Photo: Jim Crocker/Flickr
With yet another strong month of rising home sales in Toronto, could the city be on the verge of breaking a record for residential home sales for 2014? That’s what the Toronto Real Estate Board’s director of market analysis, Jason Mercer, hinted at in their latest report that came out last week.
We went straight to the people on the ground of Toronto’s real estate industry for their thoughts on the year so far. Here’s what they said:
Andrew la Fleur: the city is growing
“The market is very strong. It’s a good year but I don’t think anyone should be surprised that we’re heading for a record year,” said Andrew la Fleur, a realtor with RE/MAX in Toronto. “In a way you can say it’s about time we caught up to 2007.”
That’s because, he says, there are over half a million more people living in the city now than there was the last time residential sales broke a record, seven years ago.
La Fleur said he expects Toronto to keep up growth over the next few years as newcomers continue coming to the city, but he’s not worried about a housing bubble.
“Toronto is the only city that actually has a major movement of the population, a major trend that you can measure, and it’s one that’s going to continue and going to be one of the reasons for Toronto’s success moving forward,” he said.
Josie Stern: buyers are sensible
“Every time [the market] can’t get higher, it gets higher,” said Toronto realtor Josie Stern.
Although demand may be up, people are being sensible in their homebuying, Stern said, and she doesn’t foresee a tsunami of foreclosures coming when the market cools.
“As long as people buy with a decent down payment and they can afford what their monthly payments and the [speculative] ratio are… I don’t think we’re going to experience an earthquake when interests rates go up,” she said.
Stern said she sees a lot of parents helping out their children with first payments as well, which is keeping the market stable.
“I don’t see anything earth shattering happening. I don’t see a catastrophe. I don’t see a 1989.”
Mark Savel: couples are shacking up
“We’re totally on track to break records,” said Mark Savel, a realtor with Sage Real Estate. “Demand is pretty much the strongest we’ve ever seen it.”
Condo sales over the last half a decade were bought out by a lot of single buyers, Savel said, who are now looking to upgrade.
“Now that those single people have started to hook up and create couples, the house is becoming the more attractive option for living,” he said.
While the average home price has soared from the low $500,000s at the beginning of this year to nearly the $600,000 mark, Savel isn’t ringing alarm bells because a growing population and low interest rates will continue to fuel demand in the city, he said.
So what does a record year mean for prospective homebuyers? If you have a house, it’s an excellent time to sell, says Savel, and if you’re a buyer, expect even more competition.