Residential Sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board at 6232 units for August were down 22% from August of ’09. The positive was that sales were down only 5% from July of this year. In 2009, the drop in sales from July to August was 19%. Downtown condo sales outperformed the overall market and were down by only 11% this August compared to August ’09. While there are still a good number of buyers for condos, the number of available listings is at a record and the sale-to-list ratio has dropped from 80% last year to 35% this year. Pricing at market has never been so critical (yes you can get multiple offers if you want to list $20,000 below market) and if you list even $15,000 over market be prepared to sit until 2011!
But what everyone wants to know about is the Fall Market. Bank economists are on record as saying it will be weak – dropping sales and falling prices (Economists track average prices which peak in June and decline every month thereafter which means little to those who know real estate.) We are here to tell you that sales will be lower than the fall of 2009 (a record year) but they will be just as good as 2007 and 2006. Remember 2008 was the start of the mini market correction which lasted six months. Interest rates changes will have no impact on this market and our experience to date is that HST has had a minimal impact on the resale market. With an oversupply of listings, expect prices to come off $10-20,000 in some condo buildings. In prime downtown areas, expect prices to be flat or marginally lower. Again a Realtor and not an economist can tell you which buildings are being impacted and where are the buying opportunities.
Radio City Condos consists of two buildings at 281 and 285 Mutual St. This newer condo has great designs and is extremely popular with younger buyers. The first unit we examined was a one bedroom with balcony and no locker or parking. It sold in late 2008 for $230,000. The same unit sold in April of this year for $275,000 ($25,000 over list price). An identical unit sold in 2009 for $253,000 so we know this unit was underpriced when listed in 2010 to create a multiple offer scenario that implies that the market is hotter than it really is. At just over 500 sf, the price per sf is $540. Consider that the unit first sold at the bottom of the market and then sold at the peak, the price increase was only 19% over 16 months. The second unit we looked at was a two bedroom, one bath, with balcony, locker, and rental parking. It sold for $339,000, also in late 2008. It sold again in August of this year, after the market had peaked for $395,000. At 800 sf, the price is $495 per sf and it appreciated at 16% over 20 months. Small units continue to sell at a premium per sf in this building. If the two bedroom had sold at the peak of the market this year, it would have gone for an extra $5,000 -$10,000.
Rental volumes for August were about the same as in July: 40+ studios, 300 one-bedroom units, and 185 two-bedroom units were leased. Normally, August is slightly more active than July for rentals. In terms of rental rates, studios continue to perform best – averaging $1250 without parking. One –bedroom units again ranged from $1350 without parking to $1550 with a den and parking. More and more people living downtown do not own a car. One-bedroom units with parking are now averaging less than a one-bedroom plus den without parking. Two-bedroom units ranged from $1900 without parking to $2250 with a den and parking. Again a two bedroom with den and no parking rented for more than a two bedroom with parking. In other words, the market is saying that a den has more value than a parking spot!