TORONTO REAL ESTATE MARKET – APRIL 2021 REPORT

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It was another strong month for Greater Toronto Area real estate with prices still climbing.

Home prices in Greater Toronto are rising incredibly fast, but in this environment, it isn’t even close to the top gainer. The benchmark home in the region increased to $1,025,200 in April, up 1.75% ($17,600) from the month before. Compared to a year before, prices are 17.83% ($155,100) higher. Even with those incredibly large numbers, the monthly dollar gain ranked 23rd, and the annual 21st.

Canadian Real Estate Mania Pushes Home Prices Up To $43,000 Higher In A Month – Kaitlin Last – Better Dwelling – 17 May 2021 (https://betterdwelling.com/canadian-real-estate-mania-pushes-home-prices-up-to-43000-higher-in-a-month/)

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, April brought 13,663 sales through MLS which was actually a 12.7% decrease from March 2021, but quadruple the sales for the same period one year ago, April 2020, which was admittedly during the worst of the pandemic. However, when compared to the 10,000 average number of sales from April 2010 to April 2019, 2021 was still up a whopping 36.6%! The same was also true of new MLS listings which were triple those of April 2020 and up by 18.3% for the average from April 2010 to April 2019, but down 8.4% over March 2021.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was also up by 17.8% compared to last year, but monthly growth decelerated. The average selling price of all kinds/styles/types of real estate in the GTA came in at $1,090,992 — which again was up by 33% over April 2020, but more or less flat compared to the previous month at $1,097,565. This was atypical of previous years which usually exhibited selling price increases between March and April.

Some analysts and real estate followers were not surprised by the shift in April’s numbers over the previous March. It has been described by some as a case of Buyer Burnout or Buyer Fatigue due to the torrid pace of price escalation and relentless bidding wars that have plagued the Toronto real estate market virtually non-stop since June 2020. That coupled with the diminishing number of new or quality listings, has led many buyers to become frustrated, despondent or out rightly fed-up with some even declaiming their intention to rent and not buy!

A recent economics report from Scotiabank speaks to the lack of listings and that being the fundamental cause of our escalating real estate prices. (Of course, that has been helped along by the Bank of Canada’s super-low overnight lending rate and their & CMCH quantative easing & bulk loan buying programs.) In this report, the author speculates that Canada is extraordinarily behind when it comes to building new housing as compared to our escalating population and when compared with our countries in the G7.

To put our number in perspective, it would take an additional 1.8 million homes in Canada to achieve this level of supply of housing relative to population. Simply catching up to the UK, which has 433 units per thousand citizens, would require roughly an additional 250 thousand homes in Canada. Catching up to the US, we would require another 99 thousand units. To put these gaps in perspective, we have averaged 188 thousand home completions in the last 10 years.

Estimating the Structural Housing Shortage in Canada: Are We 100 Thousand or Nearly 2 Million Units Short?  
May 12, 2021 · Jean-François Perrault (https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/about/economics/economics-publications/post.other-publications.housing.housing-note.housing-note–may-12-2021-.html)

DETACHED HOUSE SALES COMPARISON – MARCH 2021 vs APRIL 2021:

MARCH 2021:

  • # of Detached houses sold in 416 = 1,450
  • # of Detached houses sold in 905 = 6,127
  • Avg Sold Price of a Detached house in 416 = $1,750,518
  • Avg Sold Price of a Detached house in 905 = $1,320,570

APRIL 2021:

  • # of Detached houses sold in 416 = 1,322
  • # of Detached houses sold in 905 = 5,194
  • Avg Sold Price of a Detached house in 416 = $1,699,756
  • Avg Sold Price of a Detached house in 905 = $1,308,185

But for this is temporary lul in real estate price and sales escalation, most observers of both Canadian and Toronto-specific real estate don’t see much changing in the near future. With the Bank of Canada still unprepared to pull the plug on its support of the Canadian economy through cheap interest rates and the continued lack of listings – quality or otherwise – then prices will most likely continue to increase for at least the short term.

And, with the economy poised to take off even faster once covid-19 restrictions start to be removed permanently, without a sudden influx of new quality listings to flood the market, then the biggest issue on the horizon is increasing inflation – not only in terms of real estate prices but across the board. With the Bank of Canada’s inflationary basket of goods surpassing its 2% threshold in the last month, something urgent is going to have to be done and now.

Last week, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said he didn’t think a high reading in April would require immediate action by the central bank. “Large parts of our economy remain very weak,” he told reporters following a speech to university students in Atlantic Canada last week. “There are far too many Canadians unemployed, and that is putting downward pressure on inflation. So, yes, we expect it to go up to around three (per cent) and then diminish thereafter.”

Annual inflation rate in April rises to highest in nearly a decade – Jordan Press – CTV/Canadian Press – Wednesday, May 19, 2021 (https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/annual-inflation-rate-in-april-rises-to-highest-in-nearly-a-decade-1.5434225)