October 2019: Toronto & GTA MLS® home sales: Inventory Tells the Story

By: theBB.group

October 2019: Toronto & GTA MLS® home sales: Inventory Tells the Story


Toronto, Ontario, November 5, 2019 - “MarketWatch”, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s monthly residential MLS® statistical report, was released by Board president Michael Collins today showing home sales reported byChart - 2019-10 Toronto & GTA Home Sales & Average Price by Major Home Type Realtors® in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area last month totalled 8,491 units, up an even 14%, at an average selling price of $852,142, up 5.5% compared to October, 2018. All figures herein are year-over-year comparisons unless specifically noted otherwise.

As has been well-documented for many months, the state of the residential real estate market in much of the Greater Golden Horseshoe can be summed up thus: Relatively low resale inventory levels combined with healthy demand - driven to a large degree by low mortgage interest rates - resulting in relatively strong price growth. The average sale price of Detached homes in April, 2017 though, was still about 19% higher in Toronto than it is today, and about 15% higher in the balance of TREB’s market area. 

The Inventory Story

Generally speaking, the only real “negatives” in the report related to the ongoing issue of inventory. Namely, the number of newly listed homes was down 9.6%; the more indicative Total Active Listings figure was down 18.8% Chart - 2019-10 Toronto & GTA Home Sales YoY Summaryto 15,375 homes. That sounds like a lot of listings, but last year was considered “tight” from an inventory standpoint. In the “financial crisis year”, October, 2008’s TAL tally was over 27,000 available homes [& only 5,155 sales averaging $352,974!].

[Just for the record: The title of that October, 2018 stats blog post noted, "Inventory Still Constrained"...and that was with Active Listings totalling just shy of 19,000. Based on 7,492 sales that month, "Forward Inventory" was just over two-and-one-half months.]

Just prior to the market peaking in the Spring of ‘17, inventory was considered a virtual “crisis”: October, 2016’s TAL stood at just 10,563 homes [sales that month totalled 9,768, averaging $762,975]. Of course, that following spring we saw 30%+ YoY price gains…

In terms of “Forward Inventory”, calculated by dividing the Total Active Listings by the month’s Sales, we have less than eight weeks.

The report’s other indicators of low inventory are the Days on Market ["DOM"] at a relatively quick 23...albeit not much of a shift from last October’s 24...and the only other minus sign in the report: Sales of Semi-Detached homes in Metro Toronto. Those were off 2.7% but, given that their average sale price was up 7.1% [to Chart - 2019-10 Toronto & GTA Home Sales Historic Annual & Monthly Stats$1,099,802], that’s more likely of function of supply than demand.

My wife will back me up when I say, “I’ve been wrong before”...but I still wouldn’t bet the farm on “30% price increases” in the coming months: If you’re thinking about selling - particularly for the purpose of downsizing [Bungalow, anyone?!] - these are great conditions for Sellers in the GTA and, come the Spring of 2020, it’s likely we’ll see inventory rising along with the crocuses & tulips.

Speaking of Bungalows, if you have one to sell please let us know: We receive inquiries daily for Bungalows all over the area and at all price points...and, because demand is robust while new construction of Bungalows is relatively rare in and around our urban areas - at least in any quantity - inventory remains extremely low in many locales.

Specific Sales Numbers…

Sales of Detached houses in Metro Toronto totalled 1,034, up a robust 18.3%, at an average sale price of $1,323,015, a modest 1.1% gain. Not to be outdone, sales of “Detacheds” in “The 905” area surrounding T.O. were up 20.1% to 2,926 averaging $952,574, up 4.2%. No doubt the combination of supply and affordability have more folks looking outside The Big Smoke for dwellings these days...not that homes in the balance of The GTA are “cheap” by any stretch...but cheaper...and not subject to the 2x Land Transfer Tax, either.

On the Condo Apartment front, Toronto saw 1,575 MLS® sales, up 4.4%, averaging $662,631, up a healthy 9.6%. In the rest of the GTA, 644 sales were reported, up 6.6%, averaging $506,846, up an even ten percent.

The overall Composite Benchmark, or “MLS® Home Price Index”, saw it’s strongest annual rate of growth in nearly two years at +5.8% [YoY].

It should also be noted that October’s performance was relatively strong on a month-over-month basis as well: September’s sales totalled 7,825 [versus October’s 8,491]. With the exception of the Detached group, average sale prices were higher in Toronto compared to the prior month. Sale prices in The 905 were little changed compared to September.

The "Toronto & GTA Home Sales Volume by Price & Type" chart for October is included at the very bottom of this post, below the links, if you're interested.

And, finally, this from TREB’s Chief Market Analyst, Jason Mercer: “As market conditions in the GTA have steadily tightened throughout 2019, we have seen an acceleration in the annual rate of price growth. While the current pace of price growth remains moderate, we will likely see stronger price growth moving forward if sales growth continues to outpace listings growth, leading to more competition between home buyers.”

No doubt we’ll see how that “if” plays out… Thanks, as always, for stopping by. Please use the links below if we can help with your real estate moves or general questions in any way...

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Chart - 2019-10 Toronto & GTA Home Sales Volume by Price & Type