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Toronto Market conditions

  • Signs for optimism as spring real estate market shapes up

    Real estate  professionals across the country are feeling optimistic about the positive signs they’re seeing in the market this spring.  Existing MLS® home sales activity increased for the second month in a row in March 2009, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The number of new listings also continued trending lower in March.  This is an important statistic, since the lower supply of listings coming onto the market will continue to keep the demand up for active listings.  

    Over 31,000 homes traded hands nationally via the MLS® in March 2009. This is an increase of 7% from the previous month, and builds on the 10.3% activity gain in February. The largest sales gains were in BC and Ontario.  The number of transactions in March 2009 stands 18% above levels reported in January 2009.  It’s a clear indication that buyers are seeing value in today’s market, and are taking advantage of this great opportunity. 

    Looking ahead, there has been a rapid drop in new construction, which should also help to support the demand for resale properties in the months ahead.  The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts decreased to 117,400 units in April from 146,500 units in March, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). According to CMHC's Market Analysis Centre, most of the decline has occurred in the condominium segment in Ontario.  While some improvement is expected as the year progresses, new home construction is not expected to approach the pace set over the past seven years, which exceeded 200,000 units per year.

    This decline in new home construction combined with a drop in new listings coming onto the market should combine to keep up demand for resale properties.  As the balance of supply to demand continues has firmed up, and demand for resale properties continues, this also helps support prices and maintain home values.

    Want to know more about what’s happening in real estate in your local community? Feel free to contact me anytime and find out what great opportunities are available in today’s market.

    http://www.epsteinrealestate.com 

    jepstein@terrequity.com

    416 495 2208

    Jordan Epstein

  • Cooling Canadian market still vastly different from U.S.

    There’s been a shift in Canada’s real estate market, but the good news is we’re still a long way from that of our American neighbours.  MLS® statistics released recently by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) point to a moderating market in many of Canada’s major urban centres.  Over the past six months, easing sales activity and a surge in new listings have caused the resale market to become considerably more balanced in many major markets. Vancouver, Regina and Saskatoon were the most balanced major markets in June.

    However, while the Canadian real estate market is cooling, it’s still quite different from the U.S. market with its record low number of foreclosures or defaults, says CREA.   Home prices in the U.S. dropped by 14.1% in the first quarter of the year, according to the Case Shiller national home price index.  That’s a scenario the Federal Government doesn’t intend to let happen here.

    In fact, the Federal Government is taking steps to ensure that Canada does not run on a similar track to our neighbours to the south.  Finance Canada has moved to clamp down on those buyers who may be heavily leveraged in their bid to become home owners, says CREA, adding that this is not expected to have any major impact on the overall market before changes go into effect in October.

    Probably the best indicator that the Canadian market is vastly different from the U.S. is increasing resale home values.  Here in Canada, while the pace of sales is slowing slightly from last year’s record-breaking pace, prices are still on the rise.  The major market residential MLS® average price set new records for the first half of 2008, as well as for the second quarter of the year.  In the first half of 2008, the MLS® residential average price rose 3.2% year-over-year to $340,390. On a quarterly basis, the average price in Canada’s major markets was $343,235 in the second quarter, up 1.4% from the second quarter of 2007.

    New monthly records for MLS® residential average price were set in a number of major markets in June, including Saskatoon, Kitchener-Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Saint John (NB), and St. John’s (NF).
    The resale housing market is more balanced than it was last year in all major urban centres, concludes CREA.  The frenzied pace for sales activity last year has faded, with buyers now better able to shop around before making an offer. Price increases are expected to be modest in the second half of 2008, as sales continue easing and new listings remain high.

    Want to know more about market conditions in your local neighbourhood?  Contact your Coldwell Banker® sales professional, Jordan Epstein, for the latest insights into real estate values and sales activity in your own community.  http://www.epsteinrealestate.com

  • New construction indicates strong market to continue

    When it comes to the real estate market, there’s always a great deal of media attention regarding the number of resale homes sold and the average house price in markets across Canada.  Certainly, those statistics give a good indication of where the market has been and where it is now.  However, one of the most interesting statistics to take into consideration is the total of national housing starts.  Since this information reports on new construction beginning, it provides an excellent glimpse of where home sales will be in the near future.

    According to statistics recently released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was up in August to 226,500 units nationally.  That represents 10,900 units more than the 215,600 units reported in the previous month.  CMHC, Canada’s national housing authority, also confirms that this high rate of housing starts is a good indication of a continuing strong market in the months ahead.

    This latest increase in national housing starts represents yet another consecutive month of well over 200,000 housing starts, a level of construction that hasn’t been seen in recent years.  That sustained near-record construction activity also indicates a continuing strong national housing market.  Yet despite this strong showing, CMHC predicts a gradual decrease in new homes construction between now and the end of 2008.  CMHC’s view that residential construction will decrease gradually between now and the end of 2008 mirrors a similar forecast by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) for the resale market.
    So keep an eye on new construction sales to start to drop off before the end of next year.  That could be your first alert that the market is making an adjustment and starting to moderate.

    Want more information about market trends and forecasts in your local community?  Contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com and take advantage of my helpful advice.

  • GST cut in 2008 is good news for home buyers

    New homes closing in January will save 1% tax under new Federal budget

    The conservative government’s recent economic update issued on October 30 left a lot of Canadians smiling.  And why not?  With government revenues now running higher than expected as the economy booms, the Tories have pledged retroactive income tax cuts, ‘bold’ corporate tax reductions, lowering the GST to 5% as of January 1, 2008, and still having enough surplus left over after the tax cuts to pay down the national debt by another $10 billion this year.  And while this is good news all around, it’s particularly so for Canadian home buyers.  

    The tax changes outlined in the federal government’s economic statement will make it easier for Canadians to realize their dream of home ownership in a number of ways.  Lower income tax means more disposable income to devote to a home purchase, and the one per cent cut in the GST will provide savings to new home buyers closing their sale after January 1st.   According to an example provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), using the sliding GST scale that applies to the cost of new homes, a buyer of a $375,000 house in British Columbia would save $2,738.

    Even if you’re buying a resale home that is not subject to the GST, the planned one per cent tax reduction will also help Canadians pay for home renovations, or in the purchase of appliances or furniture.  According to research conducted by CREA, Canadians spend an average of $7,475 on renovations when they buy a home, and spend another $3,950 on furniture and appliances. The GST cut represents $114 in savings based on these averages.

    Not sure how much home you can afford?  Your local Coldwell Banker® sales professional will be happy to sit down and ‘crunch the numbers’ with you, and show you some creative financing options you may have never considered.  Why not take a few minutes and find out how to turn your dream of home ownership into a pleasant reality!  

    Contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com to take advantage of my expert advice.

  • August sets the stage for a strong autumn market

    More people in the Greater Toronto Area bought resale homes last month than in any August before, Toronto Real Estate Board President Donald Bentley announced today.

    The 8,059 sales reported last month exceeded the previous best performance for August, set in 2005, by seven per cent.

    August also brought year-to-date figures up 13 per cent over the same period last year. So far this year 67,146 homes have sold as compared to 59,488 at this time in 2006. The pace is also 13 per cent ahead of the same timeframe in 2005, which became the best year on record.

    “With five consecutive record-breaking months, spring and summer activity was unprecedented and given the strong economic fundamentals that remain in place, we have tremendous confidence in the autumn housing market,” said Mr. Bentley.

    The Greater Toronto Area’s strongest sales activity in August took place in widely diverse
    neighbourhoods.

    In West Agincourt (E05) a jump in the sale of detached homes and condo apartments resulted in a 34 per cent overall increase compared to last August.

    An increase in the sale of detached homes and condo apartments also resulted in an overall increase of 52 per cent in High Park (W02).

    In Toronto’s Davisville (C10) the sale of semi-detached homes and condo apartments pushed overall activity in the district to a 58 per cent increase over August 2006.

    Richmond Hill South (N03) showed a 43 per cent increase, led by condo apartment and detached home sales.

    “Prices moderated in August, down approximately one per cent from the previous month, meaning that there will be many opportunities within reach during this autumn market,” said Mr. Bentley.

  • The real estate market just keeps moving on up

     National home sales activity now forecast to rise 8.1% over last year

     Just how good is it going to get? That seems to be the question on every Canadian homeowner's mind these days. The answer is better than even the industry expected. Fueled by record activity levels in the first half of the year, national MLS® home sales activity is expected to reach record levels again in 2007. At least, so says the latest residential forecast released August 20 by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). What's more, the increase forecast for this year is being revised upwards, with yet another near-record year predicted to follow.

    CREA now forecasts that national home sales will rise by a whopping 8.1% to 523,100 units in 2007. The good news continues right across the board as new annual records are expected to be set in most provinces. While sales activity is forecast to edge slightly lower in 2008, it's still expected to reach the second highest annual level on record in almost all provinces.

    But the real good news for homeowners is when it comes to price. In addition to sales activity, resale home prices are forecast to set new records in every province both this year and again in 2008. However, while prices will continue to rise, the increases are forecast to be smaller next year. The resale housing market is expected to become more balanced, particularly in Western Canada , as housing prices continue to increase in 2008 and higher interest rates further impact affordability.

    According to CREA, consumers continue to have strong confidence in Canada 's resale housing market and the record-breaking pace indicates the Canadian market has shrugged off the sub-prime problems that have been affecting the housing market in the United States and a number of investment funds. Home buying sentiment remains upbeat in all regions and mortgage financing is still within reach for many potential homebuyers. Strong employment numbers will keep sales activity strong, even as prices and interest rates continue to rise.

    If you're a homeowner, it's a great time to sell and realize some of the equity that's locked within your home. If you're a buyer, there's no time to waste. By acting quickly, you can still lock in an attractive interest rate and see your property appreciate in value. Contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com to take advantage of their expert advice.

  • It's a record-shattering real estate market…again!

    Almost any way you look at it, Canada's red-hot real estate market is surpassing all previous forecasts, and piling record on top of record. According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), r esale housing broke all records for May and is on track for yet another record year in 2007. Coming off what was an already record-breaking period in April, MLS® sales activity has soared to new heights. New listings, average prices and dollar volume in Canada's major markets broke all previous monthly records in May

    CREA reports that actual MLS® home sales activity in Canada's major markets was up a stunning 11.6% year-over-year to 42,039 units in May 2007. Led by gains in Toronto and Montreal, this was the first time in history that sales activity in Canada's major markets surpassed 40,000 transactions in one month.

    Sales activity is flying high in markets all across the country, but particularly in the Prairies and Eastern Canada. New monthly records were set in Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Saint John, and reached the second highest level on record in Saskatoon, Regina and Toronto. However, dramatic price increases and additional listings in Alberta's major markets are causing some buyers there to take a bit longer to make a purchasing decision, says CREA.

    While more buyers are picking up properties, more new sellers are entering the market too. New listings on the MLS® reached the highest level ever in May, climbing 6.7% year-over-year to 63,165 units. This was the first time ever that the number of new listings on MLS® systems in Canada's major markets surpassed 60,000 units in a single month.

    The average MLS® price in major markets rose 10.2% year-over-year, and set a new record in May, just a month after breaking through the $300,000 ceiling for the first time. In fact, the average resale house price reached the highest level on record in many of Canada's major markets including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, London/St. Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, and Halifax-Dartmouth.

    Want to know more about sales activity and pricing trends in your own market? Your local Coldwell Banker real estate professional can help you with information about listings and sales within your local community, and even in your own neighbourhood.

    In addition, if you have any general questions about buying or selling real estate in Ontario, please contact me as I'm more than willing to help. http://epsteinrealestate.com

  • Average Canadian home price tops $300,000 for the first time

    Canada's red-hot real estate market continues to surpass forecasts as it climbs to new heights. Now a new milestone has been reached for home prices in Canada. The national MLS® residential average price topped the $300,000 mark for the first time ever this April, climbing a surprising 9.3% year-over-year to $305,542 according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

    The surge in home prices was seen throughout the country. The average home price set new records in British Columbia, all Prairie Provinces, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia.

    The market continues to boom as record numbers of new listings are coming on the market to meet this growing demand. According to CREA, seasonally adjusted new MLS® listings reached 70,384 units in April. This was 1.3% above the previous record set in September 2006, and represents the first time ever that new listings for a single month has exceeded 70,000 units. The monthly increase largely resulted from a rise in new listings in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. These new listings added to the available inventory of homes for sale should be sufficient to sustain current market demand.

    A larger monthly increase in new listings than for sales activity caused the resale housing market to become more balanced in April. The MLS® housing market remains tightest in Saskatchewan, but the trend is becoming more balanced in other Western provinces. In contrast, the market has tightened in Ontario and Québec in recent months.

    According to CREA's Chief Economist, the record-breaking resale housing market activity in April was built on strong momentum from the first quarter. A strong job market and low and stable interest rates will continue to buoy home sales activity, even as prices continue to rise.

    Any way you look at it, it all adds up to very active residential real estate markets right across Canada. If you'd like to more specific information about sales, listing inventory or home prices within your community, contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com

  • New record for MLS® home sales forecast for 2007

     National activity now expected to rise 3.6% over last year

     Despite earlier predictions of a moderating market, Canadian real estate sales just keep barreling along. So much so in fact, that industry forecasts are now being revised upwards. Boosted by record activity levels in the first quarter, national MLS® home sales are expected to reach new heights again in 2007, according to a new residential forecast prepared by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

    Canadian resale housing activity was so strong in the first quarter of 2007 that it broke all national quarterly records, as well as many on the provincial and local level. This surprisingly strong performance in markets all across the country – and the momentum that it is creating into the second quarter -- was so remarkable that it required CREA to up its earlier forecast for the year.

    The newest market projections call for national home sales to rise by 3.6% to 500,995 units in 2007, says CREA. That level of sales activity will result in new records in most provinces. Although CREA predicts that activity will edge slightly lower in 2008, sales are still expected to remain high in all provinces next year.

    With sales still keeping a record-breaking pace, it's not surprising that the MLS® national average residential price is also forecast to rise over the next two years. Resale housing markets will become more balanced in all provinces, but will remain tightest in Western provinces where price increases will be greatest.

    CREA's Chief Economist reports that home buying sentiment remains strong in all regions, and new listings have been unable to keep pace with sales activity. According to CREA, the resale housing market will become more balanced as rising prices erode affordability and cause a gradual retreat in sales activity. A strong job market and the continuation of low interest rates will keep sales activity strong even as prices continue to rise.

    In addition, if you have any general questions about buying or selling real estate in Ontario, please contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com as I'm more than willing to help.

  • Toronto Housing Market Reaches New Heights!

    With an astonishing 11,146 sales in May, the Toronto Real Estate market put in its best performance since records have been kept, President Dorothy Mason announced today. "The Toronto Real Estate Board has been tracking the local housing market for over forty years, and there has never been a month that even approaches this level of activity," Ms. Mason stated. "May was up 18 per cent over April, our previous record month (9,452 sales), and also up 18 per cent over May of 2006 (9,434 sales), which now ranks as the third highest sales total recorded."

    Ms. Mason further noted that, according to statistics compiled by the Canadian Real Estate Association, every home sale generates about $27,000 in economic activity (for renovations, furniture purchases, and so forth) over and above direct expenditures involved in the transaction. "This means that Realtors® and their clients have contributed over $300 million to the local economy in ancillary costs last month alone."

    However, while sales sky-rocketed, price increases were restrained, with the average rising a mere five per cent to $382,787 from the $365,537 recorded during May of 2006.

    Breaking down the total, 4,175 sales were reported in TREB's 28 West districts and averaged $356,836; 2,038 sales were reported in the 14 Central districts and averaged $506,172; 2,323 sales were reported in the 23 North districts and averaged $408,391; and 2,610 sales were reported in TREB's 21 East districts and averaged $305,168.
  • April showers don’t dampen home sales

    The GTA resale housing market got off to a strong start in April, with mid-month sales coming in one per cent ahead of mid-April 2006, Toronto Real Estate Board President Dorothy Mason announced today.

    The 4,175 transactions recorded in the first half of the month surpass the mid-April total of 4,140 sales recorded in 2006. Meanwhile, year-to-date figures for 2007 are nearly two per cent ahead of last year’s pace.

    “We are very encouraged by the stability of the GTA market,” Mrs. Mason said. “Activity is strong yet controlled, and great economic fundamentals continue to keep things moving in the right direction.”

    The average price of a home in the GTA reached $372,169 in the first half of April, up one per cent over the same timeframe in April 2006 when prices averaged $366,878. The median price rose three per cent to $315,000. Active listings were down five per cent from the same time in 2006, to 22,711.

    Strong activity across all housing types in the Beach (E02) helped push overall sales up 44 per cent compared to mid-April of 2006.

    The condo boom in Mississauga’s city centre (W15) was largely responsible for an overall sales increase of 41 per cent in the area, compared to mid-April of last year.

    Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood (C03) saw 54 per cent more overall transactions than to the same point a year ago, fueled mostly by detached home sales.

    In Bayview Village / Hillcrest Village (C15), overall transactions increased by 36 per cent compared to the same timeframe in 2006.

    “Consumers are showing a lot of confidence in this market,” Mrs. Mason said. “Their investments are showing steady returns, yet the market is still accessible to a variety of buyers.”

    For more information on Toronto market conditions or any other real estate questions please contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com

  • Strong Start to Spring

    Strong resale housing activity in March got the spring market off to a healthy start, Toronto Real Estate Board President Dorothy Mason announced
    today. A total of 8,518 transactions took place in the month, nearly on par with the 8,707 sales reported last March.

    "The market is in great shape, and we're seeing very strong results on a consistent basis," Mrs. Mason said. "So far 2007 is slightly ahead of last year's sales pace, and we're right on track for another solid year."

    In Scarborough's West Hill neighbourhood (E10), strong sales of detached homes led to an overall sales increase of 27 per cent compared to March 2006.

    Etobicoke's Mimico / New Toronto neighbourhood (W06) saw transactions increase by 45 per cent compared to last March, fueled by strong detached home and condo apartment activity.

    A jump in condominium activity in North York Centre (C14) helped overall sales to a 14 per cent increase compared to March of a year ago.

    Overall sales in Thornhill (N02) increased by 16 per cent compared to last March, led by detached home sales.

    "The GTA continues to have strong employment numbers and a healthy economy," Mrs. Mason added. "Housing activity is solid and prices are steadily on the rise, so it remains an excellent time to be in the market."

     For more information on the market in any area please contact me at http://www.epsteinrealestate.com  

  • Do you Believe in the Insanity of the Toronto Real Estate Market?

    I have been hearing the stories for years. Guy buys a house in Cabbagetown for a song, a few years later it's worth twice as much as he paid for it. A couple buys a condo on the west side in the pre-construction phase, then sell it upon completion for a ridiculous profit without ever having set foot in the unit.

    The Toronto real estate market has been churning out these kinds of stories for about a decade now. Thousands of ordinary people have gotten rich from doing not much more than paying their mortgage every month. When will this wave of unprecedented growth in the market end? What is it going to take to stop the insanity?

    Just when the prognosticators were pointing to the slowdown south of the border as a sign of things to come here, the Toronto Real Estate Board announces that this past January was the best January ever recorded for resale properties in Toronto. I would have to say that despite all odds, it still appears to be a seller's market.

    While our friends on the Left Coast have devoted entire blogs to the topic of when the supposed bubble will burst, no such organized animosity towards the state of the market exists in the T-dot that I'm aware of.

    Bubble? What Bubble? Indeed.

  • Is the East Side the New West Side?

    For years, it wasn't much of a contest. Queen West vs. Queen East? Come on. Bloor West Village vs. The Danforth? Please. Trinity Bellwoods Park vs. Moss Park? Not even close. The West side has consistently come out on top in the battle of the most desirable 'hoods in the City to call home. Come on now, all you East Siders. Admit it - the West Side has had our number for quite some time.

    But consider yourselves on notice West Siders, because several developers are betting that the East Side will be taking some huge strides over the next few years.

    Anyone who has gone couch shopping recently can attest to the phenomenal level of change that has occurred on the King Street East strip in the last 4 or 5 years, and there are no signs that the pace is slowing down. The original City in the Sky, St. James Town, will soon be surrounded by its own set of condo towers on two sides. Even Leslieville now has a Starbucks, and you know what that means.

    While Parkdale needs a plan, Regent Park already has one. You've been warned West Siders. You've been warned

  • Rising home prices predicted through 2008 says national forecast

    Wondering if home prices can continue their upward climb in 2007?  You may be surprised to learn that while the number of homes sold is expected to level off over the next several months, resale home prices should continue to rise – not just this year, but into 2008.  According to the latest forecast released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), National MLS® home sales activity will remain high both this year and in 2008.  The forecast calls for the number of resale homes sold to ease slightly but remain above 450,000 units, which is near the strongest levels on record.  Annual sales activity is forecast to rise this year in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and inch lower in other provinces.

    While the number of homes sold may begin to ease below record levels, there’s no end in sight for the increase in house prices.  The national MLS® residential average price is forecast to rise modestly over the next two years. Resale housing markets will become more balanced in all provinces, but will remain tighter in Western provinces where annual price increases will be the largest.  The continued availability of low mortgage rates and high employment that’s still on the rise will continue to fuel the market this year and next.  A strong economic outlook, rising incomes and high consumer confidence all reinforce a positive outlook for Canadian home buyers and sellers alike.

    Of course, these national trends are only a general guideline.  Real estate sales and home prices can vary dramatically from market to market, between neighbourhoods and even for houses on the same street.  To learn more about home prices in your local market please contact me on my website at www.epsteinrealestate.com
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