Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

AVERAGE GTA CONDO RENTS UP 12% TO NEARLY $2,000 RENTAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS CONTINUE TO SURGE

Jan 19, 2017

TORONTO – January 16, 2017:  Urbanation Inc., the leading source of information and analysis on the Toronto condominium market since 1981, released its year-end 2016 rental results today.

 

Highlights

 

The number of condo apartments leased through the MLS system during 2016 in the Greater Toronto Area declined by 2% to 26,602 units, the first annual decline recorded by Urbanation since tracking began in 2011. Rental activity slowed last year on account of occupancy delays for condos under construction, less rental turnover of the existing stock, and an increase in resale activity. Meanwhile, applications for new purpose-built rental development reached 27,812 units, an increase of 7,586 units in the past three months.

 

Despite a 34% year-over-year surge in final closings for newly completed condos in Q4-2016, total rental listings fell by 8%, pulling down lease volumes by 4% annually during the quarter. With resale prices for condos up 15% over the same period, more owners have become enticed to sell their units as opposed to holding onto them as rentals. At the same time, existing tenants have become less willing to move due to the high cost of renting in the open market. The share of the total inventory of condos that was leased last year declined to 8.5% from 9.3% in 2015, while the share of total units resold jumped from 7.1% to 8.1%.

 

Average condo apartment rents shot up by 11.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, the highest level of growth ever recorded by Urbanation and a dramatic acceleration from the 4.2% rate recorded one year ago. Part of the increased rate of growth was caused by a shift in lease activity to the former City of Toronto and relatively high rents achieved within newly completed buildings. Nonetheless, same sample rents grew by a significant rate of 7.3%, as the average days on market dropped to 13 — down a full week from Q4-15.

 

“The undersupply of rentals in the GTA continued to worsen throughout the year, causing rents to surge alongside home prices and further deteriorating housing affordability across the region” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s Senior Vice President. “While less pressure on rent growth may arrive in 2017 due to a temporary rise in new apartment completions, it’s become clear that more attention needs to be paid to building rentals over the longer-term” added Hildebrand. 

 

Condo Rental Market 

 

Average rents reached a record $2.77 psf in Q4-2016 based on an average unit size leased of 719 sf, equaling an average monthly cost of $1,990. Former City of Toronto rents averaged $2,134 ($3.13 psf), while the Toronto suburbs of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough averaged $1,857 ($2.47 psf) and the 905 region averaged $1,739 ($2.22 psf). Rents were up the most in the former City of Toronto at 12%, compared to 7% in the Toronto suburbs and 6% in the 905 region.

 

Purpose-built Rental Survey

 

Urbanation’s survey of purpose-built rental apartment projects completed across the GTA since 2005 (49 buildings totaling 8,484 units) reported a vacancy rate of 0.6%, down from 1.0% last year. The availability rate (units that are vacant plus those where the tenant has given notice) was 1.6%, the lowest level surveyed by Urbanation over the past two years. Rents across the sample averaged $2.49 psf, up 5% annually. The inventory of purpose-built projects under construction totaled 22 buildings and 5,133 units in Q4-2016, down by 183 units from the previous quarter and down 1,037 units from a year ago. The total inventory of proposed purpose-built rentals increased to 27,812 units, nearly three times the number tallied a year ago (10,513).

 

 

 

                    

    

 

ABOUT URBANATION

 

Urbanation is a real estate consulting firm that has been providing market research, in-depth market analysis and consulting services to the condominium industry since 1981. Urbanation uses a multi-disciplinary approach that combines empirical research techniques with first-hand observations and site visits.  On a quarterly basis, Urbanation tracks the new, resale, rental and proposed condominium apartment markets in the Greater Toronto Area. Urbanation also actively conducts site specific market feasibility studies across the country for both condominium and purpose-built rental apartment projects.

 

FOREIGN BUYERS REPRESENT 5% OF NEW CONDO SALES IN GTA Domestic Investor Share at 52%

Nov 2, 2016

  • TORONTO October 27, 2016: Urbanation Inc., the leading source of information and analysis on
    theToronto condominium market since 1981, released the results off ts first ever survey of new
    condominium foreign purchasers and investors today.
     
    In response to the increasing need for more clarity regarding the role of foreign purchasers in the
    GreaterToronto Area housing market, Urbanation expanded its survey of sales activity in new
    condominium apartment projects to include the share of units sold to non-resident buyers as well as
    domestic investors.
     
    Urbanations survey, which is completed by developers or brokerages representing new
    condominium apartment projects, found that foreign purchasers represented 5% of all sales that
    have occurred within projects currently in active development across the Greater Toronto Area.
    Furthermore, domestic investors represented 52% of sales.
     
    Among projects indicating a presence of foreign buyers, shares of units sold to foreign purchasers
    ranged between 1% and 25%. Shares of sales to domestic investors ranged between 5% and 90%.
    The highest shares of sales to foreign purchasers and domestic investors were generally found
    within centrally-located projects in the Downtown Toronto area.
     
    The results of this very important survey show a rather limited role of foreign buyers in the GTA new
    condo market and a very significant overall share of investors. These estimates coincide with the
    percentages of new condos entering the rental market upon completion, indicating the important role
    investors play in the GTA housing market said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanations Senior Vice
    President.
     
     
     
    Definition
     
    Urbanations estimates were based on a weighted response rate representing 25% of all new
    condominiumapartments sold within projects in development as of Q3-2016. The responses were
    consistent with the distribution of projects across the Greater Toronto Area.
     
    Foreign buyers are defined as purchasers whose primary residence is outside of Canada. Domestic
    investors are defined as purchasers whose primary residence is located in Canada and who do not
    intend on self-occupying their unit(s).
     
     
     
     

NEW CONDO SALES HIT NEW HIGHS Available Supply Drops to Decade Low

Nov 2, 2016

  • TORONTO October 27, 2016: Urbanation Inc., the leading source of information and analysis on
    the Toronto condominium market since 1981, released its Q3-2016 market results today.
     
    A totalof 6,677 new condominium apartments were sold across the Greater Toronto Area in Q3-
    2016, soaring 73% year-over-year to reach thehighest level of third quarter activity on record. Sales
    were 58% higher than the 10-year average for Q3 periods and 12% higher than the previous high
    set in Q3-2007. Total unsold inventory in development plunged by 33% from a year ago to 11,485
    the lowest level since the first quarter of 2007 and representing a record low 5.2 months of supply.
     
    The average index selling price for new condo apartments continued to edge higher, rising 2% from
    a year ago to $590 psf. GTA-level price growth has been weighed down by a shift in new
    development activity to areas outside of the core. Within the former City of Toronto, average index
    selling prices grew by 5% year-over-year to $674psf, while asking prices for unsold units, which
    dropped in number by 48% annually to an all-time low, increased by 12% from a year ago to $759
    psf. Price trends for new condos are beginning to follow the resale market,where average index
    prices grew 12% from last year to $511 psf ($667 psf within the former City of Toronto).
     
    The pace of new condo development has fallen well below the level of demand this year. Given the
    low prevailing amount of available supply and diverse range of buyers, the recent mortgage
    insurance rule changes are anticipated to have a somewhat limited effect on market conditions for
    condos in the near term said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanations Senior Vice President.
     
    Lack of Supply and Shift in Demand
     
    In the year-to-date to September, a total of 19,917 new condominium apartments were sold across
    the GTA. Over the same period, only 12,189 newunits opened for pre-sales, marking the widest
    divergence betweensales and new supply on record.In total, 90% of the 111,207 units in
    development were pre-sold as of Q3-2016, with 80% of the 30,426 units inpre-construction already
    pre-sold, jumping from a 64% share last year. Among the new units that opened for pre-sales during
    the third quarter, 63% were sold by the end of September one of the highest opening quarter
    absorption rates on record.
     
    In a sign that demand among end-user buyers has been increasing in the new condo apartment, the
    quarterly absorption rate of remaining supply within existing projects launched in previous quarters
    (where owner-occupant purchasers tend to be more active) soared to a record high of29%
    double its 10-year average of 14%. Furthermore, sales of more expensive condo nits have also
    been growing quickly in the resale market, with year-to-date activityup 62% annually among units
    selling for more than $600,000.
     
  •  

Greater Toronto Area Experiences Double-digit Growth in the Third Quarter of 2016

Oct 13, 2016

TORONTO, October 13, 2016 – The Royal LePage House Price Survey1 released today showed double-digit growth in the prices of homes across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In the third quarter of 2016, the aggregate2 price of a home rose 13.6 per cent to $693,154 year- over-year.

When broken down by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home and bungalow in the GTA climbed 14.8 per cent and 16.0 per cent year-over-year in the third quarter to $812,990 and $688,813, respectively. Condominiums within the region also witnessed a healthy increase, rising 5.0 per cent to $381,963 during the same period.

The strongest growth during the quarter was found in regions outside of the downtown core, with all but Brampton, Milton, and Mississauga outpacing home price appreciation in Toronto.

“Many homebuyers have continued to look towards the suburban areas of the Greater Toronto Area for affordable housing, as ongoing house price appreciation, chronically constrained inventory and an unprecedented level of demand has priced many purchasers out of the region’s innermost markets,” said Gino Romanese, senior vice president, Royal LePage. “For those focusing their home search within the core, this low inventory, high demand environment has increased instances of multiple offer situations, and caused prices to skyrocket further.”

Recently, the continued outflow of migration from the city centre has spurred a noticeable shift in demographics within many of the GTA’s suburban areas. Regions that once were industrial hubs have begun to gentrify as they transform into commuter cities, housing many young professionals looking for more affordable housing. As a result, house prices in these areas are also climbing. Oshawa, as an example, experienced the largest aggregate price gain of any region across the GTA in the third quarter, climbing 26.0 per cent year-over-year, while ten out of the eleven other suburban areas surrounding the city experienced double-digit price growth as well.

Seller confidence is at an all-time high in the York Region, with Richmond Hill once again experiencing one of the strongest gains in appreciation east of British Columbia. During the third quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the area surged by 25.7 per cent year-over-year to $1,074,829 due to the region’s limited inventory and continued interest from foreign buyers. Homes in Vaughan have also appreciated significantly over the same period, increasing by 13.5 per cent year-over-year to $846,481.

Domestic and international interest continued to drive prices higher in Markham, with many vying for the limited supply of inventory available within the market. Aggressive bids stemming from multiple offers influenced the significant jump in aggregate house price, up 15.2 per cent year-over-year to $870,353 in the third quarter.

Brampton saw its aggregate house price climb in the third quarter by 12.0 per cent year-over- year to $569,510, as many homebuyers continued to flock to the market, confident that prices will continue to rise into 2017. The region’s affordability, stability and close proximity to the city’s core made it an attractive option, placing further strain on inventory and causing numerous bidding wars as buyers continued to attempt to break into the market before it was too late.

Home prices in Mississauga continued to rise in the third quarter, climbing 9.6 per cent year- over-year to an aggregate price of $609,266. The region’s close proximity to Toronto coupled with its relative affordability has led to a heated market where many properties sell within a week of being listed. As a result, prices and home sales continue to climb as inventory diminishes.

Milton to the west, saw home prices appreciate by a healthy margin in the third quarter, rising 10.5 per cent to $613,759 when compared to the same quarter last year. In the past three months, inventory within the region has not been able to keep up with the considerable demand stemming from young families looking to the region for reasonably priced properties. Milton’s inventory shortage has been further exacerbated by a notable shift in the buying process where homeowners are electing to search for properties prior to listing their own as they are confident that their homes will sell quickly.

Low inventory levels across Oakville continued to drive prices higher throughout the third quarter, resulting in a significant year-over-year aggregate price increase of 15.4 per cent to $894,696. While foreign buyers represent a small, albeit growing, segment of the market, they have had a significant impact on prices, aggressively bidding for properties during multiple offer presentations and setting higher benchmark levels for subsequent transactions in the region.

Buyers continued to flock to the Durham Region in the third quarter of 2016 in search of affordable housing and stellar returns on their investment. Whitby and Oshawa saw some of the GTA’s strongest house price appreciation, with the aggregate house price surging 21.5 per cent and 26.0 per cent year-over-year to $590,921 and $453,975, respectively. Pickering and Ajax also experienced a noteworthy uptick in aggregate house prices, increasing by 18.2 per cent and


 

Lytton Park neighbourhood real estate update 2016

Aug 10, 2016

There have been forty-five MLS sales in Lytton Park approaching the end of the third quarter of 2016. Demand continues to heavily outweigh supply leading to numerous bidding wars with houses averaging just eight days on the market. The days on market stat is a little skewed as many listings hold back offers for approximately one week so essentially these homes are selling on the day that offers are being presented. The average list to sale price ratio is 98% which is quite high given just two sales were below the one million dollar mark with the rest exceeding the one million dollar mark.

Lytton Park is centrally located just 20 minutes to downtown Toronto. This neighbourhood is known for its excellent public and private schools and an abundance of parkland and recreational facilities nearby. Shopping districts on Yonge Street, Avenue Road and Eglinton Avenue West are all accessible on foot as is the Yonge Street subway making this neighbourhood a strong draw with walk score enthusiasts. Lytton Park's traditional housing stock consists of a mix of Georgian, Tudor, Craftsman, and Colonial style homes. Recently some of the new builds are choosing a contemporary design. The lots are typically 40-50 feet wide and the streets are well treed creating a quiet and pretty streetscape.

The median sale price in Lytton Park is $1,795,000. That average is somewhat surpressed by a fair number of sales along Lytton Park's busier arterial streets such as Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue. Fifteen sales surpassed the two million dollar mark. Many of these were original Lytton Park houses that have had renovations and additions. Last year the new builds in Lytton Park were having trouble breaking the three million dollar mark. This year four new home sales have already exceeded that milestone with one sale over five million. Look for prices to keep trending upwards in Lytton Park through the last quarter of 2016 and into  2017. 

* If you are thinking of buying a home in Lytton Park in 2016 contact David Dunkelman, Broker, Royal Lepage Signature. I have helped many families find the perfect home in this neighbourhood. Email: ddunkelman@trebnet.com or call Direct 416-726-6574

Lytton Park Toronto neighbourhood real estate insights provided by David Dunkelman, Broker, Royal Lepage Signature Realty Brokerage. You can contact David at Office: (416) 443-0300, Cell: (416) 726-6574, email: ddunkelman@trebnet.com or visit the website www.realestatewithdavid.com

(C) www.TorontoNeighbourhoodGuide.com

** The information provided herein is compiled from source data obtained from the Toronto Real Estate Board. It is presented here for information purpose only. All data are subject to updates and revisions. The author assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information shown.

 

NEW CONDO SUPPLY DROPS TO 6 YEAR LOW Sales Jump 26% while Unsold Inventory Falls by 26%

Aug 5, 2016

TORONTO – August 5, 2016:  Urbanation Inc., the leading source of information and analysis on the Toronto condominium market since 1981, released its Q2-2016 market results today.

 

A total of 7,731 new condominium apartments were sold across the Greater Toronto Area during the second quarter of 2016, rising 26% year-over-year to reach the second highest level of quarterly activity on record behind Q2-2011 (8,548). Sales would have been even higher if supply kept pace with demand, as new project launches fell 9% from a year ago to 5,106 units. As a result, total unsold inventory in development plunged by 26% annually to 13,528 — the lowest level since 2010 and representing a decade-low 6.8 months of supply.

 

The average index selling price for new condo apartments continued to grow at a slow pace, rising 2% from a year ago to $582 psf. Price growth was stronger in the core where supply has become more strained, with sold index prices up 4% annually ($662 psf) and unsold prices rising 7% to $724 psf in the former City of Toronto. In the resale market, condo apartment prices grew 10% year-over-year to $498 psf.

 

“With demand for condos in the GTA pressing forward strongly, new projects are being challenged to enter the market in greater volume. Should current conditions persist, price pressures for high-rise units can be expected to build, particularly as low-rise housing remains afflicted by record-low supply” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s Senior Vice President.

 

Demand Shifts to Larger Units

Urbanation examined the distribution of sales by unit type among the top 20 selling new condo apartment projects, which represented approximately half of all sales in the second quarter. The share of two- and three-bedroom sales increased to 44% in Q2-2016, up from a 35% share of sales held for these larger unit types among the top 20 selling projects a year ago in Q2-2015, and a 27% share five years ago during the market high in Q2-2011. While the share of three bedroom sales remained relatively minimal at 3%, the share of two bedroom without den sales increased to 29% (compared to 18% in Q2-2011), which occurred as the share of one bedroom plus den sales fell to 28% (from 39% in Q2-2011) and one bedroom without den sales declined to 25% (from 30% in five years ago).

 

Apartment Site Acquisitions Rise

In a sign that more supply is heading into the market in the future, Urbanation’s tracking of commercial property transactions revealed that apartment development site sales in the GTA reached 73 transactions during the first half of 2016, up from 47 acquisitions during the first half of 2015. The total value of apartment site sales increased by 13% annually in the first half to $971 million. More than 90% of the total value of sales was located in the City of Toronto ($904 million) and three quarters in the former City of Toronto ($730 million

 

 

 

 

ABOUT URBANATION

 

Urbanation is a real estate consulting firm that has been providing market research, in-depth market analysis and consulting services to the condominium industry since 1981. Urbanation uses a multi-disciplinary approach that combines empirical research techniques with first-hand observations and site visits.  On a quarterly basis, Urbanation tracks the new, resale, rental and proposed condominium apartment markets in the Greater Toronto Area. Urbanation also actively conducts site specific market feasibility studies across the country for both condominium and purpose-built rental apartment projects.

 

www.urbanation.ca

www.twitter.com/urbanation

Toronto Market Stays Hot This Summer

Jul 27, 2016

Market Statistics

Weekly Sales Report - July 22, 2016 

 

REGION
AREA SALES
AVERAGE PRICE
  Halton
 193
 $821,230
  Peel
 522
 $608,800
  Toronto
 894
 $700,319
  York
 472
 $983,684
  Durham
 322
 $545,965
  Dufferin
 18
 $449,578
  Simcoe
 69
 $538,091
  Total
 2,490
 $717,950

NOTE: Please note these are preliminary figures. Minor adjustments may be required at month's end. Courtesy: Toronto Real Estate Board

Cooling of Canada’s Hottest Real Estate Markets Delayed Again

Jul 13, 2016

                                                                                            

Canada's residential real estate market posts strongest growth in five years in the second quarter of 2016

Central bankers expected to keep interest rates lower for longer in light of Brexit and global uncertainty

TORONTO, July 13, 2016 – Canada’s residential real estate market continued to show strong appreciation in the second quarter of 2016, posting the highest national year-over-year gain seen in five years, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey[1] and Market Survey Forecast released today.  Amid continued world economic uncertainty, the historically low interest rate environment that has fueled Canada’s real estate market growth in recent years – most notably in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – is expected to continue longer than anticipated.  This extended period of low-cost borrowing will in turn further delay the cyclical cooling of Canada’s hottest real estate markets, originally forecasted for the second half of 2016.

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets, shows that the price[2]of a home in Canada increased 9.2 per cent year-over-year to $520,223 in the second quarter of 2016.  During the same period, the price of a two-storey home rose 10.7 per cent year-over-year to $619,671, the price of a bungalow increased 7.9 per cent to $437,121, and the price of a condominium increased 4.2 per cent to $348,189.  Looking ahead to the remainder of 2016, Royal LePage forecasts that the aggregate price of a home in Canada will increase 12.4 per cent when compared to year end 2015.

“Our forecasting models, which pointed to a slowing housing market as the year progressed, included a modest increase in the cost of borrowing,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “Economic and social disruptions have rocked the world once again, introducing new risks and making it very likely that the Bank of Canada will leave interest rates as-is for now. Few industries are as rate sensitive as real estate. We don’t  see even a mild correction for either the Toronto or pistol-hot Vancouver markets in 2016.”

“Our call for 12.4 per cent national price appreciation in the final quarter of this calendar year as compared to the final quarter of last year, is a landmark in Canada.  I believe it is the highest value put forward by any serious forecasting agency since the turn of the century,” added Soper.

On June 23, 2016, Britons voted to leave the European Union, surprising financial markets worldwide.  The British currency plummeted and the value of equities around the world swung wildly. Adding to economic uncertainty is an uncharted road ahead for decoupling the U.K. from the E.U., a process which some have predicted could take two years. This added dimension of uncertainty will encourage central bankers in Canada and abroad to keep rates lower for longer.

“Some have suggested that Britain’s exit from the E.U. will drive more foreign money into the relative safety of Canada’s real estate markets,” said Soper.  “We anticipate the impact, if any, will be seen in the commercial property sector and not in housing markets. Beyond Europe, our research does point to increasing Vancouver and Toronto region foreign buyer[3] activity in residential markets this quarter. Canada remains a favoured nation for the world’s real estate investors.”

According to a survey[4] of Royal LePage real estate advisors working within these regions, 71 and 74 per cent said that year-over-year home purchases by international buyers have increased in the second quarter in the GTA and Greater Vancouver, respectively. Still, 35 and 37 per cent of respondents believe that foreign ownership accounts for less than 10 per cent of the GTA and Greater Vancouver housing markets, respectively.

“At Royal LePage, we see residential real estate as a long-term investment supporting family life. A home is ill-suited as a buy-and-flip investment.  People that engage in this kind of activity are inevitably burned when a market slows and the time it takes to sell the property increases substantially. We applaud the efforts of all levels of government to better understand Canada’s housing market, through a coordinated effort to gather and analyze real estate data. Still, we remain convinced that heavy-handed use of tax policy in an effort to artificially influence asset values in an open-market economy like ours is fraught with peril, particularly in a cyclical industry like housing,” concluded Soper.

Provincial and City Summaries & Trends

Since the 2014 collapse of oil prices and the subsequent drop in the value of the Canadian dollar, the nation’s economy has been dominated by growth in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec – the four provinces most tied to the finished goods and services export sector, and by extension, to the health of the U.S. economy. The negative impact of the downturn in the resource sector, in contrast, remains concentrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.  Across the country, provincial economic trends can be seen influencing residential real estate market performance in most cities.

British Columbia’s economy has outperformed the balance of the country for two years running and is expected to continue doing so into 2017. This economic strength is echoed in the province’s housing market.  In the second quarter, Greater Vancouverposted an aggregate year-over-year home price increase of 24.6 per cent to a median price of $1,098,599.  During the same period, the city of Vancouver posted a year-over-year gain of 27.5 per cent to $1,330,531, while surrounding areas such as West Vancouver and Richmond posted even higher increases of 29.7 per cent and 28.3 per cent to median prices of $3,093,776 and $972,443, respectively.

Manitoba has been cited as one of the provinces that will outpace the national economy in 2016 and 2017[5]. This is attributed mainly to its strength in a diverse set of industries such as agriculture, health sciences, transportation, manufacturing and business services, rounding off the edges of some of the would-be effects of the commodities downturn.  In Winnipeg, the aggregate price of a home increased by a moderate 2.0 per cent in the second quarter to a median price of $285,358, with the detached two-storey home category posting the highest year-over-year price gain of 3.7 per cent to $314,589.

Ontario is expected to be one of the fastest growing provinces in 2016, with employment growth running at twice the national average so far this year. Very strong U.S. employment growth in June should once again stimulate Ontario’s export sector, after a tepid performance in the second quarter, as more American businesses look to Canada for affordable goods and services.  The GTA, the province’s largest market, saw notable year-over-year home price appreciation of 10.2 per cent to a median price of $656,365, while home price appreciation in the city of Toronto remained in-line with recent quarters, rising 8.4 per cent to $680,096.  Surrounding suburbs such as Richmond Hill, Whitby and Oshawa continued to outpace home price appreciation in the core, posting year-over-year aggregate home price gains of 21.3 per cent, 17.1 per cent and 16.7 per cent, to $992,632, $547,304 and $409,452, respectively.  Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital home prices remained steady in the second quarter, with the aggregate price of a home in Ottawa increasing 2.3 per cent to a median price of $401,288.

Strength in exports to the U.S. is expected to continue to support provincial growth in the remainder of the year in Quebec. Last month Fitch Ratings revised its outlook for the province from “negative” to “stable”, citing Quebec’s diverse economy as a key strength.  An increase in full-time jobs and renewed stability and confidence in Quebec’s economy is being reflected in the province’s residential housing sector, particularly in the Montreal region.  In the second quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the Greater Montreal Area increased by a healthy 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $344,620, while the aggregate price of a home in Montreal Centre rose 4.9 per cent to a median price of $416,953. This is indicative of a transition in the region, which is currently seeing a trend toward a seller’s market in the two-storey home segment, and a balanced market for other property types.

The Conference Board of Canada has projected that Alberta’s economy will dip 2.0 per cent this year as a result of the sharp pullback in drilling and capital investment in the energy sector, along with the impact of the Fort McMurray fires. Despite economic setbacks, residential real estate prices in the region have not seen the depreciation many onlookers had expected.  In the second quarter, the aggregate price of a home in Calgarydecreased 1.8 per cent year-over-year to $454,790, while the aggregate home price in Edmonton dipped 1.2 per cent to $377,337.

Like Alberta, Saskatchewan is being hit by weakness in the energy sector, with more than 9,000 residents having dropped out of the workforce altogether. As a result, home prices in the province’s major centres have posted slight declines.  According to the Royal LePage National House Price Composite, the aggregate price of a home in Saskatoon slipped 0.2 per cent year-over-year to $370,125, while the aggregate home price in Regina decreased slightly, falling 1.7 per cent to $323,612.

Atlantic Canada saw mixed results in the second quarter, with Fredericton posting the highest year-over-year aggregate home price appreciation at 3.8 per cent to $235,425, with Moncton close behind, rising 3.0 per cent to $193,154.  Despite a rosier economic prognosis than its Atlantic neighbours, Halifax home prices remained flat year-over-year in the second quarter at $298,753. St. John’s was the only Atlantic city in the Composite to report an aggregate price decline, with the price of a home decreasing 1.5 per cent year-over-year to $336,131 amid a regional economic downturn brought on by the fall in oil prices. Meanwhile, powered by agriculture and tourism, Prince Edward Island’s economy is expected to grow slightly quicker than the national average according to most forecasters, although the residential real estate market has remained relatively flat, with the aggregate home price in Charlottetown rising 0.7 per cent year-over-year to $223,087 in the second quarter.

“Canada is not one homogeneous housing market, but rather a mosaic of many different real estate stories,” stated Soper. “While low interest rates remain the primary driver of Canada’s sustained real estate market expansion, home price trends are increasingly influenced by local factors, from the lift provided by wealthy immigrants to the drag felt by the depressed energy sector,” explained Soper. “The two regions that have provided pleasant surprises have been the oil-impacted regions where home values have been remarkably resilient.  And in Quebec, where the broad-based recovery story continues, with Montreal homes experiencing healthy price increases for another consecutive quarter.”

“Southern Ontario continues to see substantial year-over-year home price appreciation, with robust sales activity and price growth in both Toronto proper and in the region’s other urban centres, with no immediate sign of slowing down,” said Soper. “It is completely fair to describe the price increases we have experienced in the Toronto market as healthy; Vancouver is a different story altogether.  Canada’s most expensive market is distancing itself from the rest of the country at such a rapid rate that housing affordability has become a major public policy issue.”

“The quest for affordability in Vancouver seems to be influencing consumer housing type choices,” continued Soper.  “Alongside skyrocketing prices of single-family homes, we have seen an uptick in the rate of price appreciation for condominiums over 1,000 square feet, when compared to smaller units in this market.  This may indicate that families being priced out of the single-family detached home market in Vancouver are looking upwards to condominiums. In the GTA, this trend has not yet taken hold, suggesting that buyers are still predominantly moving ‘out’ to surrounding regions, versus ‘up’, in search of relatively affordable housing options,” concluded  Soper.

Generation X Driving Increased Demand for Recreational Properties

Jun 23, 2016

Toronto, ON, June 23, 2016 – Generation X buyers of cottages, cabins and chalets across Canada outnumber Baby Boomers by almost two to one, according to the Royal LePage 2016 Canadian Recreational Housing Report released today. Still, planning for retirement living is among the most common reasons potential buyers give for the purchase of a recreational property.  The annual report compiles information from a cross-Canada survey of real estate advisors who specialize in recreational property sales.

The survey found that 65 per cent of advisors polled indicated that potential purchasers were considering their retirement needs in deciding to buy a recreational property, while a significant number of respondents (88 per cent) said that potential purchasers identified desired lifestyle and vacationing as their main purpose. Just under half of respondents (49 per cent) said that clients wanted a recreational property as an investment and a little over a third (37 per cent) indicated that low interest rates were a deciding factor.

The family status of the typical recreational property buyer is a couple with children, according to 76 per cent of survey respondents. When asked about the most prevalent age range of current buyers, 63 per cent of respondents identified Gen Xers (36 to 51 years old), almost double the 33 per cent who identified Baby Boomers (52 to 70 years old).

“We found it interesting that a majority of respondents identified retirement as a driving factor for a recreational property purchase consideration, but Gen Xers, still decades from retirement, were identified as the typical buyer in the current market,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “This cohort, having reached a place of stability, and often owners of primary residences in the country’s city centres, is making recreational property purchases for family enjoyment in the near-term and as a key strategy for retirement.”

“Canada’s extended low interest rate environment has clearly provided buyers with the confidence they need to invest in a cottage or cabin,” added Soper. “In contrast to urban home purchase decisions, buying a property on a lakefront or mountainside is much less about interest rates, and more about enhancing lifestyle. Cash savings trump mortgage financing when it comes to how people are acquiring recreational property.”

 

Foreign purchases – A relatively small proportion of transactions

Almost 95 per cent of respondents stated that foreign buyers[1] were responsible for 10 per cent or less of recreational property transactions. When asked to identify where foreign buyer activity originates from, the most common answer was North America (79 per cent), with the majority (64 per cent) of those who specified a country of origin stating purchasers were Americans.

Respondents were split on factors driving international  interest between the quality of living in Canada (30 per cent), geography (27 per cent) and the low Canadian dollar (27 per cent).

“We Canadians enjoy a wonderful recreational real estate reciprocity with our American cousins. Like flocks of happy geese, we fly south in the winter, and in return, Americans head to the beautiful north country when summer arrives. Canadians have been, for years, the principal foreign buyers of sunbelt property in states like Florida and Arizona, while a lower Canadian dollar has encouraged a new wave of U.S. buyers here,” said Soper.  “Whether recreational property buyers live in Canada or come from abroad, the beauty of this country, from coast-to-coast, is the appeal for families looking to ‘get away’ and enjoy the cottage experience, one that is quintessentially Canadian.”

 

Regional trends – Sales volumes increased year-over-year in majority of Canada’s recreational property markets

While common elements impacting the country’s regional recreational property market can be identified, variability in provincial economies and inter-provincial migration has resulted in disparate local conditions. Depressed oil prices may have dampened the recreational property activity in energy-dependent regions, and caused workers who moved for energy jobs to return to their home provinces. These provinces have seen a general uptick in demand for real estate, as the older, repatriated workers look to spend their savings on leisure properties.

Across the country, roughly two-thirds  (67 per cent) of those polled said they have seen increases in sales over the past 12 months, and over half (53 per cent) expect sales activity in 2016 to exceed 2015 levels.

British Columbia saw year-over-year[2] price appreciation, and Royal LePage expects sales activity to increase throughout the remainder of the year. Advisors cited demand from retirees as a major factor driving the market.

In Alberta,  sentiments were somewhat mixed, with advisors generally expecting continued softness in both price and sales activity in the coming year.

In neighbouring Saskatchewan, recreational property prices were up slightly compared to last year, with inventory and demand levels remaining stable.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, the recreational property market is recording slight softness, with inventory levels outpacing demand.

In Ontario slight increases over last year were reported in both price and sales volumes  across the recreational property communities studied, with inventory levels slightly down in most markets.  Looking ahead, Ontario’s recreational property markets are expected to be active for the remainder of 2016.

Similarly in Quebec, most reported that recreational property prices and activity levels have been showing slight increases this year over last, with sales volumes projected to remain healthy for the remainder of the year.

Atlantic Canada recorded that regional market conditions were mixed. Advisors in Nova Scotia reported slight year-over-year price and sales activity increases, while recreational property markets in New Brunswick remained stable on both fronts. In contrast, Newfoundland’s recreational property market reported slight decreases in prices and sales when compared to the same period last year. In light of the negative economic impacts of the oil industry’s downturn, this softness is expected to continue for the remainder of 2016, as buyers and sellers wait on the sidelines amid market uncertainty.