September sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board were as forecast – up 28% over September of ’08. Who says Realtors are overly optimistic? Even we were wrong with our September forecast of 7500 units – the final number was 8200! Again condo sales lead the way with year over year increases of 34% in the overall market, over 45% for Downtown condo sales, and 50% on the Etobicoke Waterfront. Look for October sales numbers in the 7500 unit range which will surpass October of last year’s 5100 (when the market started to tank). Comparing to last year is no longer appropriate. We need to look at a number of years. Total sales for 2009 will probably be in the 83,000 range – down from the 2007 record year of 93,000 units but on a par with 2004, 2005, and 2006. Hence 2009 sale levels are very sustainable going forward. The Downtown condo market is extremely tight. The sale-to-list ratio has moved to over 75% meaning that everything is selling in less than 30 days (the norm is 60-90). Resale condo prices are rising on average at 1% per month. Multiple offers are the norm under $400,000. Some frustrated buyers are returning to the new development condo market which has lagged the resale market. The price gap premium for new has narrowed from over $100 per sf. to less than $50. Part of this rush is the public’s race to beat the HST next June and to capitalize on low mortgage rates which the Bank of Canada will revisit again in June of 2010. The Spring market promises to be hot and will match 2007! This month we looked at sales at City Centre – 381 Front St. West, known as the Apex. The City Centre Complex is a prime location but represents entry level condo pricing for those who want to walk to work. The first unit we looked at was a one bedroom with den, parking and locker at 675 sf. plus a 25sf. balcony. The same unit sold three times from 2004 at $222,000 to $260,000 in 2007 and then again in June of this year at $302,000. That is $447 per sf. including parking. Another one bedroom sold at the same time for $425 per sf. as a reference. We then looked at a two bedroom with den, parking and locker at 950 sf. plus balcony. This unit sold for $315,000 in 2006 and then for $410,000 in June of 2009. That is $431 per sf. It is interesting to note that the price per sf. for smaller versus bigger units has narrowed – just exactly what we forecast a couple of years ago. Also both the one and the two bedroom units are appreciating at a rate of just under 10% per annum. Again a convergence of performance between unit sizes. RENTAL COMMENTARY: We are now entering a slower rental market. On average, rental numbers were off by 20%. There were 34 bachelors, 206 one bedroom units, 106 two bedroom units, and only 3 three bedroom units rented. Rental rates continue to inch upwards, on average about $50 per month. The basic one bedroom without parking was renting for $1400 plus, while the most popular unit – a one bedroom with den and parking was going for $1650. Two bedrooms start at $1900 and will go up to $2450 for a den and parking.