October and November sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board continued to exceed expectations, and last year’s numbers by significant margins – sales up 64% in October and then 76% in November. Our forecast of 6300 sales for November is still lower than the record 7300 achieved in November of 2007! The overall condo and the downtown condo markets experienced similar sales increases. Looking at the downtown condo market, the sale-to-listing ratio was at an all time high of 81% (a balanced market is 30-35%). Even more telling was the average sale-to-list price at over 100%! That means just about every listing sold above the asking price! The end result is that prices are now rising at 1% per month!!
Experts now are warning that low interest rates are the culprit for this ‘feeding frenzy’ by buyers and we need to cool the fire by raising rates. That is not the problem! The problem is a lack of listing inventory today! Remember these same experts told us we were building too many condos! At this time the overall market shows just fewer than 15,000 active listings – down 46% from last year. But in 2007, the best sales year on record, we were at 20,000 active listings at the same time of the year. The downtown condo market has even bigger problems – more buyers than in 2007 and even with more new condo buildings brought to market, we have 10 % less active listings than two years ago!! The real challenge is how do we bring more listings to the market??
This month we examined sales at College Park – the biggest condo complex in the downtown with two towers occupied and a third almost sold out. We selected 763 Bay. An entry level unit – a 370 sf. studio with no parking and no locker sold in May of this year for $225,000 or $600+ per sf. A year ago the same unit sold for $211,000. A slightly larger unit – 550 sf. with balcony and locker but no parking on a higher floor sold in August of this year for $343,000 or $620 per sf. The very same unit sold for $295,000 in 2008 for a price gain of 16% in 15 months. The final unit we looked at was on a high floor, great views and finishes. It was a one plus one at 720 sf., with a locker and again no parking. It sold this year for $490,000 or $680 per sf. Fourteen months ago the same unit sold for $388,000, or an increase of 26%! What this shows is that bigger units and higher floors are starting to attract premium pricing and are appreciating faster – the impact of move-up buyers. Secondly, College Park has the highest prices per sf. on the Bay Street corridor.
Rental numbers continue to track downwards. In October, 22 studios, 160 one bedroom units, and 88 two bedroom units were leased. This was down another 20% from the previous month. Rental numbers will not pick up again until January. Still, rates are holding firm. Everything is renting on average at 100% of list or ask price. Expect to pay $1300-1400 for a studio, one bedroom units now range from $1450 -1650 with parking and den. Parking will cost on average $100 per month. Two bedroom units range from almost $2,000 to $2400. If you are looking for a 3 bedroom unit – 6 were leased this month. Three of them were townhouses at an average price of $2500.