TREB’s December GTA Data.

Toronto, January 8, 2020
By Ivan Kalinin

At the beginning of every month, TREB (the Toronto Real Estate Board) publishes detailed pricing and sales data from the previous month. We sift through this data and try to interpret for our clients trends that may be developing and what it might mean to them if they are buying or selling. We zero in particularly on TREB areas C08 and E01 – Toronto’s Lower East Side – the neighbourhoods of St. Lawrence Market, The Distillery, Corktown, Regent Park, Cabbagetown, Riverside and Riverdale.

As much as we can tell from a small-sample size month, December 2019 produced 4,399 residential sales, 17.4% higher than last December, which makes sense when you recall we lost almost a week of November with that storm and overall demand is up in the GTA. For 2019 as a whole, the GTA logged 87, 825 residential sales, up 12.6% over the (low-for-the-decade) 2018 but more or less in line with 2010-2020 expectations. This activity was particularly during the 2nd half of the year, when many buyers came back into the market in the late spring. Buyer confidence was up, due to a continuing strong regional economy, low mortgage rates and a sense that prices were going up rapidly.

The real story continues to be the dearth of new listings – after -17.9% YoY in November, we saw a -18.1% for December, leaving us with 35.2% fewer active listings than at this time last year. This widening imbalance between supply and demand has continued to put upwards price pressure as prices were up 11.9% over last year. In fact, the sales-to-new-listings ratio was well over 100%, eating away at an already low inventory situation.

Prices and volumes were up across all home types in both 416 and 905 regions, with detached homes in the 416 leading the way, up 38% in volume and 19.5% in price. Days on market in this squeezed market declined accordingly, over 6%.


TREB Areas C08/E01 – Toronto’s ‘Lower East Side’

E01 continues to be hot. Selling prices are still 107% of asking and Days on Market (DoM) was 17 – well under the 416 average of 27. Even worse, there is only 0.8 of a month worth of inventory at this sales pace left in E01. That tells us that if you see something you like, don’t sleep on it. Make an offer yesterday. 

In the downtown C08 core, condos are averaging $738K, and selling at just about list price after a very typical 27 DoM, so there are likely no great deals to be had. It remains a mature, well understood market at the colder, snowier end of the year. 

We see this data continues to support our assessment of E01 continuing to be in demand as a great neighbourhood, given its proximity and quick commute to the CBD and its relative affordability (in 416 terms). Our hope is that if prices continue to rise like this, people will be jumping in to list in the spring market if they feel it continues to be a seller’s market. Our fear is that if a whole bunch of them do, the mini glut will cancel that advantage. We strongly suggest that If you are thinking of selling in the spring in E01, see if you can move it up ahead of the pack to maximize this price rise advantage.

So what are the KEY takeaways? I’d say:

  1. 2019 showed us a resurgent market overall, with owners reticent to list, likely because they can’t find anywhere to move to. This will continue until they see themselves getting a price that allows them to move to where they want, if inventory rises. What a vicious circle. 
  2. If you’re going to sell in 2020, start now. Timing the market is tricky, but possible. Also, be prepared to rent for a few months in transition if you need to.
  3. Money is still cheap, and BoC rates are steady – that will keep the price pressures up, especially at the lower end of the market (condos in the CBD). And will likely also make downsizers wait a bit to list, keeping inventory low.
  4. The recent LPRB decision in Toronto with respect to Airbnb leasing will definitely affect the market. For a better understanding of where this might leave you, give me a call. We have put together contingency plans for investors who still want to rent.

If you like talking real estate half as much as I do and are going to participate in the market in 2020, come chat and have a coffee. And if you are looking for a property as an investment, remember our super-popular private investment tours now booking in early 2020. Click here to book. 

Ivan Kalinin is a sales agent at Key Toronto Real Estate Group. Zoocasa Realty Inc. – Brokerage independently owned and operated, He can be reached at 416 858 8085. Not intended to solicit clients already under contract.