I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the latest stats for the Toronto Condo Market
The numbers are in for the month of march 2018 and the condo sales figures are so shocking that Andrew had to do a double take to make sure they were correct. Find out what Andrew saw that made him wonder if he needed to get his eye prescription changed and what it means for the Toronto condo market on this episode.
2:13 Downtown condos, the primary market that we’re tracking here.
4:04 Headed into the final few months of 2017.
4:55 Condos are the most affordable product in the market place.
6:38 Inventory is extremely low. Demand is still very strong.
8:55 Even in the weakest spot, the market is still strong, which is York region.
10:47 March of 2017 was the peak month, when the sales to listing ratio was 153%.
12:20 Rental stats from condos.ca showing rental increase.
Andrew la Fleur: I just checked out the stats for March 2018, and I had to do a double take and check my numbers twice to find out if this number was in fact correct. Find out what that is on today’s episode.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the True Condos podcast with Andrew la Fleur, the place to get the truth on the Toronto condo market, and condo investing in Toronto.
Andrew la Fleur: Welcome back to the show and thanks for listening. Wanted to get you some of my quick thoughts here on a quick podcast for the stats that just came out for the month of March. We’re here in early April 2018, we got the stats for the Toronto Real Estate board for the month of March, and just looking through the numbers, and most of the headlines of course are going to be surrounding the fact that prices are down, sales are way down, and primarily what they’re talking about of course is what’s happening in the low rise market. But what’s not getting enough play, I believe, is what’s happening in the condo market because it truly is, we’re getting some articles here and there, tale of two markets and condos are getting this and how’s he doing that. But what’s happening in the condo market is just absolutely incredible when you look at it in historical context.
Condos are just killing it. The condo market is such a strong seller’s market, and has been now for, well, let me pull up the stats here and tell you that it has been a strong … Seller’s market really, since around, looks like the shift happened really early 2016, I want to say around April, May 2016. That’s when things really started to shift. First couple months of 2016, things were kind of normal, which was looking at the sales to listing ratio, which we talked about all the time, sales to listing ration, number of sales in a given month, divided by the number of active listings at the end of that month. Normally, historically speaking over the last decade or so for downtown condos, which is the primary market that we’re tracking here and that I track, historically it averages around 30% to 35%. That’s considered pretty much a balanced market. 30% to 35% over the last decade or so has usually produced price increases of two, three, four, five, six percent, something like that has been normal over the last decade for the condominium market.
Steady, single-digit growth. But what happened again, in around April, May 2016, that sales to listing ration really started to shoot up and it started o go over 50%, and it has never looked back. It’s been well above 50% for a long time, and anything above 50% is definitely a seller’s market. The higher you go, the stronger the seller’s market it becomes. By the end of 2016, it got into the 90’s, and then in the year 2017, last year, the first few months, February, March, April, it was actually over 100%. Over 100%, which that was obviously the craziest time in the real estate market ever. February, March, and April of 2017 for houses, and also for condos. It hit a peak of 153% in the month of March of 2017. But even for the rest of the year, things, fair housing plan comes in, in the end of April, we still stayed above 50%, well above 50% for the rest of the year in 2017.
As we headed into the final few months of 2017, we’re 62, 66, 79, 77, so very strong seller’s market. Again, what happened, the stress test comes in and it’s announced that the stress test is going to be applied to all purchasers across the board, even if you’re putting down more than 20%. As we head into … What that did, of course, is it, as we talked about so many times, it pushed all that demand down. If you can only afford a million before, now you could afford 800,000. You can afford 800,000, now you’re at 650. If you could afford 600, now you’re at 500, and so on. Everybody got pushed down. All that demand moved down the ladder, and who was the benefit or what was the benefit of that, the beneficiary of that of course, it was the condos because condos are the most affordable product in the market place.
Condominiums, all these house buyers became condo buyers. Condos have just been killing it, and it’s such a strong seller’s market. Again, the story also continues to be the lack of inventory, the lack of supply, the lack of available listings. Again, historically speaking, most of the last decade for downtown condos, we typically see, especially around this time of year, anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 condos available for sale, active listings. 1,500 to 2,000 Is normal for most of the last 10 years, but over the past year and a half, that number has dropped dramatically. Now, today, we’re looking at, there’s only around 600 condos available for sale on the downtown core, again. Far fewer condos available for sale to purchase, and yet the population today downtown, and the GTA as a whole, GTA as a whole is about a million people more here than there were 10 years ago.
You have a million more people, but you have 50% less or even 70% less condos available for purchase. It tells you all you need to know. This is a recipe for rapidly rising condo prices. Again, if you’re buying a condo today in Toronto, especially in downtown, or really anywhere, pretty much anywhere in the Golden Horseshoe, chances are that’s going to be worth more tomorrow than it is today. Prices are rising, it’s definitely a seller’s market. Inventory is extremely low. Demand is still very strong. Not as strong as it was last year, but still very strong. All this to say, catching up with where we are today in 2018, again the strong seller’s market sales to listing ration downtown, 62%, 70%, and now, drum roll, for the month of March, the number … I had to double check this because I couldn’t believe it. Its 105%. 105% is the sales to listing ration for downtown condos. 105%. It’s like more condos are selling than are even available, kind of thing is the way to think about it. Everything is selling in the market, that hits the market, and then some.
Everything that hits the market this month basically sold plus a few of the listings that were left over from the previous month sold also. That’s how you can end up with a number over 100%. But you look at the overall condo market across the entire GTA, the sales to listing ratio is 72%. 72% is again, a very strong seller’s market across the GTA. City of Toronto sits at 85%. The region Peel, Massasauga is Peel, of course, Massasauga, that region, Peel, is 70%. Still a strong seller’s market. Really the only weak spot, if you will, is York region at 33%. Again, York region, the hardest hit by the changes in the housing market over the last year, the area North of the city, 33%. However, again, as I said earlier, 33%, historically, that would be considered a good month for most of the last 10 years in the condo market. A good normal month. Not a buyer’s market. Again, buyer’s market, you got to be below 20%. If you’re below 20%, then you might start thinking about prices are going down, likely to go down.
If you’re at 33%, prices are likely to go up. They’re just not going up as fast as a market place where the sales to listing ration is 70%, 80%, 100%, but still even in the weakest spot, the market is still strong, which is York region. When I compare those numbers to what’s happening in the detached housing market, so detached housing is again, a very different market, overall for the city, for the entire GTA, the detached market is sitting at 32%. 32% versus, again, the condo market overall at 72%. 32%, again, on the edge of a buyer’s market but not really. Prices in a market where that’s 32%, probably going to increase. Not increase dramatically but not go down either. Toronto, city of Toronto, 42%. Peel region 43%. Durham region, 44%, so quite similar. Again, the weak spot is York region at 19%. York region, 19%. Again, you’re below that sort of 20% threshold, so prices in York region probably, potentially could still be going down a little bit.
We’re probably close to, if not at the bottom there for York region, I would say. We’ll see what the trend looks like for the next few months, but 19%, definitely a buyer’s market in York region. Definitely prices are not going up at the moment, but they’re not necessarily going down either. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the next few months. Looking at prices downtown, prices checking out the stats from condos.ca, the realtime stats as of today, prices are up in the downtown core about 67% from last year. Again, that’s quite incredible when you consider that March of 2017 was the peak month. Again, that was when the sales to listing ration was 153%. Prices are still up from that. 67%, it’s a much healthier number. It’s a much more sustainable number compared to the 20% and 30% numbers that we’ve gotten used to. Hopefully that trend will continue but it might just be a function of the fact that you’re comparing March of this year versus the peak March of last year. It’ll be interesting to see how things go.
In two months from now, will that number jump back up to double digits again as we’re comparing 2018 to the slower, as the market started to slow a bit as we headed into June, July in 2017? Will we start to see the price average, price numbers go up again? Again, I mean the market is still very strong. 67% up compared to last year, they were up like 30%, so you’re looking at condo prices being up around 38% to 42% king of thing from two years ago. If you annualized, if you own the condo for the last two years, your average price is up around 40%. Most investors would be extremely happy with that result. If you have not bought in the market yet, you’d probably be having some serious case of non-buyer’s remorse, wishing you had got in on the market a couple years back.
Rental stats, also from condos.ca, the latest rental stats showing rental increases still in the double digits, incredible. 18 months approximately straight now, we’ve had pretty much a double digit rent increases, maybe even more than 18 months. Rents today, again, our average rents today are about 20% higher than they were two years ago. Again, if you’re an investor and if you’re able to get 20% higher rents today than you could two years ago, you are extremely happy with that result. There you have it. Those are mu quick thoughts and quick rundown of the key stats that I’m looking at from the March real estate statistics. Condo market, very hot, lower rise housing market. Not bad. York is still a weak spot, but definitely expect things to pick up as we head into the spring market. Of course, the headlines will continue to be around sales down significantly, prices down somewhat from last year, but again, the overall trend and strength of the market, very good. Condo market is off the charts still, and a lot of that is due to the government changes and rules over the past year or so.
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