Vancouver, Toronto house sales surge over year
Greater Vancouver residential sales in September up 64% while Toronto sees 30% increase
Home prices in the GTA continue to climb despite Ottawa’s efforts to cool real estate
Toronto house sales – and prices – continue to climb despite the best efforts by Ottawa to cool a market that shows no signs of giving buyers a breather.
Sales of residential housing in Vancouver rose a whopping 63.8 per cent in September over last year while in Toronto sales were up 30 per cent from a year ago.
There were 2,483 residential properties sold in the Greater Vancouver area in September, which is in line with 10-year averages for that month and 1.2 per cent lower than August, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in a news release.
“While sales are up considerably from last year, it’s important to note that September 2012 sales were among the lowest we’ve seen in nearly three decades,” said Sandra Wyant.
New listings for the month in Vancouver were 3.5 per cent below the 10-year average. There were 5,030 new listings on Canada’s main property listing service MLS for attached, detached and apartment properties in the Greater Vancouver area in September.
Detached homes selling for average of $922,600
The benchmark price for homes in the Vancouver area is $601,900, which is 0.7 per cent lower than last September but 2.3 per cent higher than the price in January 2013. The price of detached properties has declined 1.4 per cent from last year but is still the highest of all property types, at $922,600.
The benchmark price for apartment properties is roughly what it was last September, at $366,600. The average price of attached housing units has also not changed since last year and stood at $458,300 this September.
“It’s important to remember that stronger sales activity does not necessarily equate to rising home prices. In fact, home prices have not fluctuated much in our market this year,” Wyant said.
Attached properties saw the biggest increase in sales year-over-year, with 442 units sold in September, almost 80 per cent more than in the same period last year. Detached properties were up 72 per cent, and apartment sales rose almost 51 per cent.
Prices, sales both up in Toronto
In Toronto, meanwhile, prices and sales of residential properties both got a boost in September, with prices rising 6.5 per cent over last year to an average of $533,797, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
“The price growth story in September continued to be about strong demand for low-rise home types, coupled with a short supply of listings,” said the board’s senior manager of market analysis, Jason Mercer.
There were 7,411 residential units sold in September, a 30 per cent increase over a year ago.The city’s real estate board said the strong increase was still largely an effect of homebuyers re-entering the market after being scared away by the tightening of mortgage rules that occurred in 2012.
“It’s great news that households have found that the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, remain affordable,” Toronto Real Estate Board president Dianne Usher said. “We expect to see sales up for the remainder of 2013, as the pent-up demand that resulted from stricter mortgage lending guidelines continues to be satisfied.”
Sales of detached homes saw the biggest increase, rising 34 per cent over last year compared to an increase of 29 per cent for condo apartments, 31 per cent for townhouses and 34 per cent for detached homes.
Prices of condominiums, which averaged $342,760, were actually down in September, falling 1.8 per cent over the same period last year, while townhouses, which sold for an average of $405,368, saw prices rise 9.7 per cent. Prices of detached properties were up 7.9 per cent at $674,027.
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Times are so good that renters gotta to sleep in the street …
‘I slept in my car’: Edmonton’s rental market razor thin
EDMONTON – Sasauna Campbell, a mother of two young kids who moved to Edmonton to start a job, just spent a chilly fall night sleeping in her car.
She may have to do it again, because she can’t find a place to live for herself and her children, aged one and three, who are back home in Drumheller with a family friend.
“I was couch-surfing and I didn’t manage to find anywhere last night so I slept in my car,” Campbell said Wednesday. “I had it running for a bit and I was lucky to have a blanket that I keep just in case I get into an accident.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to that.”
Campbell epitomizes the newcomer attracted to Edmonton for its plentiful employment prospects, and also represents another less welcoming side of the region’s economy — a razor-thin rental housing market. Campbell said she moved here from Drumheller last month to start working on a company’s website. She has budgeted for $1,000 per month or less for rent, and the pickings are slim. And she says some landlords are picky.
“There’s lots of places, but if you have children, it’s a no-go. There’s one-bedrooms and lots of bachelors that are available. There are a few two-bedrooms, but they’re only looking for an individual.”
Edmonton’s rental vacancy rate is 1.2 per cent, but that is based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s spring survey released in April. The fall survey is being conducted this month, and the latest vacancy rate won’t be released until December.
CMHC senior market analyst for Edmonton, Christina Butchart, said the federal agency estimates the current vacancy rate at about 1.4 per cent, compared to 1.7 per cent in October 2012.
“We’ve seen quite strong employment growth in Edmonton over the past few months and our low unemployment rate has been drawing people into Edmonton and we’ve seen elevated levels of migration and typically that affects the rental market quite a bit.”
The vacancy rate was also 1.2 per cent at the height of the boom in 2006 — with a major difference this time around.
“We’re pretty close to that same level right now,” she said. “But one new trend we’re seeing right now is the lower vacancy rate is prompting developers to start construction on rental apartments. That’s a positive sign for renters looking. There is more supply coming on the market.”
Rent increases also haven’t been as sharp as in 2006. As of October 2012, rents for a two-bedroom unit averaged $1,071. CMHC forecasts they will rise to $1,120 this fall. In 2005, rents were $732 and rose to $808 in 2006.
“I think moving into 2014, we’re going to see a little relief in the rental market,” Butchart said. “We’re forecasting that migration should start to ease a little bit as the rest of the country starts to see more economic expansion … and as well, the added supply (of rental units) should help things.”
But that relief will come too late for Christie Buck, a 22-year-old who is starting hospitality business management classes at CDI College at the end of the month and spends her days searching for a place to stay for her six-year-old daughter, her teenaged brother and herself.
“I’ve been in a hotel for over a month,” said Buck, who moved from Saddle Lake. “I’m looking for a two-bedroom but I’m willing to take anything. It’s just that you have to have references and where I’m from, I owned a home and I didn’t have to pay for rent or anything or need references. Now, when I moved out here, it’s hard. It’s very hard.”
Buck has stayed in a women’s shelter and now in a motel as she searches every day for a place.
“I’m going to keep on trying my hardest until I get a place. I’m up early in the morning and all day I’m running around.”
Raphael Yau, president of the Edmonton Apartment Association, which represents 320 landlord members, said, “they’re finding a lot of calls from people from out of town looking to move to Edmonton,” Yau said.
But landlords are not raising rents as much as they could, he said.
“Between the media and the law (the province) passed in ‘08 where you can only raise rent once a year and you have to give quite a bit of notice, that makes it harder.”
David McIlveen, spokesman for Boardwalk REIT, which owns more than 10,000 rental units in the Edmonton region, said vacancy is low, but rents are not rising as fast as in the mid-2000s when many apartment buildings converted to condos and drove up rates to force people out.
Despite the rental squeeze, apartment hunters can improve their odds of finding a place with proper timing.
“Even though vacancy is very low, there still is turnover,” McIlveen said. “There’s still hundreds and sometimes thousands of suites that come available each month, but usually they’re right at the beginning of the month.”
He said apartment dwellers give their notice at the first of the month and move out at the end of the month.
“So if I go out and I’m looking on the 2nd, I find out I can move into that apartment on the 1st of next month, so that’s the way it probably has to work for many people in a tight market. If you wait until the 27th or 28th of the month, to move in in two or three days is going to be difficult.”
Read More @ http://www.edmontonjournal.com/