April was another record setting month for residential sales on the Toronto Real estate Board. Residential sales at 9,168 units were up 1% over March and 25% ahead of April of 2003. Condo sales were also strong but not to the same extent. Condo sales in April were 7% lower than March's record, but still 18% higher than April of last year. Downtown, condo sales in April were also off from the record March levels by 23%, but were still 5% higher than April of last year. This is not the end of the market as some economists keep hoping, but just a pause in a surprisingly strong condo market. Conversely the Etobicoke Waterfront reported condo sales 20% higher in April than March! Early May figures suggest another month of sales in the 9,000 range. For the downtown condo market, the sales to active listings ratio is running at 35% - almost a sellers market (25-35% is considered a balanced market). As we commented in previous Reports, there is not a lot of big condo projects coming to registration this year (next year is a different story) - and that means not a huge increase in the supply of condos. Ongoing growth in demand for Downtown condo units will allow the market to absorb these units quite nicely. Remember last Fall when the ratio was at 20%.
Last month we talked about 'hot' condo buildings and so we thought we would look at sales at the Phoebe on Queen - 18 Beverly St. - the heart of the Entertainment District and everything that is trendy. This is a great building in a great location and the fact that it is a low rise is a bonus. Even though the building has been registered for less than a year, prices are already moving up! A much in demand, two-bedroom with two baths sold first in February of this year for $297,000 and the same unit sold again in May for $336,000 - 13% higher and $7,000 over list price! Another two-bedroom - two-bath unit also sold for $16,000 over list price this year. And just about every sale this year in the building has been at FULL list price. You would think this was the detached house market!!

In April, 123 one-bedroom and 61 two-bedroom condo units were leased Downtown. However there are still approximately 130 one-bedroom and 100 two-bedroom condo units for lease on the market. That means the average unit is taking over 30 days to lease. While this is a far cry from a few years ago when everything rented in days, it is not quite as bleak for owners as some have suggested. Owners of older units need to spend some money on their units when current tenants vacate in order to keep competitive in the market with new units from just registered buildings. The rental unit in most demand is the one-bedroom plus den (and not the small one-bedroom) which now rents in the $1350 - 1450 range.

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