Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home sales surge in the GTA

April represented the second consecutive month in which transactions in the Greater Toronto Area exceeded the 10,000 mark, with 10,898 changing hands.

The figure exceeds the 8,107 sales in April 2009, a month that heralded the beginning of our market's recovery. Most significantly, it surpassed April 2008's 8,762 transactions and even the 9,452 sales that took place in April 2007, which was followed by the only other two consecutive months that exceeded 10,000 sales.

Breaking down last month's numbers, there were 4,310 sales in the 416 area and 6,588 transactions in the 905 region.

The 3,349 condominium sales that took place comprised nearly 31 percent of all sales last month. By contrast, at this time a year ago, condominium apartments comprised 28 per cent of the month’s transactions. This indicates a growing preference among Torontonians for the condominium lifestyle. With respect to prices, the results are also very positive. Currently, the average price of a home in the GTA is $437,600, which represents an almost 12 per cent increase over the April, 2009 average price of $385,641. Price increases in both regions were nearly equal last month. In the 416 area, the average price of $479,340 rose nearly 14 per cent from $421,470 a year ago. In the 905 tegion, the average price of $410,293 increased more than 13 per cent from last April’s $362,009 average.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of 21 days, compared to an average of 37 days last April, and there are now 22,951 homes available for sale throughout the GTA, in contrast to 23,515 a year ago. In the coming months though, it’s expected that homeowners will be motivated by recent activity, which should result in more listings and thus, a more balanced market. While sales have undoubtedly been robust throughout the past 12 months, the market is functioning as expected. This spring’s homebuyers are hoping to achieve purchases before July 1st due to the impending harmonized sales tax and an anticipated increase in interest rates.

While homebuyers in the second half of this year will incur additional expenses due to these two factors, Greater Toronto realtors are constantly advocating to ease costs associated with homeownership. For example, we are currently seeking a commitment from Toronto’s mayoral candidates to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer tax, an action that will save homebuyers thousands of dollars.
Regardless of the many variables that can affect a transaction though, you can increase your chances of a favourable outcome by seeking the guidance of a realtor. They can advise you on market conditions in your specific area and offer insight into recent sales in the neighbourhood so that you can make informed decisions when planning your next move.

By Tom Lebour, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The views expressed here are those of the president.
Toronto Star. May 13, 2010.