August sales at 8,035 units on the Toronto Real Estate Board were 27% ahead of August numbers for '08. While sales were down from July this is strictly a seasonal factor. On the condo front, overall sales were up by 26% this August over August '08; on the Etobicoke Waterfront by 23% and Downtown by an incredible 66%!
Now to dispel the final myth: that this recovery is a 'false up' and that the real estate market will turn down again. We said we needed to see September numbers to confirm the trend for the balance of the year. Well we are forecasting September sales at 7500 units which compares to 6400 units in September '08 and 6900 units for September '07 (remember the record breaking year)! With low mortgage rates, rising public confidence that the worst of the recession is behind us, and Government economic stimulus programs still to impact the economy (what else is new- Governments are all talk, no action, and always a year behind reality), the economy can only go up from here. It is safe to assume that the real estate market will continue tracking upwards. For owners, the current lack of listings has lead to rising prices but the inventory of listings can change significantly within six months. Now is a great time to sell for investors.
This month we examined three sales at the DNA building at 1 Shaw in King West - the hottest condo area this year. The building is geared to younger buyers and most of the units are smaller. The smallest unit at 645 sf. was sold in June of this year at $290,000 (2% over list price). It previously sold for $228,000 - three years ago. It is a one bedroom without parking but has a locker. A slightly larger unit (660 sf.) with parking but no locker sold for $287,000 in July (3% over list price). It previously sold in 2007 (at the peak of the earlier market) for $267,000. The largest unit, at 935 sf. with two bedrooms, parking and locker, sold for $388,000 (3% under list) in March of '09. Previously it sold for $370,000 in August of '06. It is interesting that the smallest unit sold for $450 per sf. whereas the largest sold for only $415 per sf. Compare that to new developments that sell for $500 per ft. and more. Condo prices in this building are rising at 9% per year for the smaller units and about 3% for the bigger units - even taking into account the price correction at the end of 2008. People who decided to wait have certainly lost and it proves our point once again that 'you cannot time the market'!
August and July are always the busiest months of the year with every one wanting a September 1st occupancy. August surpassed July with 40 studios, 254 one-bedroom units, and 131 two-bedroom units changing hands Downtown. Prices were also up. Tenants paid $1350 for studios, one- bedrooms went from a low $1350 without parking to a high of $1600 with parking and a den. Two-bedroom units ranged from $2000 without parking to $2250 for parking and a den. It is interesting to note that the premium for a parking spot has moved up from $100 to $150 per month. Finally, investors who are thinking about renting have missed this year's market! It ended September 1st. You should be thinking about selling instead.