The Toronto Real Estate Board’s December resale home stats were released today, and what a difference a year makes. For the second month in a row, more than double the number of homes were sold in comparison to the same period in 2008, and at a significantly higher average price. As TREB points out, the elevated sales-to-listings ratio has buoyed prices of late. However, it is also important to note that in late 2008, many luxury and even mid-priced homes started to languish, and what sales activity remained was concentrated at the entry-level end of the market, thereby skewing average selling prices downwards. What this means is that home buyers who have been sitting on the fence for the last year shouldn’t be dismayed by what appears to be a significant jump in average house prices. With many Canadian real estate analysts forecasting an increase in the number of listings coming on the market in the next few months, I expect we will see a healthy and balanced spring market ahead.
See below for the Toronto Real Estate Board's December 2009 Market Watch commentary, or read all 2009 Market Watch reports here.
TORONTO, January 6, 2010 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 87,308 MLS transactions in 2009 – a 17 per cent increase over 2008. This result included 5,541 sales in December. The 2009 result was in line with the healthy levels of sales experienced between 2004 and 2006, but lower than the record of 93,193 set in 2007.
"After a slow start to the year, existing home sales rebounded during the second half of 2009," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "As consumer confidence improved, many households moved to take advantage of affordable home ownership opportunities in the GTA. The strong residential real estate sector was a key contributor to overall economic recovery in Canada."
The average home price in 2009 climbed four per cent to $395,460. The average price for December transactions was $411,931.
"Market conditions became very tight in the latter half of 2009. Sales climbed strongly relative to the number of homes listed for sale, resulting in robust price growth that more than offset average price declines in the winter," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "A greater supply of listings in 2010 will see home prices grow at a sustainable pace."