February sales, as reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board, continue to outpace those of 2005. For the month, residential sales were 9% higher than February of '05 and are 9% ahead on a year-to-date basis too. Condo sales continue to be the strongest performer, with overall condo apartment sales higher by 13% in February and 22% higher in the Downtown market. Condo apartment sales now make up over 20% of all residential sales on TREB and all condo types in total account for over 30% of sales.
While prices are increasing about 6% per year on average, detached properties are experiencing increases in the 10+% range with multiple offer situations becoming common at this time of year. Even prime condos are seeing multiple offers. The primary cause is still a lack of listing product. For the Downtown condo market, the list-to-sale ratio was under 35% last year (a balanced market is 25-35%) but this year it is over 40%! The market fundamentals are telling us that the condo market will not change or drop off this year, although there may be some slowing in activity but NOT PRICES in the second half of the year. Demographics and lifestyle changes tell us there are still a lot of buyers for condo product Downtown. At the same time, the so-called experts have continually underestimated condo demand because their models can't forecast preference shifts but can only extrapolate past trends.
We have just opened our third condo office to service the BAY/BLOOR market. It is located at 1170 Bay St. - just south of Bloor and directly across the street from Indigo and the Manulife Centre. Twenty of our top people from our Harbour Square office have moved up. We have the first ground floor or retail real estate brokerage presence in the area. You can walk into our premises from Bay or you can access it from the back via Sultan Street (off St. Thomas). From our location, you can walk to over 30 condo buildings, return to our office, and draw up your offer with a cappuccino or espresso. Now that's?all about lifestyle.
One of the newest and most popular condo buildings is 18 Yorkville. Located at Yonge and Yorkville, it uses the Yorkville address to cash in on the Bloor St. and Yorkville sizzle. While there is no sales history for the building, many believe that once a building is registered, units are dumped and sale prices trend lower. Nothing could be further from the truth in this building. Since the start of the year, there have been 19 sales. There are currently 13 units on the market. One unit - 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, with parking - at just over 800 sq.ft. sold for $410,000. This is a price of $500/sq.ft. The identical unit, two floors down, but with slightly better finishes, is now on offered for sale at $459,000. You tell me where the market is trending??