March 2015 InfographicMarket data for March has the Toronto residential resale market poised for a record-shattering year. In March 8,940 resale properties were reported sold, 11 percent higher than the 8,052 properties reported sold in 2014. On a year to date basis 19,595 properties have been reported sold in the greater Toronto area. Last year at this time there were 17,851 reported sales, an increase of approximately 10 percent. At this pace more than 100,000 resale properties will be reported sold by year end, shattering the previous record of 93,193 reported sales in 2007. The Toronto resale market, particularly at some price points and for various housing types, has been unstoppable.

As I have reported in recent updates, the market continues to set new records. The average sale price for March came in at $613,933, eclipsing the previous average sale price high of $596,200, achieved only last month. The average sale price for the City of Toronto ($613,933 was the average sale price for the greater Toronto area, including the 905 region) was even higher at $655,067, notwithstanding the proliferation of lower priced condominiums apartments located in the central core of the city.

The average sale price of $655,067 was primarily due to the number of properties selling that have a sale price that exceeded $1 Million. In March 960 properties in this category of homes were reported sold. This is also a record for this price point. Last year in March, which was an active month, only 596 properties were reported sold. The 960 properties reported sold in this category represented more than 10 percent of the overall market. It is interesting to note that 121 of these properties had an average sale price of $2 Million or more.

A bright spot in the March data for buyers was the number of new listings that came to the market. In March 15,531 new properties became available for buyers to purchase in the greater Toronto area. This represents an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the 14,717 new properties that became available last March.  The year over year increase is one of the few that we have seen in recent months. Unfortunately the increase in new listings did not improve the overall availability of homes for sale. At the end of March there were 15,295 properties available for sale, 7.5 percent less than the 16,543 listings available last year.

These properties represent only 2.1 months of inventory. Due to the number of condominium apartments available for sale in the City of Toronto, the months of inventory are a little higher at 2.3 months. The inventory shortages are particularly acute in the detached and semi-detached housing sectors. For example all detached homes in the City of Toronto sold in just 15 days for an average sale price of  $1,042,405, exceeding the average sale price of $1,040,018 achieved for detached homes just last month, another record. The average sale price for semi-detached homes increased fairly significantly to $723,167,also a record. In the City of Toronto all semi-detached properties  ( on average) sold at the speed of light. In March 287 semi-detached properties sold in only 10 days, also a record. The number of semi-detached properties sold would have been even higher had there been more properties available for sale on the market.

Condominium apartments continue to be the slowest sector In the City of Toronto’s resale market, although even that sector is seeing rising prices and sales.  In March 1506 condominiums apartments were reported sold. This is more sales than the combined total of semi-detached and detached properties (1,337) that sold. The 1506 condominiums apartments sold represent an increase of 13.5 percent compared to the number of sales that took place last year.

Sale prices for condominium apartments were not quite so frothy as for freehold properties. The average sale price of condominium apartments in March increased to $398,337 up 3.3 percent compared to the average sale price achieved last year. In central Toronto where most of the city’s condominium apartments are located, the average sale price was substantially higher at $450,584. It was encouraging to see that for the first time it only took only 30 days (on average) for all condominium apartments that came to the market to sell. This is not as fast as the freehold market which is averaging less than 20 days, but a vast improvement compared to the 40 days plus it took to move condominiums apartments last year.

Looking to April expect more of what we saw in March. Mortgage interest rates have further declined— a fixed five year mortgage can be obtained at an interest rate of 2.64 percent—allowing buyers to stay in the market even though prices have been constantly rising. Only a dramatic increase in mortgage interest rates can detour this market. With that likelihood not on the horizon, expect another strong, record-breaking month, in April.

Prepared by: Chris Kapches, President & CEO, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage