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Monday, May 13, 2013

Toronto Home Sales Cooling Off

The weather is cooling, and so are sales in Toronto’s existing home market. Sales were down by 22 per cent in the first half of September, according to figures released Thursday by the Toronto Real Estate Board.
“Home sales are nursing a bit of a hangover from the real estate party in the first half of the year, ” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Capital Markets.
“Looking ahead, sales are expected to remain on the soggy side with consumer confidence dimming, but should find support in still low rates and steady job growth.”
The board reported that 2,623 sales were recorded in the first two weeks of the month compared with the 3,361 sales in 2009.
Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported on Wednesday that sales were actually up for the first time in months by 4.1 per cent in August.
The forward-looking data for September suggests that the trend line nationally will be on a downward slope as Toronto is responsible for a large share of the overall Canadian market.
“Sales remain below the record pace we experienced in the second half of 2009,” said TREB president Bill Johnston. “The prospect of higher interest rates and new mortgage lending guidelines resulted in higher than normal sales in the first few months of the year.”
Year to date, sales are still 6 per cent higher than they were in 2009.
Average prices are also 5 per cent higher than the same time last year to $412,367, compared with $393,818.
Breaking down the suburbs verses the Toronto area: Prices in the 416 area remained higher at $453,643. Prices in the 905 suburbs averaged $398,529.
While Toronto prices showed appreciation, average prices nationally remained flat year-over-year.
“The flat year-over-year rate is the weakest since April 2009,” David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin + Sheff & Associates, said in an economic note Thursday.
Rosenberg said national average prices could go into negative territory by the end of the month:
“In our view, we could see year-over-year comparisons turn negative as early as September.”
- This news is actually very good news to perspective home buyers. If you didn't have an opportunity to take advantage of the previous real estate downturn, here comes your second opportunity to capitalize on some very affordable deals. Let's keep in mind, if house prices do indeed start to fall - as forecasted in the article above, not only will you be able to find some great deals on some spectacular properties, but, you'll also be able to attain a mortgage with 'record' low interest rates.
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- Marco

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