In some ways the July resale market’s performance was anticlimactic. We could see it unfolding in June, and as a result, there were few surprises. Sales continued their decline – in June 11,106 properties were reported sold, dropping to 9,390 in July, but still a strong month by historical standards. The record for reported sales was established last July at 11,081. At the end of the day there are only so many buyers in our given geographical area, and since the beginning of 2021, almost 80,000 properties have changed hands, a pace that will see at least 120,000 sales take place by the end of the year, shattering the previous record of 113,400 sales achieved in 2016.


All market indicators continue to point to a very robust market. The market’s slow down is due to absorption, seasonal change, and with higher vaccination rates and declining social restrictions consumers are focusing on activities other than buying and selling real estate. In addition, even if there was no change in buyers’ attitudes, there simply isn’t enough inventory in the marketplace. In July only 12,551 properties came to market, 31 percent fewer than the number that came to in market last July. As we enter August there are only 9,732 properties available for sale in the entire greater Toronto area, more than 35 percent less than were available last year (15,018).


The sales that took place were at lightning speed. In July all 9,390 reported sales took place (on average) in only 15 days. Last July, which was a record-breaking month, they took place in 17 days. These sales also came in at record-breaking average sale prices. In July the average sale price for all properties sold was $1,062,256,

12.6 percent higher than last July’s average sale price ($943,594).


A closer examination of July’s average sale price indicates the growth in sale prices is taking place in Toronto’s 905 region, and very moderate price growth in the City of Toronto, as the chart below clearly indicates.



The reason for this dramatic differentiation is twofold. Firstly, prices for homes in the 905 region are substantially lower than in the City of Toronto. Affordability is very much at play in the decision-making of buyers. Secondly, the need and desire for more space and perceived more safety, continues to drive buyers away from dense areas in Toronto to the less crowded suburbs. Of the 9,390 reported sales in July, 6,121 traded in the 905 region, or more than 65 percent. This trend is not likely to end soon.


Overall, the high end of the market continues to perform very strongly. In July 521 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Last year only 452 properties were sold in this category of homes. It is amazing to look back to 2019. In that year only 185 properties were bought and sold having a sale price of $2 Million or more. In just two years the number of high-end properties sold has increased by an eye-popping 182 percent.


Condominium apartment sales have continued to strengthen over the last few months, particularly in the City of Toronto, where the availability of most condominium apartments is located. In fact, in July condominium apartments were the only housing type that saw year-over-year growth, with detached, semi-detached, and townhouse sales all producing negative variances compared to July of last year. Condominium apartment sales were up by 4.2 percent.


July saw the first overall negative variance in sales in 12 months. Again, it must be remembered that reported sales in July 2020 were record-breaking. Last July 11,033 properties were sold, this year 9,390. July was the fourth straight month of declining sales, which as discussed in our June market report, was anticipated, for reasons already stated – absorption, affordability, lack of supply, and historic seasonal adjustment. Early indications are that this trajectory will continue into August, and for the same reasons. Last August 10,738 residential resale properties were reported sold. This August we will see close to 8,500 properties trading hands. This does not mean that the market is softening. In 2019, which was a solid resale year, 7,682 properties were reported sold. What we are witnessing is the resale market slowly morphing back to pre-pandemic patterns.



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There were 11,106 resale properties reported sold in June in the greater Toronto area. In the City of Toronto 3,850 properties changed hands. In both areas, these numbers were substantially lower than the astronomical peak achieved in March. Having said that, sales activity in June was only outpaced by June sales achieved in June 2016.

                          

The Toronto and area market remains very strong, even though it may feel like it has softened. Peak momentum is clearly now behind us, although some components of the marketplace – ie. condominium apartments and various sought-after neighbourhoods – may resist both the softening of sales and average prices.

In June the average sale price for all properties sold came in at $1,089,536, 17 percent higher than the price for properties sold last year ($931,131). Because the City of Toronto’s numbers are heavily weighted by condominium apartment sales, the average sale price for the City was a little lower at $1,079,749.


Detached and semi-detached property prices in the City remained very robust at $1,700,000 and $1,267,000 respectively. Detached properties increased by 11.5 percent compared to last year, while semi-detached sale prices actually declined by almost 2 percent. This decline was due more to lack of supply than demand.


The high end of the market continued to perform robustly in June. This year 699 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. Last year only 365 properties were reported sold in this price category, in percentage terms, an increase of almost 92 percent. With an increase in the average sale price of 17 percent, and 2,461 more properties reported sold this June, it is not surprising to see more property sales in the $2 Million plus range. Most of the greater Toronto area property sales are now in the $1 Million to $1.5 Million range.


Price increases were eye-popping in the 905 region. Detached property sale prices increased by almost 30 percent to $1,329,873, while semi-detached property prices increased by 21.5 percent to $915,000. These increases reflect the fact that buyers are continuing to flock to less expensive, ground-level homes, in less dense neighbourhoods. This phenomenon was dramatically accelerated by the concern for space and security (and price) generated by the pandemic.

 

Condominium apartment sales momentum continued in June, a pattern that first became noticeable at the beginning of this year. During the initial months of the pandemic and for most of 2020, condominium apartment sales fell off a cliff, victim to buyers’ quest for ground-level properties offering more space and security. In June 2,800 condominium apartments were reported sold in the greater Toronto area, a 57 percent increase compared to June last year. Most of those sales were in the City of Toronto (1,901).


With the increase in sales, prices have also been increasing. In June average sale prices for condominium apartments reached pre-pandemic levels. The average sale price for sales in the City of Toronto reached $717,466. In Toronto’s central districts where most condominium apartment sales take place (1,247) the average sale price rose to $770,000. Not only did the average price reach these lofty levels, but all central Toronto sales took place (on average) in only 15 days and at 102 percent of the list price. Buyers are fearlessly returning to high rise living.


Throughout the heady pandemic market supply has been a problem. There was no relief in June. Only 16,189 properties came to market, almost the exact number that came to market last year. Unfortunately, due to the extraordinary absorption in sales that have taken place in 2021, we enter July with only 11,297 properties available to buyers, almost 20 percent fewer than were available last year at this time.


Early July market data indicates that the pace of sales and the average sale price for properties sold will continue declining. July’s market will be primarily impacted by seasonal influences and consumers’ return to more “normal summer” activities. The province has been in lockdown for many months. The lifting of restrictions is beginning to moderate the consumer’s fixation for engaging in real estate buying and selling.

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