Toronto’s Record Breaking Year

Toronto is one of two main outliers in the Canadian real estate scene, with Vancouver being the other hot market. Most other markets demonstrated more modest price increases, or in some cases, price decreases, in 2015. The Canadian Real Estate Association released data in December that showed the average resale home price was up 10.2% year over year. But when you remove Toronto and Vancouver from the equation, the average increase was just 3.4%.

The calendar year 2015 was one of the best years on record for home sales in the GTA, with multiple monthly and annual records being broken. Amazingly enough, as good as 2015 was, it could have been better, with a skyrocketing demand for residential homes not being met by the current supply. Amy Grief of BlogTO reports that 101,299 homes were sold by Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) members, up 9.2% from 2014. And it wasn’t a crawl to the finish line, with sales finishing up strong at the end of the year; the Toronto-area had 4,945 residential sales in December of 2015, the second-highest on record for a December.

TREB president Mark McLean stated in a press release:

“If the market had benefited from more listings, the 2015 sales total would have been greater…As it stands, we begin 2016 with a substantial amount of pent-up demand.”

TREB also had a few other revealing stats to share. The average price for all Toronto-area homes, including condos and semi-detached and detached houses, is $622,217, a 9.8% increase since 2014. For detached houses, the average selling price in the city hit $1,039,658 in December, up 11.8% in a year. An alternative price measurement shows a similar price increase. The MLS home price index for the Greater Toronto Area, which measures the rate at which prices change over time by tracking price changes in “typical” homes, was up 10 per cent from 2014, to $573,500.

The Huffington Post also looked at the TREB figures, noting that the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario experienced stronger demand than most Canadian markets — outdone only by parts of British Columbia in the Greater Vancouver and Lower Mainland areas.

The Toronto Real Estate Board believes that sales could have been much higher, shattering previous records, had their been more properties available to satisfy the pent-up demand. But that demand should carry over into the new year, which should boost early 2016 home sales.

Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, made this statement:

“TREB will release its official 2016 outlook later in January, but suffice to say that the demand for ownership housing is expected to remain very strong in 2016.”

According to a Canadian Press report, TREB will release its outlook for 2016 on January 18. Many are expecting to see no slowdown in sales for this year, even with the introduction of new mortgage rules by the recently elected Liberal federal government.

Jason Quintal | January 27, 2016

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