As reported last month, sales are trending down. Residential sales for August were 7% lower than August of last year and 5% off from July. However August numbers are better than first predicted. The residential market is still strong. On a year-to-date basis, we are still running 14% ahead of 2001. What we are currently experiencing is just a market 'pause'. Over the last few years, September has also been one of the slower months. However the market fundamentals have not changed, and therefore we are still expecting a strong market for the balance of the year with the typical Spring surge starting in February of 2003. On the condo front, overall condo sales were off 12% from August of last year. Again the Downtown market outperformed other areas, with condo sales there off by only 2% from August numbers of 2001. Road construction along Lakeshore Blvd. severely impacted the Humber Bay Waterfront with condo sales down by 30% in August!

In terms of sale prices, the market has softened. On average prices are down 3% from spring levels for most units. Owners thinking of selling should not be listing their properties 5% higher than the last sale - unless they are prepared to wait until the spring of 2003 to sell their unit! On the other hand, this fall represents an excellent opportunity for buyers to enter the market without having to worry about getting caught in a 'bidding war'.

This month we examined prices at 1166 Bay St. - an exclusive condo building that feature larger units with valet parking and concierge services. Located just south of Bloor St. it ties into the most expensive area for condos in Toronto - the Yorkville market. A two bedroom/two bath unit with library/den at 2100 sq. ft. sold in March of 2001 for $480,000 and then was resold for $529,000 eleven months later. This represented an appreciation of 10%. At $252 per sq. ft., this represents good value when you compare it to prices for new projects of the same size and quality of finishes which are asking $350!

Condo rentals under $1600 are starting to move quickly. Higher priced units over $2500 are now being actively shown, although this market segment is slower. There is also increased interest in furnished units. This is a strong sign that the corporate sector is coming back. At the lower end, condo rentals have stabilized at the $1200 entry level. There is still room to negotiate on units over $3,000 per month. While a number of new condo projects are coming on stream later this year, which will increase the rental pool, the market should absorb their impact within a few months.

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