The trend discussed in last month's commentary continued to play out. October sales on TREB were 6700 units, about 6% higher than in September. October is usually the highest sales month of the fall market. Last year, October sales increased just 3% from September! Still sales for October this year are down 21% from October of '09. We are currently forecasting that November sales will come close to matching October sales and when you look at 2009, November sales actually declined 13% from October. Overall, the market is at a level that will support current prices and those looking for further price declines will be disappointed!
The condo market continued to outperform the overall market through the fall. Condo sales this October were down by 18% from October '09. Downtown condo sales this October performed even better and were off by just 10% from a year ago. As we continue to stress, there are sufficient buyers for downtown but the supply of condos coming to market has reduced the sale-to-listing ratio from 78% a year ago (a tight market) to 32% this year (a balanced market) - not a fire sell market as the media would like to hype! Looking to the new condo market, developer sales even outpaced those of the resale market. Breaking the downtown market into three areas, sales in the core averaged almost $700/sf while downtown west was at $600 and the east side was just above $500/sf.
For whatever reason, sales in the west always seem to be slightly higher than those in the east and to prove our point; we looked at sales at 80 Western Battery or Zip Condos in Liberty Village. This building appeals to first time buyers and most of the units are smaller. The smallest unit we looked at was a one bedroom with balcony, but no parking or locker. At just 484 sf, it sold in April of '09 for $222,000 and again in June of this year for $270,000 - that's an increase of 21% in just 14 months at a price of $557/sf. A similar unit at 486 sf but with parking and locker sold in March of '09 for $260,000 (you can see that the value of parking and locker is $38,000). The same unit sold in October of this year for $314,000. That's a 21% increase over 19 months. But when you adjust for parking and locker, the sale price was $567/sf. The first unit sold before July 1st of this year and the second after ��" you would have expected prices to drop. Instead units in this building maintained their value. The final unit we looked at was a one bedroom, two storey with 1 ½ baths, parking and locker. At 600 sf. approx. It sold first in March of '09 for $307,000 and in July of this year for $405,000. This was an increase of 32% over 16 months. When you adjust for parking and locker, the price is $610/sf - even higher than the smaller units.
The rental market for October continued to be strong, although the number of units leased was slightly lower than in September. Studios ranged from $1200 - 1450 with parking. Thirty two units were leased at an average time on market of just 10 days. One bedroom rentals ranged from $1350 for no parking to $1680 for parking and a den. Of the 248 units rented, the one plus one with parking is the most popular choice and rentals rates moved up $30 on average. There were 136 two bedroom units rented from $2000 without parking to $2300 with parking and den. Again the bigger units were more popular and average prices increased $50 per month. All units being rented went for prices of 99-100% of the asking price. For a major city, our rental prices are still relatively cheap.