figures. A year ago the market was softening significantly, especially condo sales, in the wake of tougher mortgage lending rules that had been imposed that month by Ottawa, sidelining many first-time buyers. As well, July’s sales were pushed upward by a rush of buyers into the market, armed with 90-day pre-approved mortgages at rates often under three per cent, concerned that a slight uptick in mortgage rates in June was just the beginning of what might become a steady upward trend.

Weather may have also be a contributing factor: The spring market was pretty much a wash-out across the GTA this year as the cold, wet weather kept buyers at bay. Many realtors are anticipating that this trend could see an extension of the spring market into the summer, and perhaps even into this fall. On the price side, some of the upward pressure in July can be attributed, quite simply, to a lack of inventory for sale, mostly single-family homes, especially in the some high-demand areas of City of Toronto.

Highest growth in demand, by far, was for semi-detached homes where sales were up 26.4 % in July over the same month of 2012, according to the TREB statistics. Sales spiked almost 29 % in the City of Toronto and 25.2 % in the 905 regions.

Average prices hit $584,499 (up 11.1 %) in the 416 areas and $416,420 (up 6.5 %) in the 905 areas.

Detached home sales were up 20.7 % in the 416 areas and 19.6 % in the 905 areas. The average price of a detached home in the 416 regions rose 6.5 %, to $793,842, in the City of Toronto, and 8 % in the 905 regions, to an average of $597,404.

Condo sales were up 10.6 % in the City of Toronto and 10.2 % in the suburbs. Average sale prices, that had largely flatlined over the last year because of fears the condo market was headed for a crash, rose 4.1 % in the City of Toronto to about $362,000, and just 1 % in the 905 regions, to an average of $281,044.

First-time buyers appear to have adjusted a year later to the mortgage lending rule changes. They’ve had saved up bigger downpayments, seem to have more confidence that the condo market is holding up much better than some observers had expected a year ago, and seem to be out buying again, realtors say, and Toronto Real Estate Board statistics show.

“We are forecasting continued average price growth for the remainder of 2013 and through 2014 as well.  Months of inventory for low-rise homes remains near record lows, suggesting that sellers’ market conditions will remain in place in the second half of 2013.  An increase in listings in 2014 would lead to more balanced market conditions and a slower pace of price growth next year, albeit still above the rate of inflation,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Despite recent increases in average borrowing costs, home buyers are still finding affordable home ownership options in the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

 
DEMAND FOR REALTORS IS INCREASING
 
Aug 7, 2013- You may or may not be aware of this fact, but more people are choosing to use a real estate agent than ever before. In correlation to the increased demand for real estate agents is the so-called democratization of information – the opening of the web, a.k.a. the Google factor, and the general trend of consumers choosing how and when they purchase products. When you analyze the statistics surrounding Internet adoption and demand for real estate agents, an untold story unfolds.
 
Let’s start with the number of home buyers working with a Realtor, as published in a recent U.S. report issued on Realtor.org. In 2001 about 69 % of all home buyers worked with a real estate agent. Dramatically, by 2012 that number increased to 89 %, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s a whopping 20 % increase.
 
That’s a good news story for Canadian real estate. After an onslaught of news about an uncertain economy over the last four years, along with a general opening up of information online, you would be forgiven for assuming that Realtors’ future in the marketplace might be at risk. The numbers are not reflecting that, and the story doesn’t stop there.
 
The increased demand for real estate agents may be related to a surprising factor.  A growing demographic of home buyers is adopting the Internet and technology in their home-buying process. An analysis of the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released by NAR found that home buyers using the Internet were more likely to work with a real estate agent. Twenty per cent more likely, to be exact. This is counter to a common assumption that the more access a home buyer has to information online, the less they will need to work with a real estate agent.
 
In reality, “91 % of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent, as did 71 % of non-Internet users,” says the study.
 
Data released by the Parliament of Canada reveals that since 2000, Internet usage in Canada increased by 35 per cent. Today 80 % of Canadian mobile phone users are on a smartphone and 93 % of Canadians go online for product information. These latest statistics divulge an interesting outcome. With the ability to search for homes online Canadians have spoken through their actions. They like using the Internet to search for information about property and real estate agents when purchasing.
 
Perhaps the greatest value a real estate agent provides for the home buyer is a sense of security that they are making the right decision and that the deal is put together correctly. With the increase in accessible information online, it is likely home buyers are realizing just how much information is available and are recognizing the need for an expert in the purchasing process
 
According to NAR, 87 % of buyers surveyed viewed real estate agents as a source of valuable information. Another study by Mustel Group Market Research found home buyers believe that the greatest value a real estate agent provides is dealing with the details and negotiating the best price. One can conclude from all this that with the rise of technology, Canadian home buyers are embracing real estate agents. That’s not to say there isn’t uncertainty. But the numbers expose strong demand for real estate agents from the most promising of all consumers groups, the emerging home-buying demographic. Canada’s youngest home buyers using the Internet are also the most likely to work with a real estate agent. The future of Canada’s real estate agents is remarkably good.
 
By Jonathan Whiting. Jonathan Whiting is a founding partner of StreetText.com, a text message and web marketing platform that serves Canadian real estate agents and mortgage brokers coast to coast. REM Online
 
TORONTO RESIDENTS SUPPORT ELIMINATING LAND TRANSFER TAX
 
Aug 6, 2013- A poll conducted for the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is showing strong public support for eliminating the city’s Land Transfer Tax. “Torontonians know that the land transfer tax is bad for our city, and they want City Council to follow through on commitments to phase it out,” says Ann Hannah, president of TREB.
 
The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid, found that:
-  Two-thirds of Torontonians support plans to eliminate the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
-  Support for eliminating the Land Transfer Tax with a gradual phase-out    approach, as suggested by Mayor Rob Ford, is strong (65 per cent);
-  90 per cent of recent home buyers feel that they received little or no added value in municipal services for the Land Transfer Tax that they paid to the city;
-  74 per cent of home buyers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area say they are more likely to purchase a home outside of Toronto specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
-  65 per cent of home buyers who currently live in Toronto say they are more likely to leave Toronto when they purchase their next home,  specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

WARM JUNE, LISTINGS DOWN, PRICES UP

July 4, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 9,061 sales through the TorontoMLS system in June 2013 – down by less than 1 % compared to June 2012. "The sales picture in the GTA improved markedly in the second quarter of 2013. While the number of transactions was still down compared to 2012, rates of decline were substantially improved compared to the first quarter. As a growing number of homebuyers, many of whom put their purchase on hold due to stricter lending guidelines, now reactivate their search, the expectation is for renewed growth in home sales in the second half of 2013," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ms. Usher.

The average selling price in June was up by 4.7 per cent year-over-year to $531,374. In line with the 2013 norm, June price growth was driven by the single-detached and semi-detached market segments, particularly in the City of Toronto. Over the same time period, average condominium apartment selling prices remained in line with 2012 levels.
"The short supply of low-rise home types in many parts of the GTA relative to the number of households looking to buy continued to prompt strong upward pressure on selling prices of singles and semis," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "We have also seen enough buyers in the better-supplied condo apartment market to provide support for selling prices at current levels."

PRICE GROWTH ACROSS ALL MAJOR HOME TYPES IN MAY

June 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 10,182 sales through the TorontoMLS system in May 2013, representing a dip of 3.4 % compared to May 2012. Sales of single-detached homes in the GTA were up by almost 1 % compared to the same period last year, including a 3 % year-over-year increase in the City of Toronto.

“The sales picture in the GTA has improved markedly over the past two months. While the number of transactions in April and May remained below last year’s levels, the rate of decline has been much smaller. A growing number of households who put their decision to purchase on hold as a result of stricter lending guidelines are starting to become active again in the ownership market,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price for May 2013 sales was $542,174 – up by 5.4 % in comparison to $514,567 in May 2012. The annual rate of price growth was driven by the tight low-rise segment of the market and particularly by single-detached and semi-detached home transactions in the City of Toronto. Average condominium apartment prices were also up slightly in comparison to last year.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 2.8 % year-over-year.

“The annual rate of price growth in May was not surprising given the competition that still exists between buyers, particularly for low-rise home types such as single-detached and semi-detached houses. We remain on track for a three-and-a-half per cent increase in the average selling price for 2013 as a whole,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

REAL ESTATE PRICES MOVE HIGHER IN TORONTO

April 3, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,765 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in March 2013 – down 17 % compared to 9,385 transactions in March 2012. While the year-over-year dip in March sales followed the trend that has unfolded since mid-way through 2012, it is also important to note that the Good Friday holiday was in March this year versus April in 2012. Generally speaking, there are fewer sales reported on statutory holidays and weekends. In the first quarter of 2013, sales amounted to 17,678 – down by 14 per cent compared to Q1 2012.

The average selling price in March was $519,879 – up by 3.8 % compared to March 2012. The average price in Q1 2013 was $508,066 – up by 3.2 % compared to the first quarter of 2012. The Toronto two-storey average in the first quarter was $671,252, the bungalow average was $565,700 and the condo average was $359,671.

"The average selling price and the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up on a year-over-year basis across most home types, especially in the low-rise market segments where supply remains an issue.  TREB's average price forecast for 2013 remains at $515,000, representing a 3.5 % annual rate of growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

TREB MEMBERS CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION PROGRAMS

The general public lacks awareness of the extent of a Toronto Real Estate Board REALTORS®'s involvement and charitable efforts within local communities and abroad. That is why we felt it is necessary to brings to light the extent of these efforts and the lives affected by REALTORS®'s contributions.

TREB's Children Breakfast Program; Fundraising for Habitat for Humanity; Habitat for Humanity Toronto Appreciation Book; REALTORS® Offer Key to a Better Life

LESS SALES, HIGHER PRICES IN FEBRUARY

March 5, 2013 -- Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 5,759 sales through the TorontoMLS system in February 2013 – a decline of 15 % in comparison to February 2012.  It should be noted that 2012 was a leap year with one extra day in February.  A 28 day year-over-year sales comparison resulted in a lesser decline of 10.5 per cent.

The average selling price for February 2013 was $510,580 – up 2 % in comparison to February 2012.

“Stricter mortgage lending guidelines that precluded government backed mortgages on homes sold for over one million dollars and the City of Toronto’s additional upfront land transfer tax arguably played a role in the slower pace of luxury detached home sales,” said Ms. Hannah.The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark price covering all major home types eliminates fluctuations in price growth due to changes in sales mix.  The Composite Benchmark price was up by more than 3 % on a year-over-year basis in February.

“We will undoubtedly experience some volatility in price growth for some market segments in 2013.  However, months of inventory in the low-rise market segment will remain low, resulting in average price growth above three per cent for the TREB market area this year.  Our current average price forecast is $515,000 for all home types combined in 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

BRA First Banner

POSITIVE START TO 2013

February 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,375 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in January 2013. This number represented a slight decline compared to 4,432 transactions reported in January 2012.  The average selling price for January 2013 sales was $482,648 – up by 4.3 % compared to $462,655 in January 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark price was up by 3.8 % over the same period.

“The January sales figures represent a good start to 2013. While the number of transactions was down slightly compared to last year, the rate of decline was much less than what was experienced in the second half of 2012. This suggests that some buyers, who put their decision to purchase on hold last year due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, are once again becoming active in the market. It is interesting to note that sales were up for many home types in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto. This is due, at least in part, to the additional upfront land transfer tax in the City of Toronto,”said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

“There will be enough competition between buyers in the marketplace to prompt continued growth in home prices in 2013. Expect annual average price growth in the three to five per cent range this year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

CONDO MARKET WELL SUPPLIED

January 11, 2013 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,830 condominium apartment sales through the TorontoMLS system during the fourth quarter of 2012. This number represented a decline of 23 % compared to 5,005 sales during the same time period in 2011. The average selling price for condominium apartments in the fourth quarter was $332,410 – down by 1 % compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

“The condominium apartment market was the best supplied market segment in 2012. Strong condo apartment completions in 2011 and the first few months of 2012 resulted in a substantial number of new listings on the TorontoMLS system last year. With more units for buyers to choose from, the annual rate of price growth moderated,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

In the condominium apartment rental market, transactions rose by almost 13 %t year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of units listed for rent increased by over 17%. Average rents were up on a year-over-year basis for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

“While some first-time buyers put their decision to purchase on hold in the fourth quarter, many of these people chose to rent a condominium apartment instead. Similar to the ownership market, strong new condo completions prompted a considerable increase in the number of investor-held units offered for rent. However, there was still enough competition between renters to prompt upward pressure on average rents,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

SALES DIP IN NOVEMBER WHILE SELLING PRICES INCREASE

December 5, 2012 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,793 sales in November 2012 – down by 16 % compared to November 2011. The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year. 

“Transactions have been down on a year-over-year basis since June, after being up substantially in the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. Some buyers pulled forward their decision to purchase, which has impacted sales levels in the second half of 2012. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines, including a reduced maximum amortization period and a purchase price ceiling of one-million dollars for government insured mortgages, have prompted some buyers to move to the sidelines. This situation has been exacerbated in the City of Toronto because the additional upfront Land Transfer Tax takes money away from buyers that otherwise could be used for a larger down payment,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year.

“The moderate annual rate of price growth compared to previous months was largely due to a different mix in detached home sales this year compared to last, particularly in the City of Toronto. The share of detached homes that sold for over one-million dollars was down substantially, which influenced the overall average price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The MLS® HPI detached benchmark price, which tracks the price for a home with the same attributes over time, was up by almost six per cent in Toronto, suggesting that market conditions for low-rise homes remain quite tight despite a changing mix of sales,” added Mercer.

MORTGAGE RULES CHANGING
 
June 21, 2012 - The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced four measures for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 %:
  • Reduce the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 years.
  • Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow when refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent of the value of their homes.
  • Fix the maximum gross debt service ratio at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent.
  • Limit the availability of government-backed insured mortgages to homes with a purchase price of less than $1 million.
The new rules will take effect on July 9, 2012.  For more detailed information, please visit www.fin.gc.ca 

STRONG AVERAGE PRICE GROWTH IN SEPTEMBER

October 3, 2012 - Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 5,879 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in September 2012. The average selling price for these transactions was $503,662, representing an increase of more than 8.5 per cent compared to last year.

September average selling prices were up compared to last year for all major home types. Price growth was strongest in the City of Toronto, including for condominium apartments with 8 %  year-over-year growth. All benchmark home types included in the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) experienced year-over-year price increases, with substantially stronger increases for low-rise home types.

The number of transactions was down by 21 % in comparison to September 2011. However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012 compared to September 2011. The majority of transactions are entered on working days. On a per working day basis, sales were down by 12.5 % year-over-year. “While sales have been lower due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, we continue to see substantial competition between buyers. The months of inventory trend remains low from a historic perspective, which explains the strong price increases we are experiencing,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

“Barring a major change to the consensus economic outlook, home price growth is expected to continue through 2013. Based on inventory levels, price growth will be strongest for low-rise home types, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and town homes,” said TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer.

INCREASED CHOICE RESULTS IN FLAT CONDO PRICES IN Q3

October 16, 2012-Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,541 condominium apartment sales through the TorontoMLS system in the third quarter of 2012. This result represented a 20.5 % decline in transactions compared to the third quarter of 2011. Over the same period, the number of new listings was up by more than 6.5 % to 11,456.

“The condominium apartment market was the best supplied market segment in the third quarter of this year. Strong condominium apartment completions in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 resulted in many investor-held units listed for sale. At the same time, sales dropped off relative to last year as some buyers moved to the sidelines as stricter mortgage lending guidelines resulted in increased costs of home ownership,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price for condominium apartments in the third quarter, at $334,204, was flat in comparison to the same period last year.  “With more listings to choose from and fewer sales, condo buyers have not been as aggressive with regard to offers, and sellers have had to price their units competitively. The result was little upward pressure on the average selling price compared to last year. Given the supply of listings currently in the market place, the average rate of price growth for condo apartments should continue to lag price growth for low-rise home types over the next year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

GTA REALTORS® RELEASE MID-OCTOBER RESALE FIGURES

TORONTO, October 16, 2012 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,961 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of October 2012. The number of transactions was down by 10.5 % compared to the same period in 2011. New listings were up by 5.5 % year-over-year to 6,505.
“Some households have put their home purchase plans on hold in response to the higher cost of home ownership brought about by the recent changes to mortgage lending guidelines. Both first-time buyers and existing home owners have been affected, given that sales were down across house types and geography,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.
The average selling price for sales reported from October 1 through October 14 was $501,146 – up by almost 6 % in comparison to last year. “The average selling price grew well above the rate of inflation in the first half of October due to relatively tight market conditions from a historic perspective. However, the market continued to become better supplied, pointing toward a slower pace of price growth as we move into 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

GTA REALTORS® REPORT MID-AUGUST RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES

TORONTO, August 16, 2012 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,857 transactions through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of August 2012. This mid-month result represented a dip of 7.6 % in comparison to 3,091 sales reported during the same period in 2011.

"A number of factors played into the dip in sales in the first half of August. Sales growth in the spring was very strong, suggesting that some buyers sped up their decision to buy. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines that came into effect at the beginning of July likely prompted some households to put their buying decision on hold. Finally, relatively higher home prices and the additional upfront cost of the City’s Land Transfer Tax go a long way to explain the more pronounced dip in sales in the ‘416’ area code," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price for the first two weeks of August in the Greater Toronto Area was $480,180 – up 9.2 % in comparison to 2011.

"The strong annual rate of price growth so far in August was driven by the single-detached market segment, particularly in the City of Toronto. While this segment of the market has been consistently tight over the past year, the strong double-digit price growth for single-detached houses in the City suggests that the mix of houses sold this year compared to last also changed, with higher end homes accounting for a greater share of sales this year," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

GTA HOME PRICES UP IN JULY

August 3, 2012 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,570 sales in July 2012, representing a decline of 1.5 per cent compared to 7,683 sales reported in July 2011. The decline was most pronounced in the condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto. Total sales in the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up compared to the same period last year.

“Very strong annual sales growth in the first half of 2012 and an earlier peak in sales this spring compared to 2011 help explain more moderate sales this summer. New mortgage lending guidelines and the additional upfront cost of the City of Toronto land transfer tax also prompted some households to put their buying decision on hold,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price in July 2012 was $476,947 – up by 4 % compared to July 2011. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI)* composite index, which allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of benchmark home prices from one year to the next, was up by 7.1 % year-over-year.

“The GTA housing market became better-supplied in recent months. Buyers benefitted from more choice in the market place, resulting in less upward pressure on the average home price in July. The mix of homes sold in July 2012 versus July 2011 also appears to have changed, further influencing the average selling price. This is evidenced by the different annual rates of growth between the overall average price and the MLS HPI®,” 
said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

GTA REALTORS® RELEASE MID-JULY RESALE FIGURES

TORONTO, July 8, 012 – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,679 sales through the first 14 days of July 2012, representing a 5.6 % increase compared to the 3,484 sales reported for the same period in 2011. New listings were up by 14.4 % over the same time frame. “Housing demand remained strng in the first half of July. Sales growth occurred in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto. In the City of Toronto, where sales were down, the relatively higher cost of home ownership likely prompted some buyers to purchase elsewhere in the GTA. Higher costs in the City of Toronto include the upfront payment of the additional land transfer tax,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price in the first half of July was $473,466 – up by 2.3 % compared to last year. On average, homes sold for 98 % of the asking price in 5 days – in line with July 2011. Price growth was strongest in the City of Toronto, climbing by 3.5 % to $496,645. 

“A better supplied market contributed to a slower annual rate of price growth in July relative to the first half of 012,,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As buyers benefit from more choice in the second half of this year, expect price growth to slow to a more sustainable pace.”

LOW-RISE HOME TYPES DRIVE JUNE PRICE GROWTS

July 5, 2012 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,422 home sales through the TorontoMLS system in June 2012. The number of transactions was down by 5.4 % in comparison to June 2011. The year-over-year decline was largest in the City of Toronto, where sales were down by 13 % compared to June 2011. Sales in the rest of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) market area were comparable to a year ago.

“Buyers continue to face the substantial upfront cost associated with the City of Toronto’s unfair Land Transfer Tax,” said TREB President Ann Hannah. “Recent polling by TREB suggests that many households are considering home purchases outside of the City of Toronto to avoid paying the Land Transfer Tax. This goes a long way in explaining the disproportionate decline in sales in the City versus surrounding regions.”

The average selling price in June was $508,622 – up by 7.3 % compared to June 2011. The mortgage payment associated with the average priced home in June, assuming 5 % down and a five-year fixed rate mortgage amortized over 25 years, would account for approximately 35 % of the average household’s income in the GTA after adding property tax and utility payments.

“According to new mortgage lending guidelines set out by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the GTA housing market remains affordable. The share of the average household’s income going toward major home ownership payments for the average priced home remains below the 39 % ceiling recently announced by Mr. Flaherty,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The average household in the GTA continues to benefit from a considerable amount of flexibility to account for higher interest rates moving forward,” continued Mercer.

CONDO PRICES GROW AT MODERATE PACE IN Q2

July 18, 2012- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,435 condominium apartment transactions during the second quarter of 2012 – down by 2.6 % compared to 6,609 transactions reported in the second quarter of 2011. New listings for condominium apartments were up substantially on a year-over-year basis, climbing by 19 % in comparison to 2011.

“The condominium apartment market has been the best-supplied market segment in the GTA this year. Many condominium projects have completed over the past year and this has resulted in a substantial increase in listings and ultimately more choice for buyers,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah. “The greater degree of choice in the condo market translated into a moderate rate of price growth compared to what was experienced in the low-rise market segment.”

The average price for second quarter condominium apartment sales was $342,212, representing a 3.2 % increase over the same period in 2011.

“Sellers seemed to be well-aware of condo market conditions in the second quarter. On average, units were priced in line with buyer expectations, with apartments selling for 98 % of the asking price in less than a month’s time,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. 

COMMERCIAL Q2 2012, LEASED SqFt DOWN, LEASE RATES UP, SALES MIXED

July 5, 2012 - Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Commercial Division Members reported almost 3.5 million sq fT of total leased space in the second quarter of 2012. This figure represented a decline of 22 % compared to 4.4 million leased sq ft in Q2 2011. While the amount of space leased was down year-over-year, average lease rates were up for industrial, commercial/retail and office properties.

Industrial properties accounted for close to 80 per cent of total leased space through the TorontoMLS system in the second quarter, with deals completed for over 2.7 million sq ft of industrial space – down by 7 % compared to Q2 2011. The average lease rate for industrial properties transacted on a per sq ft net basis and for which pricing was disclosed was $4.92, representing a 13 % increase year-over-year.

“Given the degree of economic uncertainty that has characterized the Canadian economy this year, it is not surprising that the amount of space leased was down in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2011. With this said, while some firms may have temporarily taken a step back from further real estate investment, we continued to see enough demand for average lease rates to remain buoyant over the past year,” commented TREB Commercial Division Chair Cynthia Lai.

Sales of industrial and commercial properties, with 98 and 95 transactions respectively, were down in comparison to the second quarter of 2011. There were also 50 office transactions representing a slight increase over Q2 2011. Changes in average selling prices compared to last year were mixed. The average price per sq ft for sold industrial properties was up substantially on a year-over-year basis, whereas the average selling prices for commercial/retail and office properties were down.

“Price change can often be driven by a change in the composition of sales from one year to the next. This was certainly the case for industrial transactions in the second quarter. Last year, larger industrial properties, which generally sell for less on a per square foot basis, accounted for a much greater share of transactions compared to 2012. This compositional shift was the main driver of the jump in the average industrial selling price,” continued Lai.

BANK OF CANADA KEEPS INTEREST RATE ON HOLD - March 2012

The Bank of Canada kept its trend-setting Bank Rate at 1.25 % on March 8th, 2012. This marks the 12th consecutive policy meeting in which borrowing costs have been left unchanged. The Bank said that the heightened uncertainty around the global economic outlook had decreased in the weeks since the Bank released its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR).

That said, the global economy is still expected to grow at a pace below its long-term average owing to deleveraging in advanced economies.

The Bank noted that U.S. growth was proceeding at a modest pace amid recent signs of life in the labour market, and that while Chain's economy was slowing, its rate of growth is still high; however, commodity prices are currently higher than anticipated.

Specifically, the price of oil has been pushed higher by recent geo-political concerns. The Bank warned 
that if sustained, higher oil prices could ultimately dampen the aforementioned improvement in global economic momentum.

Focusing in on the Canadian economy, the Bank said that the outlook for the Canadian economy had improved, though only marginally, from the January MPR. The Bank expects Canadian household spending to remain high as households add to their debt burden. This was characterized as the biggest domestic risk to the outlook.

Net exports have seen some improvement from increased U.S. demand, although they are still being held in check by the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar.

The Bank said that inflation had been higher than previously expected owing to reduced slack in the economy and higher oil prices. That said, inflation is still expected to moderate in the second quarter of the year before returning to its two per cent target for the remainder of the forecast horizon.

"Financial markets still expect interest rates to be hold until well into next year, and today's announcement confirms the Bank is perfectly happy to sit on the sidelines, and is no closer to raising rates now than it was in 
January," said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. The Bank will make its next scheduled rate announcement on April 17th, 2012. CREA 03/08/2012

TIGHT MARKET PUSHES THE AVERAGE PRICE ABOVE $500K

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,032 sales in February 2012 - up 16 % compared to February 2011. New listings were also up over the same period, but by a lesser 11 % to 12,684. It is important to note that 2012 is a leap year, with one more day in February. Over the first 28 days of February, sales and new listings were up by 10 % and 6 % respectively.

"With slightly more than two months of inventory in the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) market area, on average, it is not surprising that competition between buyers has exerted very strong upward pressure on the average selling price. Price growth will continue to be very strong until the market becomes better supplied," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

"It is important to note that both buyers and sellers are aware of current market conditions. This is evidenced by the fact that home s sold, on average, for 99 % of the asking price in February," continued Silver.

The average selling price in the TREB market area was $502,508 in February - up 11 % compared to February 2011. The Composite MLS® Home Price Index for TREB, which provides a less volatile measure of price growth compared to the average price, was up by 7.3 % compared February 2011.

"If tight market conditions continue to result in higher than expected price growth as we move into the spring, expectations for 2012 as a whole will have to be revised upwards," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "While price growth remains strong, the average selling price remains affordable from a mortgage lending perspective for a household earning the average income in the GTA."

Second-Best Year on Record for Sales

January 5, 2012 - The December result capped off the second-best year on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,718 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in December 2011.  Total sales for 2011 amounted to 89,347 – up 4 % cent in comparison to 2010. 

“Low borrowing costs kept Buyers confident in their ability to comfortably cover their mortgage payments along with other major housing costs. If Buyers had not been constrained by a shortage of listings over the past 12 months, we would have been flirting with a new sales record in the Greater Toronto Area,” said TREB President Richard Silver.

For all of 2011, the average selling price was $465,412, an increase of 8 % in comparison to the average of $431,276 in 2010.
The average selling price in December was $451,436 – up 4 % compared to December 2010.

“Months of inventory remained below the pre-recession norm in 2011. Very tight market conditions meant substantial competition between Buyers and strong upward pressure on selling prices. TREB’s baseline forecast for 2012 is for an average price of $485,000, representing a more moderate four per cent annual rate of price growth. This baseline view is subject to a heightened degree of risk given the uncertain global economic outlook,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Busy first two weeks in December

TORONTO, December 16, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 2,699 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system during the first 14 days of December. This result was 11 % above the number of transactions recorded during the same period in 2010. On a year-to-date basis, sales amounted to 87,407 – up 4.3 % compared to 2010.
"We have had the second best year on record for transactions under the current Toronto Real Estate Board boundaries. Households have continued to take advantage of affordable home ownership options across the diverse array of housing types available in the Greater Toronto Area," said TREB President Richard Silver.
The average selling price during the first two weeks of December 2011 was $460,967 – up 6 % in comparison to December 2010.
"Strong average price growth, driven by seller’s market conditions, has been largely mitigated by the continuation of very low borrowing costs this year. The share of average household income going toward mortgage principal and interest has increased only marginally and remains in line with accepted mortgage lending standards," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
 

Healthy Fall Market Continues in November

December 6, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,092 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in November – up 11 % in comparison to November 2010. At the same time, the number of new listings was up by 14 % in comparison to last year.

“We have seen strong annual sales growth through the 2011 fall market. The increase in transactions has been broad-based, with strong growth across low-rise and high-rise home ty

pes throughout the Greater Toronto Area. The market has also become better supplied, with annual new listings growth outstripping that of sales. As this trend continues into 2012, we will see more balanced market conditions”, said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Richard Silver. 

The average price for November transactions was $480,421, representing an increase of almost 10 % in comparison to $437,494 in November 2010.

"Despite strong price growth this year, the housing market remains affordable in the GTA, said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The correct method of assessing affordability is to consider the share of the average household’s income that is dedicated to mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and utilities. Currently, this share remains in line with generally accepted lending guidelines.  Given this positive affordability picture, average price growth is forecast to continue in 2012, albeit at a more moderate pace."

Strong Condo Sales Growth in Q3 2011

October 24, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 5,770 condominium apartment transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in the third quarter of 2011, representing a 24 % increase over the same period in 2010. The average selling price increased by almost 9 % to $333,352.

"Condominium apartments have accounted for about one-quarter of total existing home sales in the GTA this year. This share is expected to increase moving forward, as new home sales and construction has become increasingly driven by high-rise construction," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

In line with new home sales and construction trends over the last few years, condominium apartment completions have been high so far in 2011. When condo projects reach the completion stage, investors and en
d users whose housing needs have changed often list their units for sale or rent.

"The average annual rate of price growth remained strong in the third quarter, despite the upward trend in completions and active listings. This is because the pace of sales remained brisk, keeping sellers' market conditions in place," said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Fewer Commercial Real Estate Transactions in Q3

October 5, 2011 - Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Commercial Division Members leased almost 3.6 million square feet of commercial space through the TorontoMLS® system in the third quarter of 2011, representing a decline of almost 50 % in comparison to almost 6.6 million square feet leased during the same period

 in 2010. Industrial space accounted for over 78 % of the total space leased. The average lease rate for industrial transactions completed on a per square foot net basis and for which pricing was disclosed was $4.83 – down 28 % compared to an average of $6.75 in the third quarter of 2010.

In the third quarter, 184 commercial properties were sold through the TorontoMLS® system. This result was 35 % lower than the 285 transactions recorded in the third quarter of 2010. The split in sales between industrial and other commercial types was more balanced compared to the leasing market. Industrial sales accounted for 60 % of total transactions. The average selling price for industrial transactions with pricing disclosed was $75.42 per square foot – up almost 22 % compared to an average of $61.88 in the third quarter of 2010. The average price per square foot for other commercial transactions with pricing disclosed was $196.11 – up 21 % compared to an average of $162 per square foot in the third quarter of 2010.

"While some firms will continue to approach real estate investments with some degree of caution in the near term, the consensus view is that Canadian economic growth will resume in the second half of 2011 and through 2012. Once the economic situation becomes clearer, GTA firms, especially those focused on exporting goods and services, will be more likely to consider new investment in real estate," Purchase said.

Tight Market Results in Strong Price Growth in April 

May 4, 2011 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,041 existing home sales through the TorontoMLS® system in April 2011. This result was down 17 per cent compared April 2010 when sales spiked to a new record of 10,898. While off last year's record result, April 2011 sales were in line with the average April sales level reported over the previous five years.

"Existing home sales have been strong from a historic perspective through the first four months of 2011. Expect the pace of sales to remain robust through the spring, as the economy expands and home buyers continue to benefit from affordable home ownership opportunities," s
aid Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

Market conditions tightened markedly over the last year. April 2011 sales accounted for 62 per cent of new listings during the month – up substantially from 53 per cent in April 2010. Tighter conditions resulted in the average April selling price growing by nine per cent annually to $477,407.

"The number of listings has been below expectations so far this year. Increased competition between home buyers has led to an accelerating annual rate of price growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The strong price growth experienced in April should result in more listings and more balanced market conditions."

Median Price - In April, the median price was $402,000, from the $373,000 recorded during April of 

201TORONTO, May 19, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,887 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of May.
This represented a 7 % increase compared to the 4,561 sales recorded during the same period in 2009.  New listings increased by 48 %  annually to 10,059. “The average household looking to purchase a home continued to benefit from affordable opportunities in the first half of May,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. "The number of done deals will remain high for the remainder of 2010, but will dip from record levels.”

The average price for May mid-month transactions was $448,641 – up 12 % compared to the average of $399,811 recorded during the first 14 days of May 2009.
"The total number of homes currently listed in the GTA is now within a more normal range. As buyers benefit from more choice in the second half of 2010, average selling prices will grow at a slower pace," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

HST WILL NOT AFFECT RESALE HOMES

July 9, 2010 - As of July 1st, the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will be in effect and Ontario consumers will be hard-pressed to avoid this so called “tax on everything”.   While that less than flattering nick name for the HST may be pretty close to the truth, it’s not completely accurate, especially when it comes to real estate, where the HST applies differently depending on the type of real estate, whether it is resale housing, newly constructed housing, or business properties.

Anyone who has ever purchased a home or has considered purchasing a ho1me knows that budgeting for taxes is an important part of determining what they can afford.  Whether it is the on-going cost of property taxes, or the upfront cost of land transfer taxes, the cost of taxes on housing can add up.
With that in mind, one of the most important things to know about the HST is that, fortunately, it will not increase the tax burden on the purchase price for homebuyers who purchase resale housing.  That’s because resale housing, which was never subject to Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or the federal Goods and Services Tax, will continue to be exempt from both taxes once they are combined under the HST.

The same is not true for newly constructed homes, which will be hit with additional tax under the HST.  Newly constructed housing has always been subject to the GST, meaning thousands of dollars of tax for home buyers choosing this option.  Now, with the HST, new housing will also be subject to PST, meaning thousands of dollars in added costs for home buyers of new housing.

There is a silver lining for new housing: the provincial government provides a rebate of 75 per cent of the PST on the first $400,000 of a newly constructed home, or a maximum of $24,000. For example, someone purchasing a new home priced at $500,000 would face $40,000 in additional tax from the provincial portion of the HST, which would be reduced to $16,000 with the rebate.  Obviously, the rebate softens the blow, but an extra $16,000 of tax for a newly constructed home is nothing to laugh at.

Fortunately, home buyers choosing to purchase a resale home don’t have to worry about paying HST on the price of their home.  That’s money that they can keep in their pocket, or use to keep their mortgage costs down.
There is also encouraging news when it comes to real estate for businesses.  Although the costs of purchasing or renting a commercial property are subject to HST, businesses are allowed to claim tax credits to offset these costs. 

Even better, when purchasing a commercial property, the business can claim the tax credits immediately so that no upfront costs are incurred for the HST, and cash flow is not impacted.
It won’t be long before the HST is a reality in Ontario and taxes on a long list of goods and services will increase. Although it would be nice if HST didn’t apply to any real estate transactions, luckily, there is some encouraging news, especially for homebuyers of resale housing, who won’t see the purchase price of their home increase due to HST, and businesses buying or renting commercial properties, who will be able to offset their HST costs.

GTA REALTORS® report Mid-April Resale Market Figures - 25% INCREASE

TORONTO, April 16, 2010 – Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,601 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) during the first two weeks of April. This represented a 25 % increase compared to the 3,681 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings increased by 48 % annually to 9,512.

“The fact that annual growth in new listings outstripped growth in sales suggests that the GTA existing home market is becoming better supplied,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. "Home owners are reacting to strong sales and price growth by listing their homes in greater numbers. They are confident they will receive offers in line with their asking price." The average price for April mid-month transactions was $430,271 – up 12 % compared to the average of $383,361 recorded during the first 14 days of April 2009.

RECORD FIRST SALES QUARTER

April 6, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,430 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, pushing total first quarter 2010 sales to 22,418 – the best result on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. The average price for March transactions was $434,696. In March, the median price was $370,000, from the $317,500 recorded during March of 2009.  The average price for the first quarter was $427,948.
“The strong rebound in the existing home market was one of the initial drivers of economic recovery,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “While we don’t expect to see the same rates growth moving forward, GTA households will remain confident in ownership housing as a quality long-term investment, especially as economic recovery expands across all industries.” The annual rate of growth for new listings continued to accelerate in March. The number of new listings grew by 42 % compared to March of 2009.
“The average home price in the GTA will continue to grow this year, but the pace will slow as we move 

through the spring,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As growth in new listings starts to outstrip growth in sales, buyers will experience more choice, resulting in more sustainable single digit rates of average price growth.”

FEBRUARY SALES and AVERAGE PRICE INCREASE ANNUALLY

March 3, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,291 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February, representing a 77 % increase over February 2009. The average price for these transactions was up 19 % year-over-year to $431,509. Sales and average price increases represent both increased demand for ownership housing and the base year effect, which involves a comparison of economic recovery this year to a period of economic decline last year.
“Increases in existing home sales and average price were noted across the GTA in low-rise and high-rise

 home types. Similar rates of growth were experienced in the City of Toronto and surrounding 905 regions,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “This suggests that first time, move-up and down sizing buyers are all active in the existing home marketplace.”
New listings also increased in February, climbing 24 % compared to the same month last year. “Annual growth in new listings is expected to continue. New listings growth will start to outstrip sales growth as we move through 2010,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As the market becomes better supplied, we will see more sustainable single-digit rates of price growth.”

GTA REALTORS® REPORT MID-FEBRUARY RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES

TORONTO, February 18, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 3,555 sales through the Multiple Listing Service during the first two weeks of February. This represented a 74 % increase compared to the 2,044 sales recorded during the same period in 2009 when resale transactions had dipped due to the recession. The February mid-month sales total was also 7.7 % above the previous high set in 2006. "Home ownership demand remains strong in the GTA, as households remain confident that economic recovery is at hand and that ownership housing will continue to be a quality long-term investment," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. The average price for February mid-month transactions was $429,997 - an 18 % increase over 2009. New Listings within the Toronto Real Estate Board boundaries were up 15 % to 6,212. "Double-digit price increases will persist through the first quarter of the year," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "However, as new listings continue to increase creating a better supplied market, we will see the annual rate of price growth moderate into the single digits."

Summary Of February Sales And Average Price
                                                    2010                                                                    2009
                                       Sales         Average Price                                Sales         Average Price
City of Toronto ("416")     1,430          $471,958                                        816             $400,467
Rest of GTA ("905")         2,125          $401,760                                    1,228             $341,013
GTA                               3,555          $429,997                                    2,044             $364,748                           
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

MITIGATING THE NEW HST TAX THREAT

 February 19, 2010 - Being in the dog days of winter, I’m certain a lot of people are dreaming longingly of summer weather, backyard barbecues, and long weekends. For many Canadians, Canada Day is always the unofficial start of the summer season. Unfortunately, this year, Canada Day is also the start of something a little less inspiring: the provincial government’s new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Not exactly a nice way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

What does the HST mean for you? In a nutshell, this tax will expand the provincial eight percent sales tax to apply, as of July 1, 2010, to the things that are currently applicable to the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). This means that home buyers will have to pay PST on numerous items that they currently do not, including home inspection fees, legal fees, moving costs, home appraisals, and real estate service fees or commissions. For the average home buyer in the Greater Toronto Area, the HST will mean about $2,000 in new taxes.

Fortunately, however, there is still action that the provincial government can, and should, take to soften the H

ST’s blow, particularly for home buyers. Most importantly, the provincial government should take a serious look at its current Land Transfer Tax (LTT), which, if left as-is, would mean that home buyers are paying, not two sales taxes (provincial and federal), but three!

The provincial LTT is, essentially, a sales tax on home buyers, which is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of their home. For the average GTA home buyer, the provincial LTT costs about $4,000, up front. That’s a pretty hefty sales tax. To make things worse, if you’re buying a home in the City of Toronto, you also have to pay a Municipal Land Transfer Tax of about the same amount.

REALTORS® have always voiced concern about land transfer taxes. Simply put, these are unfair taxes that target home buyers. Furthermore, land transfer taxes are bad policy because they make home ownership more difficult to achieve.

When the provincial government first proposed the HST, provincial politicians said that the HST was not intended to generate more revenue for the Province and that, in fact, it would be revenue neutral because of the credits that businesses would be able to claim under the new system. Well, REALTORS® strongly believe that the government should also take action to ensure that the taxes charged to home buyers also remain neutral. With the HST heading towards implementation, the best way for the government to offset its impact on homebuyers would be to take action on its unfair Land Transfer Tax.

For months, the provincial government has been going to great effort to convince Ontarians that the HST is not a tax grab and is simply a re-design of the tax system to improve efficiency and economic competitiveness. Whether or not that is true is debatable, but it’s clear to REALTORS® that, by taking action on its Land Transfer Tax to offset the HST on homebuyers, the government has a clear opportunity to put its money where its mouth is.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHANGES MORGAGE RULES
February 16, 2010 - The federal government has announced changes to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages (less than 20 percent down payment) as follows:
All borrowers will be required to meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter terms.
Reduced maximum amount that can be withdrawn in refinancing a government-backed insured mortgage to 90 per cent from 95 per cent of the value of the home.
Require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner occupied properties purchased for speculation. Borrowers purchasing owner-occupied residential properties will still be able to access government-backed mortgage insurance with a 5 per cent down payment.

Additional detail is available here or copy and paste link in the browser

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n10/data/10-011_1-eng.asp

EXPECT STRONG START TO 2010 TO CONTINUE

More than 4,986 homes changed hands throughout the Greater Toronto Area in January, far exceeding last January’s recessionary low of 2,670 transactions. Most significantly, last month’s figure is comparable to sales in January 2008 and 2007, the latter of which finished as the strongest year on record.
As we approach the traditionally busy spring season, we can anticipate an increase in activity. There are a number of reasons why spring usually shapes up to be an active period of the year for the resale housing market. Families often coordinate their moves with the school calendar, purchasing in spring to provide for a late summer closing. Others are simply motivated by every spring’s promise of a fresh start. Many buyers are also prompted to begin their search when the snow has melted, making streets and properties more accessible. Sellers meanwhile, choose this time of year as it affords the opportunity to extend household fix-ups to the outdoors, contributing to improved curb appeal and salability.
There are currently 12,052 properties available in the GTA through the Multiple Listing Service and this figure is expected to climb in the coming months as homeowners react to the recent months’ market strength. More competition means that house prices will likely stabilize however; increased activity will also necessitate quick decision-making.
By contrast, typically the summer months afford many of the same benefits as the spring market, without the fast pace. Last summer’s activity though, was markedly stronger than previous years, reflecting both pent up demand from the recessionary months prior and an emerging all-season attitude toward real estate in our city.
During the fall months another spike in activity is usually seen. Typically, the fall market reaches a crescendo in October, when between 6,000 and 8,000 homes change hands, in comparison to more than 9,000 transactions that often take place at the height of the spring season in May.
Throughout the winter months, we generally see more moderate activity. This can benefit buyers, who have the opportunity to achieve an attractive purchase price from motivated sellers. There are however, also advantages for sellers. Buyers who are searching for a home at this time of the year tend to be serious about making a purchase and as such, ineffectual showings are not the norm. Houses often look their holiday best throughout the winter months as well, which can yield favourable returns.  Tom Lebour, Toronto Real Estate Board PRESIDENT’S COLUMN AS IT APPEARS IN THE TORONTO SUN,  February 12, 2010

GTA REALTORS® REPORTING JANUARY MID-MONTH HOUSING STATISTICS

TORONTO, January 18, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,749 existing home sales on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) during the first two weeks of January. This result was almost double the 888 sales reported for the same period in 2009, when sales had dipped to a recessionary low. “We have had a strong start to 2010,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “Widespread sales growth in terms of geography and housing type indicates that many households remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long-term.” The average price for transactions in the first two weeks of January was $395,307, compared to an average of $332,495 for the same period in 2009. “Double-digit average annual price growth will continue through the first quarter of 2010 as sales remain high relative to listings and we continue to make comparisons to last year’s winter downturn,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Summary Of January Sales And Average Price
January                                           2010                                                                    2009
                                             Sales        Average Price                                 Sales         Average Price
City of Toronto ("416")              $708         $401,120                                       $369             $350,835
Rest of GTA ("905")                $1,041        $391,353                                       $519             $319,455
GTA                                      $1,749        $395,307                                       $888             $332,495


BUSY DECEMBER

TORONTO, December 17, 2009 - Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 3,079 existing home transactions in the 1st two weeks of December compared to 1,487 in 2008. The strong growth represents both increased home ownership demand and the fact that we are comparing the recovery phase of the sales cycle this December with the contraction phase experienced last winter Year-to-date sales, at 84,888, were up 16 %  compared to the same period last year and have moved in line with the healthy levels experienced in the 2004 through 2006 period.
"We experienced a very strong and broad based recovery in the second half of 2009," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. "The rebound in the housing sector speaks to the confidence that households have in overall economic recovery.”
The average resale home price during the first two weeks of December rose 17 %  to $423,103. The year-to-date average was $395,411, up 4 % compared to the same period in 2008. “The double-digit price growth we have experienced since September will continue through the first quarter of 2010. Average price growth will move to a sustainable pace in the spring as listings increase," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

HOT NOVEMBER

TORONTO, December 3, 2009 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,446 sales in November – slightly more than double the November 2008 result when GTA home sales had dipped markedly due to the economic downturn. Year-to-date sales were up 14 %  compared tothe first 11 months of 2008.

“This year in the GTA home sales will be in line with the healthy levels experienced between 2004 and 2006,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “Increased resale home transactions in the Toronto area and country-wide played a key role in pushing the Canadian economy out of recession in the third quarter.”
The average price for November transactions was up 14%  year-over-year to $418,460. The average price year-to-date was up 4 %  to $394,464.
“Very strong annual growth rates for sales and average price should be expected through the first quarter of 2010, because we will be comparing the current recovery to the housing market decline experienced last winter," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As we move into the spring, growth rates will move to more sustainable levels.”

Summary Of November Sales And Average Price
November                                        2009                                           2008
                                          Sales         Average Price     Sales        Average Price
City of Toronto ("416")            3,212         $450,079          1,523         $390,225
Rest of GTA ("905")                4,234         $394,474          2,117         $353,012
GTA                                      7,446         $418,460          3,640         $368,582
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

Toronto Real Estate Market is Breaking Records!  The average home price in Toronto is at all-time high!
10% Increase in Price
28% Increase In Sales
42% Decrease in Listings
(This statistics is based on Toronto Real Estate Board, City of Toronto, Sept. 2008 vs. 2009)

Low mortgage rates and higher consumer confidence has significantly increased the number of home buyers on the market, and with less listings to choose from, demand for homes has increased. Low inventory of homes for sale make this time a good time to put your home on the market, and extremely low mortgage rates makes this time a great time to buy.

MLS® HOME SALES GROW STRONGER IN THE THIRD QUARTER

OTTAWA – October 15th, 2009 – National resale housing activity climbed to the highest level of any third quarter on record.
 
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) home sales via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate boards totalled 135,182 units in the third quarter of 2009, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). This is the highest level of activity on record for the period from July to September. The number of transactions was up 18 % from the third quarter of last year, representing the biggest year-over-year increase since early 2002.
 
Seasonally adjusted national MLS® home sales numbered 127,941 units in the third quarter, up 12 % from the previous quarter. Building on two previous quarterly increases, seasonally adjusted MLS® home sales activity now stands 48 % above the low reached in the fourth quarter last year.
 
“Momentum for sales activity remained strong throughout the third quarter,” said CREA President Dale Ripplinger. “Low interest rates, rebounding consumer confidence and an improving overall sense of economic security continue to draw homebuyers to the housing market.”
 
Seasonally adjusted sales activity in the third quarter was up from the previous quarter in over 80 % of local markets. Quarterly activity increases in Vancouver (34 %), Toronto (11 %), and Calgary (19 %) contributed most to the national increase in activity.
 
Year-over-year activity increases in Toronto (28 %) and Vancouver (124 %) were the driving force behind the increase in actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity in September.
 
Climbing to $327,736, the national MLS® residential average price rose 11 % from the same quarter last year. The national average price continues to be skewed upward by a sustained increase in sales activity, including a sharp rebound in activity at the higher end of the price spectrum, in some of Canada’s priciest markets.
The national MLS® residential average price surpassed all previous monthly levels in September 2009, rising 13.6 % year-over-year to $331,602. July and August also posted new average price records for their respective months. A number of provinces set new average price records for the month of September, and Ontario posted the highest average price on record.
The weighted national MLS® average sale price was up 9.3 % year-over-year in September 2009.
 
An increase in sales activity and fewer new listings are drawing down inventories compared to year-ago levels. There were 208,215 homes listed for sale on the MLS® Systems in Canada at the end of September 2009, down 16 % from a year earlier. This is the 5th consecutive year-over-year decline in active listings, and the largest decline in more than six years.
 
“Headline average price increases over the rest of the year are expected to prompt sellers to return to the market after having retreated to the sidelines late last year and earlier this year,” he added. “An increase in new listings will help keep a lid on price increases. Price increases over the rest of 2009 and early next year are likely to reflect declining average prices late last year and earlier this year.”
 
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month. The Canadian Real Estate Association has previously released these separately

FALL UP, AS HOME SALES CLIMB

October 13, 2009 - The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released its September results earlier this week, reporting that September sales totaled 8,196, representing an increase of 28 % compared to the same month last year. The growth in the average selling price was even stronger, coming in at 10 % pushing the average price to almost $407,000. The year-to-date totals are also positive, with sales and average price through the first three quarters of the year up 4.5 % and 1.5 % respectively. This is encouraging, given the economic challenges we have faced over the past year!

“The number of existing home sales in the fourth quarter will be well-ahead of the volumes experienced during the last three months of 2008. I am confident that the number of transactions will push through the 80,000 mark and perhaps be hovering around 85,000 when all is said and done this year. That will put us in line with the level of sales experienced in the 2004 to 2006 period – some of the best years on record under the current TREB boundaries.” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis

It is also Mr. Mercer’s opinion that the average selling price will be above last year’s level as well:
“The resale home market has tightened up substantially since the spring. Sales, our measure of demand, have risen strongly relative to listings, our measure of supply. The result has been an increasing rate of price growth. The average price for 2009 will be hovering around $390,000 – up by approximately 2.5 per cent compared to 2008.”

Interest rate decisions by the Bank of Canada over the past year clearly played a role in keeping the housing market buoyant in the face of a recession. Interest rates moving to record lows only served to help an already affordable GTA housing market. Enhanced affordability served to attract a broad array of home buyers. This is why we have seen more transactions in virtually all price ranges and all major housing types across the region.

In September, low-rise home sales including single-detached, semi-detached and town houses grew by 25 % compared to last year. High rise condominium sales were up an impressive 34 % over last year. The average annual rate of price growth for both high and low-rise home types was more or less the same.

The fact that the recovery in the GTA housing market has occurred in all sectors of the housing market – from housing types/prices catering to first-time buyers through to higher end properties selling for over $1,000,000 – suggests that the housing market is once again firing on all cylinders after a relatively short downturn. This speaks to the fact that consumers have remained confident in ownership housing as a solid long-term investment.

GTA HOUSING MARKET REBOUND CONTINUES IN SEPTEMBER

October 5, 2009 - In September 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,196 sales, up 28 % from September 2008. The average price for September transactions was $406,877 – up by 10 %compared to the same month last year.

“We have experienced an increasing rate of existing home price growth in the GTA as sales have continued outpace 2008 results,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “Consumers have remained confident in ownership housing as a long-term investment.” Year-to-date sales, at 66,437 were up 4.5 % compared to the first nine months of 2008. Average price, at $388,417 was up by almost 1.5 %.

“Existing home sales will finish strong this year, pushing through the 80,000 mark and moving in line with some of the best years on record under the current TREB market area,” according to Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Median Price - In September, the median price was $347,000, from the $322,000 recorded during September of 2008.

BANK OF CANADA KEEPS INTEREST RATES ON HOLD

The Bank of Canada held its benchmark overnight lending rate steady at 0.25 % at its setting on September 10th, 2009. The trend-setting Bank rate, which is set 0.25 percentage points above the overnight lending rate, remains at 0.5 %.
 
The Bank said that, in line with its expectations, aggressive policy stimulus and the stabilization of global financial markets are supporting the beginnings of a recovery in Canada and elsewhere.
 
In its July Monetary Policy Report, it expected inflation to bottom out in the fourth quarter of 2009. In its September announcement to hold interest rates steady, the Bank moved that timetable forward to the third quarter, but reiterated its forecast for inflation to return to its 2 % t target in the second quarter of 2011.
 
The Bank’s commitment to keep interest rates on hold until the second half of next year hinges on its outlook for inflation.  Since inflation is not expected to pick up sooner than it previously expected, the Bank repeated its commitment to keep interest rates on hold.
 
“The bottom line for interest rates is that they are as low as they can go, so the Bank can’t drive them down any further in an attempt to boost economic growth and take the shine of the dollar,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump.  “That said, the Bank can take extraordinary measures to prevent a rapid or speculative run-up in Canadian dollar, and financial markets have judged the Bank’s threats to do so as credible. 
Improving credit market conditions have enabled lenders to reintroduce discounts off posted mortgage interest rates. Discounts of up to a percentage point can be negotiated, depending on lender-client relationship. (CREA 09/10/2009)

*Interest Rates are provided for information purposes only and are subject to change at any time without notice. The products listed above are available only in Canada to Canadian residents. Rates shown are for single family residential properties only and are subject to meeting all lenders credit granting criteria. Rates shown above may be specific to the sender and some conditions may apply. E&OE.

GTA REALTORS® Report Resale Record in July

TORONTO, August 6, 2009 - 9,967 sales, up 28 % from July 2008. The average price for July transactions was $395,414 – up by 6 % compared to the same month last year.
"Households confident in their positioning within the current economic environment have taken advantage of housing affordability in the GTA," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "The real estate sector has been one of the sectors making a positive contribution to economic growth in the GTA, not to mention Ontario and Canada more broadly."
Year-to-date sales, at 50,632 are down 1.2 % compared to the first seven months of 2008.
Average price, at $385,808 is down by less than one-half of one per cent.
"The steep drop-off in sales experienced at the beginning of the year has all but dissipated," explained Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "With five months left to go in the year, it is probable that total existing home sales in 2009 will be at or above last year’s level."
Summary Of July Sales And Average Price
July                                                2009                                     2008
                                            Sales       Average Price           Sales        Average Price
City of Toronto ("416")            3,880          $421,110              3,132           $395,343
Rest of GTA ("905")                6,087          $379,035              4,674           $355,401
GTA                                      9,967          $395,414              7,806           $371,427
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

GTA MAY RESALE HOUSING SALES HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR

TORONTO, June 3, 2009 - .”In May 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,589 sales, up almost two per cent from May 2008 – the first annual increase since December 2007. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales in May was 81,300 “The resale housing market in the GTA has remained resilient in the face of challenging times globally,” according to TREB President Maureen O’Neill. “Many home buyers have take advantage of extremely low mortgage rates.” The average price for May transactions was $395,609 – down less than one per cent compared to the same month last year. “The average resale home price has moved in line with last year’s level because of tighter market conditions experienced this Spring,” stated Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Home sales have increased strongly relative to new listings, bolstering home prices."

MLS® HOME SALES FORECAST REVISED

A Spring housing market that was more active than anticipated has prompted a change to the MLS® home sales forecast issued by The Canadian Real Estate Association for the rest of 2009, and for 2010.
National home sales activity is forecast to be down 14.7 % to 370,500 units in 2009. This is slightly less than the reduction in activity predicted in CREA’s forecast issued last February. The forecast decline in annual activity was trimmed to reflect a stronger than expected rebound in activity in British Columbia and Ontario in the first quarter of 2009. Forecast declines in annual activity were reduced for these provinces. They were also shaved for Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island to reflect stabilizing trends in sales activity in these provinces.
National MLS® home sales activity is forecast to rebound by 7.2 % to 397,000 units in 2010. This is a slightly weaker rebound than predicted in CREA’s previous forecast. The revision reflects recently downgraded forecasts for economic growth next year. The rebound in activity in 2010 is forecast to be biggest in British Columbia and Alberta.
New listings on MLS® systems in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are forecast to continue easing following the peak reached last year. New listings are also expected to shrink in Saskatchewan, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Fewer new listings will further stabilize the resale housing market as sales activity draws down inventories.
The national MLS® average home price is forecast to decrease 5.2 % in 2009, led by average price declines in British Columbia and Alberta. By contrast, the average home price is forecast to rise in Manitoba (4.3 %), Price Edward Island (4.2 %) and Newfoundland & Labrador (10.9 %). CREA’s previous forecast predicted a decline in the national average price of eight per cent in 2009.
The weighted national MLS® average price is forecast to decline 3.6 % in 2009, and hold steady in 2010. CREA’s previous forecast predicted the weighted national average price for MLS® homes sales would decline by 6.4 per cent.
“Monthly resale housing activity improved as the first quarter progressed, entering the second quarter on a rising trend and closing in on levels last seen before it fell sharply late last year,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “It will take time for housing inventories to be drawn down enough to put new home construction on a stronger footing, but the balance between resale housing supply and demand is improving in a number of major markets. The national average price has begun to rebound from the recent low reached in January, and is forecast to begin rising modestly above year-ago levels in the fourth quarter of 2009.” (CREA 14/05/09)

RESALE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO RECOVER IN APRIL

MLS® home sales activity increased for the third time in as many months in April 2009, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The national average price also rose in April, to within short reach of the record levels reached one year ago.
Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity climbed 11.2 % in April 2009 compared to the previous month. This is the largest month-to-month increase in activity in more than five years. MLS® home sales activity reached its highest level in seven months, with 34,838 units trading hands nationally via the MLS® in April on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The increase in April builds on gains of 10.3 per cent in February and 7.7 % in March. Seasonally adjusted activity now stands 32 per cent above the lowest level in a decade that was recorded in January 2009.
Seasonally adjusted sales were up from March levels in 70 % of local markets, with gains in Toronto (10 %), Vancouver (30 %), Montreal (15 %), and Calgary (31 %) contributing most to the overall increase in monthly activity.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) MLS® home sales totaled 43,473 units in April 2009, down 11.8 % from the same month one year ago. Year-over-year declines have been shrinking since dropping a record 42.2 % in November 2008.
“REALTORS® know that several factors have led to this market situation,” says Regina Broker Dale Ripplinger, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association. “First, price adjustments in some markets have helped affordability. Second, lenders do have money for people and properties that qualify, although some are being more stringent. The third factor involves consumer confidence, which has risen in the housing market through the Spring.”
The last factor, CREA’s President adds, is that sellers have realized that realistic pricing is key, and that is very much driven by local factors. “Homes are only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.”
The national MLS® residential average sale price in April ($306,366) stands 3.2 % below April 2008, when it reached its pre-recession peak. The MLS® residential average price broke all previous monthly records in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
The supply of homes coming onto the MLS® market continued trending downward in April. Seasonally adjusted MLS® residential new listings edged lower by 1.8 % from the previous month to 66,843 units, the lowest level since June 2006. Seasonally adjusted new residential listings in April were 16.4 % below the peak reached in May 2008.
With sales activity rising strongly and new listings trending downward, the balance between supply and demand is firming up in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. As a result, in April 2009 national sales as a percentage of new listings reached the highest point since February 2008.
The residential dollar volume for MLS® sales climbed 12.3 per cent from the previous month to reach $10.2 billion. This is the biggest increase since December 2001, and first time since September 2008 that dollar volume surpassed $10 billion.
“If the trend for MLS® sales activity over the past few months persists, the number of transactions in May could surpass the pre-recession levels of September 2008,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “In the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s, sales activity bottomed out before the job market or even the economy did. Improved affordability may result in Canadian existing home sales leading the economic recovery this year.” (CREA 14/05/09)

MARKET REVIEW 2009 SO FAR: ACTIVITY, PRICES INCREASE AS SPRING APPROACHES

March 6, 2009 - As we approach the spring season and see real estate activity picking up, Realtors remain optimistic about the future of the GTA resale housing market. With reports such as RBC’s Homeownership Survey highlighting that Canadians believe in the long-term value of a home, now is a great opportunity to invest in that Canadian dream.
Toronto Real Estate Board Members reported 4,120 sales in February 2009, compared to 6,015 sales recorded in February 2008. The average home price was $361,305 last month, compared to $382,048 during the same month last year. It is very important to note that a considerable number of transactions continued to take place in February 2009. Motivated buyers and sellers, who were aware that market conditions changed over the past few months, were able to negotiate transactions acceptable to both parties.

On a month-over-month basis, sales and average price were above January levels of 2,670 and $343,632, respectively. The housing market is seasonal. Traditionally, sale volumes and average price climb in the first half of the year, reaching their highest levels in late spring before trending lower from July onward.
Now, while the economic downturn has had an impact, the GTA housing market is resting on a solid foundation. Current home prices and mortgage rates suggest that GTA homes have become more affordable on average. A greater number of homebuyers could take advantage of this affordability once their positioning in the economy becomes more certain. Beyond spring’s real estate market, which typically experiences more activity, the demand for ownership housing will remain strong in the GTA over the long term because of steady population growth driven by immigration. The Toronto area is Canada’s single greatest beneficiary of immigration. According to Statistics Canada, this country welcomed 247,202 permanent residents in 2008 — 70,000 more than in 1998, and well within the government’s planned range of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents for 2009.

Greater Toronto Realtors are an integral part of the real estate transaction process. TREB members are uniquely positioned to help homebuyers and sellers adapt to changing market conditions. And, importantly, TREB and its members continue to advocate public policies that do not threaten affordability but support home ownership in the GTA, such as lower taxation and less regulation. Maureen O’Neill is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 28,000 Realtors in the Greater Toronto Area. (TREB President's Column as it appears in the Toronto Sun’s Resale Homes and Condos section)

NEW INFO RE. TORONTO LTT REBATES PROVIDED BY CITY

December 14, 2007 - The City of Toronto has indicated that it has been able to make arrangements that will allow purchasers who are eligible for a FULL rebate of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax (TLTT) to close their transactions without paying the TLTT upfront (and then receiving a rebate at a later date). The City previously indicated that these arrangements would not be made until the “spring of 2008”, but has now indicated that changes will be made by February 1, 2008, when the Toronto land transfer tax takes effect.

Toronto land transfer tax is not payable on transactions closing before the tax takes effect on February 1, 2008. For transactions closing after the Toronto land transfer tax takes effect on February 1, 2008, the City of Toronto allows for certain rebates, as described below.

PROVINCE EXPANDS PRIVINCIAL LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE

Details
According to the City, purchasers who are eligible for a FULL rebate of the Toronto land transfer tax will not have to pay the tax (meaning that they do not have to pay the tax upfront and be rebated later). This includes the following:
Purchasers who have entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a property on or before December 31, 2007; and First-time home buyers where the total Toronto land transfer tax is $3,725 or less ($3,725 is the amount of TLTT payable on a home purchased for $400,000). First-time home buyers with Toronto land transfer tax payable above the maximum rebate amount of $3,725 (those purchasing homes above $400,000) will be required to pay the total Toronto land transfer tax, and then receive the maximum rebate of $3,725 at a later date from the City. Once all changes have been made to Teranet’s collection system, in the spring of 2008, these buyers will only have to pay the balance of the Toronto land transfer tax above $3,725.
More Information: Complete details of the Toronto land transfer tax are available here or by calling the City of Toronto at 416-338-0338.

December 13, 2007 - The provincial government has announced that it is expanding the PROVINCIAL land transfer tax rebate for first-time buyers to include re-sale housing, something which REALTORS® have lobbied for.
Details
First-time buyers of BOTH re-sale, and newly constructed homes, will be eligible for a rebate of the provincial land transfer tax of up to $2,000.
Effective for first-time buyers who enter into Agreements of Purchase and Sale AFTER December 13, 2007.
This change is being implemented by provincial legislation introduced on December 13, 2007. The Ministry of Finance has indicated that, until the legislation is passed, first-time buyers of re-sale properties eligible for the rebate can submit their applications for the refund and they will be processed once the legislation has passed. It is not known when the legislation will be passed. Buyers can consult with their lawyers if they have concerns.
The provincial land transfer tax rebate applies in all Ontario municipalities. In Toronto, the provincial rebate is in addition to City rebates of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. See details of Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

More Information is available by calling:Ministry of Finance; Land Transfer Tax Section 905-433-6361 Or General Inquiry 1-800-263-7965

DETAILS OF NEW APPROVED TORONTO LAND TRANSFER TAX - Q & A

October 23, 2007 - Toronto City Council has approved a municipal land transfer tax that will be levied on top of the provincial land transfer tax. TREB and REALTORS® took a strong position to oppose this tax as unfair in principle and refused to compromise. As a direct result of this strong position, City Council was forced to make a number of amendments to the City’s original proposal, including rebates for first-time buyers, a reduced rate, and grandfathering for existing transactions. The City has not yet provided detailed information on administration or implementation issues. The following is based on currently available information. Some information from the City is available here.
What was approved by City Council? A second land transfer tax, on top of the provincial land transfer tax, at the following rates:
Residential: (An easy-to-use residential calculator is available at www.NoHomeBuyingTax.com):
0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000, plus
1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000, plus
2% of the amount of the purchase price above $400,000
Commercial / Industrial / Etc.:
0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000, plus
1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000, plus
1.5% of the amount between $400,000 and $40 million, plus
1% of the amount above $40 million
When does this take effect? February 1, 2008.
Are existing transactions grandfathered? Yes. Any transactions where the purchaser and vendor have entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the property prior to December 31, 2007 will be rebated the full amount of the Toronto land transfer tax, regardless of the closing date. (Note: Media reports that closings must occur by Feb. 1, 2008 are inaccurate.) Until that time, grandfathered transactions (Agreements signed on or before December 31, 2007), closing on or after February 1, 2008, will be charged the Toronto land transfer tax, which will then be rebated by the City of Toronto. Transactions closing before February 1, 2008 will not be charged the Toronto land transfer tax. The City has indicated that the necessary changes to Teranet’s system will be implemented in the “spring of 2008”. If you have concerns, please check with the lawyer or the Ciity. Once the City of Toronto provides clarification, more information I will provide more information.
What about Agreements of Purchase and Sale signed after December 31, 2007 with closing dates before February 1, 2008? Purchasers with a Purchase and Sale agreement signed after December 31, 2007 with a closing before February 1, 2008 will not be required to pay the Toronto Land Transfer tax.
Where does this apply? The Toronto land transfer tax only applies to transactions within the City of Toronto. This does NOT apply to property transactions outside of the City of Toronto.
Are first time home buyers affected? First time home buyers of NEW and RE-SALE homes will receive a rebate of the Toronto land transfer tax of up to $3,725 (this equals a 100% rebate on homes purchased for up to $400,000). The City has indicated that the necessary changes to Teranet’s system will be implemented in the “spring of 2008”.  Until that time, first-time buyer transactions will be charged the Toronto land transfer tax, which will then be rebated by the City of Toronto.
More detailed information will be provided once it is made available by the City. If you have questions, contact the City of Toronto at Access Toronto at 416-338-0338.

Background: Canada's Housing Market Remains Strong
Canada's housing market remains healthy and stable. According to the International Monetary Fund, our housing market is fully supported by sound economic factors, such as low interest rates, rising incomes and a growing population. Moreover, mortgage arrears—overdue mortgage payments—have also remained low.
Today's announcement is part of the Government's policy of proactively adjusting to developments in the housing market that could take root and cause instability. These steps are timely, targeted and measured, and will reinforce the importance of Canadians borrowing responsibly and using home ownership as a savings mechanism.
Measures Announced Today- Today, the Government announced three changes to the standards governing government-backed mortgages:
1. Qualifying at a Five-Year Rate
Current interest rates are at record low levels, which has improved the affordability of housing for Canadians. It is important that Canadians borrow prudently and are able to manage their debt loads when interest rates rise.
The adjustments to the mortgage framework will require mortgage insurers to ensure that borrowers qualify for their mortgage amount using the greater of the contract rate or the interest rate for a five-year fixed rate mortgage when calculating the GDS and TDS ratios.
This measure is intended to protect Canadians by providing them with additional flexibility to support mortgage payments at higher interest rates in the future.
2. Limit the Maximum Refinancing Amount to 90 per cent of the Loan-to-Value Ratio
Borrowers seeking financial flexibility can currently refinance their mortgage and increase the amount they are borrowing on the security of their home up to a limit of 95 per cent of the value of the property. This type of refinancing lowers the borrower's equity in their home. The adjustments today will lower the maximum amount of the mortgage loan in a refinancing of a government-backed high ratio mortgage loan to 90 per cent of the value of the property, consistent with the principle that home ownership is a tool for savings.
3. Discouraging Speculation by Requiring a Minimum Down Payment of 20 per cent for non-owner-occupied properties
This measure will require a minimum down payment of 20 % for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation. Currently, borrowers may purchase a residential property with a 5 per cent down payment. Today's change will require a 20 per cent down payment for small (i.e., 1- to 4-unit) non-owner-occupied residential rental properties. Borrowers purchasing owner-occupied residential properties which also include some rental units (e.g., borrowers purchasing a duplex to live in one unit and rent out the other) will still be able to access government-backed mortgage insurance with a 5 per cent down payment.
Moving to the New Framework
These adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework are intended to come into force on April 19, 2010. Exceptions would be allowed after April 19 where they are needed to satisfy a binding purchase and sale, financing, or refinancing agreement entered into before April 19, 2010.

New HST TAX Transition Rules

October 21, 2009 - The provincial government has provided rules/guidance on how it will transition to the implementation of the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax.

Background
The provincial government has passed legislation to combine the eight percent Provincial Sales Tax with the five percent federal Goods and Services Tax, creating a 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
* The HST is NOT YET IN EFFECT. The HST will come into effect beginning on July 1, 2010; however, note transition rules below.
* HST will not apply on the purchase price of re-sale homes.
* HST would apply to services such as moving cost, legal fees, home inspection fees, and REALTOR® commissions.
* HST will apply to the purchase price of newly constructed homes.
However, the Province is proposing a rebate so that new homes across all price ranges would receive a 75 per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the single sales tax on the first $400,000. For new homes under $400,000, this would mean, on average, no additional tax amount compared to the current system.

Transitional Rules for New Housing - Generally, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before June 18, 2009 would not be subject to the provincial portion of the single sales tax, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010.
The tax would also not apply to sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into after June 18, 2009 where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.

Additional Transitional Rules - Where services straddle the HST implementation date of July 1, 2010, the tax charged for the service may have to be split between the pre-July 2010 and post-June 2010 periods. However, the HST will generally not apply to a service if all or substantially all (90% or more) of the service is performed before July 2010.
Four key timelines are important (see below). All are based on the earlier of the time the consideration is either due (In general, an amount is due on the date of the invoice or the day required to be paid pursuant to a written agreement), or is paid without having become due. If consideration is due or paid,
Before October 15, 2009, HST will generally not apply (however, see above transition rules for new housing).
From October 15, 2009 to April 30, 2010, certain business that are not entitled to recover all of their GST/HST paid as input tax credit may be required to self-assess the provincial component of the HST with respect to goods or services supplied after June 30, 2010.
From May 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply for services supplied after June 30, 2010.
After June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply. An exception to this rule would be where ownership of the property is transferred before July 2010 or the invoice relates to services provided before July 2010.
With regard to the lease or license of goods, including non-residential real property, HST will generally apply to lease intervals or payment periods on or after July 1, 2010 and the general rules noted above will apply. However, where a lease interval begins before July 2010 and ends before July 31, 2010, it is not subject to HST.
With regard to the sale of non-residential property, HST is due where both possession and ownership of non-residential property occurs on or after July 1, 2010.
More Detail - Additional detail on the transition rules is available by calling the provincial government enquiry line at 1-800-337-7222.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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