The market continues to perform well. While sales for March were down 2% from March a year ago, preliminary April sales are already ahead by 4% as reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board. While Toronto condo sales were level for March, there was a significant increase in condo sales over $500,000 - from 57 a year ago to 75 in March of '07. Downtown and the Etobicoke Waterfront also reported stronger sales. Downtown was up by 4% for March and the Etobicoke Waterfront was ahead by 30%. A primary factor in Etobicoke was that Monarch cancelled its new phase of Waterview and returned deposits to buyers. Hence more buyers were forced into the resale market in that area.
Our primary focus is the Downtown condo market. Sales are running about 8% ahead of last year on a year-to-date basis. Available listings are unchanged and the sale-to-list ratio is at 50%. What does that mean? Multiple offers for condos! There are lots of buyers in this market and if there were more listings, sales would be running 15% higher. Our original forecast for 2007 called for a price increases averaging 5%. The 'other' experts told you prices were moderating and would be in the 3% range. We are now forecasting that prices will increase by an average of 10%+ this year. There is no short-term relief in sight as there are not enough new developements completing this year to meet market demand. If you recall, our ten-year forecast projected condo prices to double over the next ten years. And those 'other' experts thought we were just your typical realtors trying to hype the market!
This month we are looking at prices at the Icon, at 270 Wellington St. W. in the heart of the Entertainment District - just off Blue Jays Way. The first unit we choose was a two-bedroom, two bath unit with parking at just under 1,000 sq.ft. It sold last July for $352,000. The very same unit sold in May of '04 for $299,900. That's a 17% increase over 26 months. (And you could have bought that unit from the builder without parking for $213,000 in 2000). In 2007, there have been 7 sales - 6 one-bedroom units and 1 two-bedroom unit. The longest time on market for any unit was 18 days. Two units sold above list price and the lowest was at 98%. The average price was just under $400 per sq.ft. with parking. Buyers had better get ready to pay $400 per sq.ft. in the resale market and $450 in the new development market!!
The rental market also heated up in March. 169 one-bedroom units and 96 two-bedroom units were leased. Two-bedroom units averaged $2100 per month and the average time on market was just 16 days. The Toronto Real Estate Board now allows us to separate furnished and unfurnished units. Unfurnished one-bedroom units with parking averaged $1510; whereas a furnished unit with parking leased for an average of $1780. The difference is $270 per month. One-bedroom units without parking averaged $1425 versus $1625 for furnished units. The time to lease averaged 18-20 days for all one-bedroom units. Most leases are for a one-year term but a few short-term rentals do exist. The premium to go 3-6 months is usually an extra $250 per month.