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Real estate market continues rebound from July lows

The Cana­dian Press

Cana­dian home sales vol­ume rose in Octo­ber for the third month in a row as the mar­ket con­tin­ued to rebound from a trough hit in July fol­low­ing months of revved up activ­ity in early 2010 and late 2011.

The Cana­dian Real Estate Asso­ci­a­tion said Mon­day that sea­son­ally adjusted home sales on its Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice climbed 4.6% in Octo­ber, fol­low­ing sim­i­lar increases in August and September.

CREA says October’s gains are a fur­ther sign the mar­ket is return­ing to nor­mal and is bal­anced, which means favour­ing nei­ther buy­ers nor sell­ers. Prices were up slightly from Octo­ber 2009 and from Sep­tem­ber of this year.

Hous­ing mar­ket activ­ity now sits 13.3% above July lev­els, when it reached a low-point for the year.

Still, sales activ­ity was 21.6% below lev­els reported last Octo­ber, when activ­ity set a new record for the month.

National sales activ­ity is now run­ning almost halfway between the highs and lows posted between late 2008 and late 2009,” said Gre­gory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

This sug­gests that the Cana­dian hous­ing mar­ket may be start­ing to nor­mal­ize. After the wild roller­coaster ride that many hous­ing mar­kets have been on, nor­mal and sta­ble mar­ket con­di­tions are some­thing that many buy­ers and sell­ers will likely welcome.”

Many Cana­di­ans had rushed into the hous­ing mar­ket dur­ing the sec­ond half of last year and the begin­ning of this year in advance of new mort­gage reg­u­la­tions in April, an expected increase in inter­est rates and a new sales tax regime that took effect in July in Ontario and B.C.

That had the effect of push­ing ahead sales that may have oth­er­wise taken place in the spring and summer.

National sales activ­ity rebounded last year with­out a sin­gle monthly decline and hit record lev­els in the sec­ond half of 2009,” CREA said in its release.

As a result, large declines in activ­ity com­pared to year-ago lev­els are mask­ing recent monthly gains in national sales activity.”

The num­ber of new list­ings on the MLS edged up 1.3% in Octo­ber, still 14% below the recent peak reached in April 2010.

That the num­ber of new list­ings is nor­mal­iz­ing to lev­els con­sis­tent with the reduc­tion in sales activ­ity has kept the mar­ket bal­anced since the spring.

Price increases are also start­ing to level off as a cooler sales mar­ket becomes the new norm.

The national aver­age price for homes sold this Octo­ber was $343,747, up less than a per­cent­age point com­pared to one year ago. It was the fourth month the aver­age home price was flat when com­pared to a year ago.

How­ever, the aver­age home cost about $12,000 more in Octo­ber than the $331,089 reported in September.

Prices reached a peaked of $346,881 in May.

The sea­son­ally adjusted num­ber of months of inven­tory stood at 6.2 months at the end of Octo­ber, down from 6.5 months in September.

The num­ber of months of inven­tory rep­re­sents the num­ber of months it would take to sell cur­rent inven­to­ries at the cur­rent rate of sales activ­ity, and mea­sures the bal­ance between hous­ing sup­ply and demand.

In Octo­ber, three-quarters of local real estate boards posted monthly sales increases, led by the bustling Toronto and Van­cou­ver markets.

How­ever, record activ­ity lev­els set in the last few months of 2009 indi­cate that it will be dif­fi­cult to meet year-over-year com­par­isons for the rest of 2010.

Mean­while, a sec­ond report released Mon­day from Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Corp. said the level of home con­struc­tion will con­tinue to trend down­wards in the last quar­ter of this year and into 2011.

High employ­ment lev­els and low mort­gage rates will con­tinue to sup­port demand for new homes in 2011. Nev­er­the­less, hous­ing starts will decrease next year to lev­els which are more in-line with long-term demo­graphic fun­da­men­tals,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

Con­struc­tion activ­ity lags the resale home mar­ket by sev­eral months, but tends to fall along with a decrease in demand to avoid an over­sup­ply of new homes on the market.

The fed­eral Crown cor­po­ra­tion said the reduced activ­ity will be more in line with the rate of Canada’s pop­u­la­tion growth than in the past decade when low inter­est rates helped stim­u­late pentup demand for home sales.

It’s cur­rently esti­mat­ing about 186,200 hous­ing starts this year.

CMHC esti­mates that con­struc­tion will begin next year on between 148,000 and 202,300 homes, or about 174,800 units at the midpoint.

As for exist­ing homes, the CMHC expects about 438,400 units will be sold next year through the Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice – about 2,000 fewer than this year.

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Con­tact the Jef­frey Team for more infor­ma­tion  -  416−388−1960

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