GTA Real Estate Market Report July, 2015

New Record for July Home Sales

Greater Toronto Realtors reported 9,880 residential sales through the Toronto MLS system in July 2015. The number of transactions in July represented an 8.0% increase compared to 9,152 transactions reported in July 2014. The number of transactions were up for all major home types including a double-digit year-over-year increase in condominium apartment sales.

The number of new listings reported in July were down by 2.5% compared to the same period in 2014. Active listings were 16,673 in July-down 14.7.% from July 2014.

“As we move towards a new record for home sales this year, it is important to point out that home ownership demand has been driven not only by low borrowing costs, but also by the fact that the GTA economy has been performing quite well, with the unemployment rate lower compared to last year. Home buyers remain confident in the long-term benefits of owning a home,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President  Mr. McClean.

The average price in July was up by 10.6% from the same time last year to $609,236. Detached homes in the GTA continued to lead the way in terms of price increases at 13.2% compared to the same time last year.

“With the level of inventory in the GTA trending below two months, many listings continued to generate a lot of interest from buyers. Not surprisingly, this supported further price increases well-above the rate of inflation. Assuming similar interest rates and economic environments over the next five months, strong price growth will remain the norm for the rest of 2015” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analyses.

Sales of Toronto (416 area code) condominium apartments increased by 13.7% in July, 2015. The average selling price of a Toronto condo increased by 4.0% from the same time last year to $394,504.

Condominium apartments accounted for 24.6% of total sales in the GTA for July 2015 while detached homes accounted for 47.8% of the total sales.

Other notable statistics include the average days on the market for July at 22 days, down 8.3%. The sales-to-listings ratio for June was 59.3% which is classified as a seller’s market. A ratio from 24%-28% is considered a balanced market.

Sellers are looking for market value for their property. I prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for all of my Buyer clients prior to submitting an offer to determine the property’s market value range

Real estate is very neighbourhood specific, building specific  and even very street specific in some areas. The numbers as reported above are GTA averages. Results in one neighbourhood , on one street or in one building do not indicate that all other neighbourhoods, streets or buildings are experiencing the same results. We are still seeing multiple offers in some areas for the best homes and condos.

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Elevated Level of Professionalism

” Maxine and I wanted to thank you sincerely for all the work you did for us and how simple you made this process. We are truly excited to be in our new home soon and couldn’t be happier with the service we received.

Working in a customer service environment, I can truly appreciate when someone provides an elevated level of professionalism and service. Your industry knowledge consistently reassured us that we were headed in the right direction and for that, we are very grateful.

Thanks again David for everything.”

– Nigel & Maxine.

Water Quality In Your Home

Great article in .

Community water systems are required to test and monitor drinking water supplies to ensure safe and good-tasting water. But what happens once the water has been piped to towns, neighborhoods, and homes? Older homes may still have service lines made of lead going into the home, which can result in unacceptable levels of lead leaching into the water. The local water supply system should be able to confirm the presence of lead service lines for homeowners. Older fixtures that contain lead, or lead that was used to solder pipe joints, can also cause elevated lead levels. Whenever possible, pipes and fixtures containing lead should be replaced with new materials.

Homes built before the 1960s often have galvanized steel pipes. While galvanized pipes do not create chemical contaminants on their own, they are susceptible to severe corrosion which can flake off and clog taps and faucets. In some instances lead can build up inside galvanized pipes, especially if the service line into the home is or was made of lead. To be on the safe side, it is best to have all galvanized piping replaced.

Another possible water quality concern is what are known as emerging contaminants, which, if present in a home, usually occur in very low level amounts. These fall into two general categories: health effects and aesthetic effects. Emerging contaminants affecting health include detergents, pesticides, and medications. Other contaminants that don’t affect health may adversely alter water taste, odor, and/or color. Homeowners can have their water tested, or do it themselves with readily available water-testing kits, in order to detect any such contaminants. Home filtration systems are the most common means of reducing emerging contaminants. Options include faucet or pitcher filters, plumbed, or reverse-osmosis filters that treat the entire home’s water supply. Any filtration system considered should be listed as meeting national standards for reducing multiple contaminants.

Well Water Quality

While most people in North America get their water from community water systems, there are still millions who rely on well water at home. Water from a well should be tested on a regular basis. If well water coming from the tap tests high for lead, it could be that the water in the well is too acidic, which causes lead to leach from pipes and fixtures. An acid neutralizing system can usually alleviate this problem without the need to replace pipes and fixtures. Other possible well water quality problems can be avoided by making sure wells are located away from septic tanks, livestock, and pooling water

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Comparing Canada’s Housing Market With the High Rates of 1981

Great article in

If George Orwell had written a dystopian novel about Canada’s housing market, it might have been called 1981.

That was the year mortgage rates reached levels that now seem like a plot of some oppressive force designed to terrify the population into submission. For several months, both one- and five-year fixed-rate mortgages were in the high teens and even, for a while, above 20 per cent.

The point of this heritage moment in personal finance is to provide some context for the cost of carrying a mortgage in today’s housing market. It was much worse back then if you use inflation-adjusted data. That simply means making 1981 dollars directly comparable to 2015 dollars, an easy trick using the Bank of Canada’s online inflation calculator.

No gloating about your greater suffering, baby boomers. You got hammered in the short term, but made out brilliantly in the housing market over subsequent decades. Today’s young buyers may just be looking at a short-term benefit in the form of low interest rates and longer-term obstacles posed by rising rates and the dampening effect they’ll have on prices.

Expressed in 2015 dollars, the national average price of a resale home back in 1981 was $198,094. If you took out a one-year mortgage back then at mid-year (that would have been the smart thing to do with interest rates so high), your rate would have been 19.75 per cent. With a down payment of 10 per cent, your monthly payments would have been $2,914.

Today’s equivalent would be $1,880 per month. That’s based on the average national price of $450,886 in May and a five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate of 2.59 per cent (with mortgage rates at rock-bottom levels, a five-year mortgage term makes more sense right now). The lesson here for home buyers is clear: Changes in interest rates have much more of an impact on affordability than changes in price.

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Condo Sales and Price Up in Q2 2015

Greater Toronto Realtors reported 7,656 condo apartment sales through the MLS in the 2nd quarter of  2015. The number of transactions represented a 17.0% increase compared to 6,541 transactions reported in Q2 2014.

In the City of Toronto, which accounted for 70% of condo apartment sales in the GTA, sales were up by 15.9%. The average selling price in Toronto was $416,728 up 6.1% from Q2 2014.

The number of new listings in the GTA reported in Q2 was up by 7.3% compared to the same period in 2014.

“Much of the new condominium apartment inventory that has been brought to bear on the market in the recent past has been absorbed. In fact, market conditions have tightened with months of inventory trending lower. This suggests that recent condominium apartment completions , while strong from a historic perspective, simply helped satisfy a growing demand for this housing type. Absorption rates and price growth statistics point to a healthy market ,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Mark McClean.

The average selling price grew in Q2 up by 5.8% from the same time last year to $388,066.

“Condominium apartment prices have been appreciating at a moderate pace on average, over the past year, especially when compared to low-rise home types like detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. However, it is possible that we could see an acceleration in condo price growth in the second half of this year, as growth in sales remains strong relative to growth in listings,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Other notable statistics include the average days on the market for Q2 at 28 days. Active listings were 7,189 in Q2-down 1.3% from Q2 2014.

Sellers are looking for market value for their property. I prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for all of my Buyer clients prior to submitting an offer to determine the property’s market value range.

Real estate is very building  specific. The numbers as reported above are averages. Results in one building do not indicate that all other buildings  are experiencing the same results.

There was an increase in the number of condo apartment downtown core rental transactions in Q2 along with the number of units listed for rent.

Many renter households continued to look toward investor-owned condominium apartments to meet their housing needs.

Average rents for popular one-bedroom and two-bedroom units were up slightly on a year-over-year basis.

The condo apartment vacancy rate for Toronto was 1.3% which is very low.

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