Toronto Sunset by John Vetterli
The Greater Toronto Area REALTORS association has released the real estate market report for April 2013, showing a moderate decline of sales in a year-to-year comparison. The 9,811 sales recorded through the Toronto MLS system last month meant a 2 per cent drop compared to the 10,021 transactions recorded in April 2012.
Toronto Market Report for April Infographic
Detached and semi-detached houses in suburban areas were the strongest segment, as they showed 2.5 and 1.3 per cent growth, respectively. On the other hand, detached houses in the inner city experienced the steepest fall, at 11.8 per cent. Toronto Real Estate Board president Ann Hannah commented on the findings:
“Despite the headwinds we have experienced in the housing market this year, April sales came in quite strong in comparison to last year. As we move through the spring and into the second half of 2013, the demand for home ownership should continue to firm-up relative to last year.”
She also said that it seems that a year after the introduction of stricter mortgage lending guidelines, some of the households that were initially put off by the new rules are reconsidering.
However, while some experts hail the data as the sign of a strong market, others remark April 2013 included two extra working days longer; it had 22 days instead of the 20 in April last year. This prolonged the period during which contracts are usually sealed, skewing the data. Economist Will Dunning believes that if the figures were adjusted to this fact, the real downturn would be somewhere around 14 per cent, as The Toronto Star reported.
Townhouses by MsAnthea
Even though the number of transactions continues to shrink, prices keep growing. The average selling price for last month was $526,335, up 2 per cent compared to the $515,888 recorded in April 2012. The MLS HPI Composite Benchmark, an apples-to-apples comparison, recorded a 2.9 per cent increase. The strongest 5.6 per cent price growth was recorded in the City of Toronto condo segment. Interestingly enough, condos in suburban areas were on the opposite side of the spectrum and fell by almost 6 per cent.
“The condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto was a key driver of price growth in April, with both the average selling price and the MLS HPI apartment index up on a year-over-year basis. The improved condo sales picture, with Toronto sales down by only one per cent compared to last year, suggests that interest in condo ownership may be improving,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Both new and active listings were up on a year-to-year basis, by 10.9 per cent and 13.5 per cent, respectively. Experts believe that the increasing number of listings might lower or eliminate the price growth in a mid-term perspective. The time it takes to sell a property went up to 23 days compared to 21 days last year. It’s also interesting to note that condos remain on the market for 32 days on average.