Toronto Market Report – Sales Commentary
The head line from TREB’s Report was over 9,000 sales in April – up 17% over April of last year. This was the biggest sales month since May of 2017. In our previous Report, we stated that this market needed a sales month of this size to begin to approach ‘normal’ territory. Historically May or June is the biggest sales month of the year, and so we need to wait to see if the trend continues. New listings were also up in April by 8% over last year – an indication of both increasing sales and prices for May.
But the GTA market is made up of many sub markets – each with a different sale and price pattern. Our focus in this Report is mainly on condos. Condo sales were 7% higher in April from a year ago. Most of this sales increase was in 905 – 17% versus only 2% in 416. On a year-to-date basis, condo sales were 3% lower than in 2018. All of the decrease was in the 416 area. If you recall, the strongest market segment last year was 416 condos. But in terms of price increases, year over year, 416 condos recorded the second highest gains of all GTA markets (including detached houses) at 7%. Only condos in Peel, at 10% were greater.
Looking at the downtown condo market, sales in April were 7% lower than for the same month last year. On the other hand, sales in Humber Bay Shores were 8% higher. Condo prices in Humber Bay are generally lower than downtown for comparable units, which is consistent with a migration of buyers to comparatively cheaper priced units. But with this market, the key metric is still ‘new listings’. Downtown, they were 1% lower than last year and for Humber Bay it was 5% higher. The sale-to-list ratio is still at 60% – a sellers’ market in both areas.
April year-over-year change in prices
This data is taken from the MLS Home Price Index. MLS-Home Price Index by Sub Markets uses sales data with adjustments to reflect a basket of common property features (Similar to CPI).
QUEENS HARBOUR: 600 Queens Quay W
As summer approaches, more and more people want to live on the waterfront. This month we looked at sales at Queens Harbour, consisting of two 11-storey buildings and 276 units. This is one of the most reasonable priced buildings on Queens Quay. The first unit we examined was a one bedroom plus den, with balcony, parking, and locker. The first sale we tracked was from 2007 (just before the first market correction) and it sold for $245,000. This unit sold again in 2009 for $273,000; in 2011 for $286,000 and then in late 2018 for $565,000. That is a 7% annual growth rate over 12 years (or 10% from 2011). This unit is just over 700 sf, and the last sale was at $805/sf.
The second property was a two-bedroom, two bath unit with a solarium, balcony, and parking but no locker. It does have lake view. It first sold when the building was new for $275,000 in 2003. It sold in 2012 for $422,000 and then again in late 2018 for $703,000. Over 15 years, this unit appreciated at 6.5% annually. This unit, at 950 sf, sold for just $740/sf which was a great value. Most downtown condo buildings are in the $900-1,000 sf range. It is not surprising that there is nothing for sale currently.
Toronto Market Report – Rental Commentary
The number of rentals for downtown condos continues to increase as we move towards the peak summer months. Almost 1200 units were leased in April. Of this total, 55% were leased without any parking. A parking spot is no longer mandatory. In fact, transit, and more specifically subway access, is the number one factor for tenants. Studio are the fastest growing rental segment. This month, average rents increased to $1850 per month. But the largest segment continues to be one-bedroom units without parking. They make up 26% of all rentals. The average price for these units increased another $25/mo. from last month to $2125. The highest end of the one-bedroom market (parking + den) was $2575 on average. The entry level two-bedroom, without parking, remained at $2800 per month. Two-bedroom units with parking were over $3,000 and the the largest two-bedroom units with den and parking were $3600 per month on average. The three-bedroom market remains small. Average rents were $4,000+ in April.
BREAKDOWN OF CONDO SALES BY PRICE