Realtors agree the Greater Toronto Area’s 2017 real estate market can be summed up in one word: Volatility.
The first few months of the year saw prices skyrocket, soaring more than 30 per cent higher than they were at the same time the previous year. Then, in April, the Ontario government introduced the Fair Housing Plan, a slate of measures to address affordability including a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the GTA and surrounding area.
Suddenly, the first quarter’s record sales turned into a drastic drop. A long-predicted housing crash never came, however, with price growth slowing but not reversing in the second half of the year.
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“It was really a rollercoaster,” said Toronto-area RE/MAX realtor Nadia Childs. “Towards the end of 2017 I think we saw buyer confidence return.”
Some buyers who bought at the peak of the market ended up in trouble when the frenzy ground to a halt, but Childs said she welcomed the province’s measures. In 2017 overall, the average property price in the GTA increased by 12.7 per cent — hardly a U.S.-style housing meltdown.
“In Toronto in particular, we’re a world-class city,” she said. “Until rates go back to where they were in the mid-’90s, I don’t think much is going to change.”
Here are six eye popping facts regarding Real Estate in Toronto
- 56,000 condos
At the end of 2014, there were more than 56,000 condos under construction in Toronto. That’s far more than what’s being built in other cities with a greater population like Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. As a comparison, during most of the 1990s the city hovered around 10,000 condo starts.
- Almost 3,000 unsold condo units
In May, CMHC reported 2,837 unsold condo units. An all-time high, the closest we’ve come to that number was in the early 90’s when the condo market was out of control. Despite the high number of unsold units, sales for the fancy high-rise units continue to increase. Condo sales also help stabilize the market by offering an affordable entry point for first-time buyers.
- $1 million average price
In February Toronto reached a milestone that had previously only been reserved for some of the most expensive cities on the planet. The average price for a detached home in the city limits surpassed $1 million. In June, that number increased to $1.052 million. The increase in demand for luxury homes, namely houses sold at $3 million or more has contributed to this number. Buyers have not been discouraged by this, as bidding wars are still very common.
- 50% in five years
In 2010 the average price for a Toronto property (including condos) was hovering around $430,000. In just five years, that average has rocketed up more than 50%, recently almost hitting $650,000.The last time the market moved that quickly was back in the late 1980s, with the average price hitting a peak of $273,000 in 1989. The average value didn’t top $270,000 again until 2004.
The number of sales in the Toronto market has more than tripled since hitting a low of 26,700 transactions in 1990, right after the 1989 bubble popped.That’s created a lot of jobs selling houses. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, there are currently more than 39,000 realtors currently working in the city. That’s one realtor for every 140 residents.
- 8.9 times
According to Statistics Canada, the average Toronto family earned $72,830 in 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available. During May 2015, the average price of real estate in the city was $649,599. That puts the price-to-income ratio at an eye-popping 8.9 times, which is a record high.