November 2023 Market Report – Not Following Historical Trends

In many situations, numbers usually tell the story. But the way the GTA real estate market feels this fall versus what the numbers say doesn’t coincide. 

As usual, I was ready for a big fall market to kick off once school started back as long as the Bank of Canada BOC held off raising interest rates. The Bank did their part but the usual hustle bustle of the September market just didn’t materialize. When that didn’t happen, I figured that it could just be delayed and we could see a stronger October. I thought we’d see more sales and perhaps a small increase in the average sales price. 

October has passed and the fall market has yet to launch.

This fall is not following the trend of one of the higher points for the real estate market. It’s apparent that the GTA market that we’re used to, where sales are plentiful and gradual increases are the norm, cannot be the expectation. The GTA real estate market, like other markets, can experience volatility. Prices can go down, sales can decrease, and it can be unpredictable.

But when I looked at the numbers for October, the GTA actually saw a 0.6% increase in the average home sales price from September to October! Part of the reason for this statistical and practical mismatch is the impact of luxury sales. Typically when the market slows to favour buyers, the luxury market is impacted more than average and lower price points. Enter in the new luxury land transfer tax rates. As of Jan 1st 2024, properties above 3 million dollars will face greater municipal land transfer tax rates. As a result, the luxury market is having an above average amount of activity as people rush to transact before the new taxes start. What this is doing is skewing the statistics to show a more favourable market than we are actually seeing for average properties.  As Mr Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”.

GTA

As mentioned, the average sale price of homes in the GTA increased by a meagre 0.6%, from $1,119,428 in September to $1,125,928 in October. It’s a big drop from the typical 3.2% September to October increase, but does represent a second straight month of higher average sales prices. 

Additional positive market signs:

  • October 2023’s average sales price was 3.5% higher than October 2022, year-over-year. 
  • September 2023’s average sales price was 3.0% higher than September 2022, year-over-year.

October total sales rose just a tad, by only four homes (4,646 vs 4,642 in September). This 0.1% increase is basically negligible. What’s not negligible is that October’s 4,646 sales were the lowest of any October! This also follows September being the lowest sales month of any previous September. As a percentage, October 2023’s homes sold were 5.8% lower than October 2022 (4,930). 

New listings declined by 11.4% from September to October, at 14,397 from 16,258. This is somewhat of a surprise as I expected a lot of re-listings of homes that have been on the market for a while. Still, these 14,397 new listings are way up from the 10,433 in October 2022 (38% increase). Considering that the October average is 13,000, there are more new listings on the market than usual. 

Active listings rose again, from 18,912 to 19,540. That’s a 3.3% increase. But the really interesting number is 50.1%. That’s the increase in Active listings from October 2022 (13,019) to October 2022. 

With these higher inventory levels and lower sales, the absorption rate has dropped to 32.3%. October of 2022 experienced an absorption rate of 47.7%! If GTA real estate keeps on this path, the new year is going to have plenty of inventory for buyers to choose from. 

Toronto

The City of Toronto’s average sales price rose to $1,127,635 from $1,119,452, a 7% increase. There were 1,836 sales, up by just under one hundred from the 1,744 sales in September. But remember to take this with a grain of salt considering the impact of the luxury sales.

After significant growth in new listings from August to September (6,517 from 4,330), October’s sales fell to 5,669. Active listings jumped to 7,907 from 7,580 in September.

The Sales-to-New-Listings Ratio fell again, from 47.3% to 45.8%. The GTA’s SNLR is still higher, at 47.3% but well below the 51.1% in August. 

Outlook

It’s unlikely that this GTA market will continue for very long. The way things are going though, I’m not going to guarantee in which month that will turn around. The market could be better by January, or it could take until February or even 2025. But it will turn around! As we’ve seen by the discrepancy between the market feel and the numbers though, every situation is different. 

It remains an excellent time to purchase a variety of home types, especially downtown condos and properties in suburnal or rural areas where average prices are continuing to decline. Part of the problem we see is that many buyers, instead of recognizing the opportunities, find themselves subject to market psychology. They are wondering why no one else is buying and are following suit, holding back waiting for more opportunity or lower prices. While prices may lower further, there is something to be said about purchasing in a time where you can take days and weeks to make a decision, include a multitude of conditions and really leverage your position. For those who are seizing the opportunity, there are deals to be had that we haven’t seen in over a decade.

Sellers are facing different challenges depending on their local market and type of home. It’s more important now than ever to make sure your home and every element of your presentation and marketing package help you stand out from the rest. 

While interest rates are still fairly high, the price of some homes has been reduced by enough that it will easily cover the extra interest costs until rates normalize. So, if you’re unsure about entering the buyers’ market, or listing your home, I’ll help you make the decision that’s best for you!

Thinking of moving to the next stage? Let’s chat. Send me an email (hillary@hillarylane.ca) or text/phone (416-882-4707).

Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash