Toronto Real Estate Month In Review
Borrowing rates remained low as the Bank of Canada left the overnight rate unchanged in January. The next interest rate announcement is scheduled for March 4th.
Demand rose as listings spent a much shorter average time on the market (-19%) and the number of homes sold increased. Helped by low borrowing costs, steady population growth and a strong labour market.
Doubled from December as activity picked up after a typical slow holiday period. Compared to a year ago however, the number of new listings were down 17%.
Homebuyers and sellers didn’t waste any time getting back to business in January. The Toronto real estate market picked up pace after a lazy holiday season and detached homes were the top performing housing market segment, with 16.7% average price growth year over year. A notable 20% more detached homes were sold compared to a year ago. This was a strong recovery from a short-lived retraction in detached home prices that was largely the result of the mortgage stress test rules implemented in 2018. Slightly lower borrowing rates and a healthy job market are largely responsible for this recovery as buyers who did not previously qualify for a mortgage returned to the table.
Condos were the second best performing segment. First time home buyers benefitted from lower rates that helped them qualify for a loan and downsizers took advantage of recovering demand to sell their larger homes at better prices and move into the condo market. Average condo prices increased 15% compared from January 2019.
Average semi-detached and townhome prices were relatively unchanged in January compared to the same time last year.
In January almost six thousand jobs were created in Ontario (mostly full time), national unemployment fell to 5.5% and average hourly wages rose 4.4% from a year earlier. This is all supportive of healthy demand and there are no signs that this trend will change in the near to medium term.
The Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged in January, waiting on further economic data for guidance on whether to hike, cut or stay the course with rates. Despite recent strong indicators for a healthy and growing Canadian economy, a rate change isn’t likely until the full economic effect of the Coronavirus outbreak is known. This could take some time to fully appreciate.
If interest rates remain low and stable, as expected, momentum in the real estate market should continue to build as we enter the spring market. The supply of listings is expected to remain lower. This in turn is likely to create some competition for buyers and push prices higher. It is still a sellers market but buyers shouldn’t be discouraged. There are always opportunities. When they arise buyers need to be prepared and act fast. A dedicated Realtor will keep you in the loop so you don’t miss out.
Should I Buy Now or Save?
One dilemma homebuyers are often contended with is deciding whether to wait and save or to buy now. In some cities where property values experience slow and low price growth it may be possible to save more and get ahead of the game. In the Toronto market that might not be the best choice. Consider this example:
Ready For a Move?
I would love to have a discussion with you if you are a homeowner thinking about selling or a prospective buyer looking for a real estate agent to work with.