Steadily strong sales, an increasing number of buyers, and fewer sellers leading to higher prices: that’s July’s GTA real estate market in a nutshell. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board monthly Market Watch release, home sales went up to 10,230, which is a 21 per cent increase year-over-year. Higher numbers for June were only recorded in 2007 and 2009. The sum of MLS sales for the first half of 2011 was 48,189, which was a 4.5 per cent decline compared to the same period of 2010.
TREB president Richard Silver said: “The pace of sales was a bit sluggish at the beginning of the year, but rebounded in May and June. Because of the positive affordability picture, home buyers remained confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term.”
The average price of a residential property in the GTA in June 2011 was $476,371, a 9.5 per cent rise compared to June 2010. The average price for the first half of 2011 was about 8 per cent higher than the average price of the first six months of 2010. The Median price in June 2011 was $405,000, up more than 10 per cent compared year-on-year. Active Listings plummeted by 24 per cent compared to the previous year, and the average number of days a property stays on the market moderated by 11 per cent, from 27 in June 2010 to 24 in June 2011.
“While sales have been strong, we would be on track for a record number of transactions in 2011 if not for the decline in listings so far this year,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Tight supply meant more competition between home buyers and an accelerating annual rate of price growth in the second quarter… Home owners will likely react to the stronger price growth by listing their homes in greater numbers. A better supplied market would result in more moderate price increases."
According to Royal LePage’s Market Survey Forecast, the market has seen its peak in housing price growth and is expected to end the year with prices 7.7 per cent higher than the year before. Signs of moderation in price appreciation are appearing nation-wide, but their frequency varies region to region. Real estate prices in Toronto were driven by low interest rates and low inventory. The market could have been livelier, but the lack of inventory didn’t allow for higher activity.