Friday, November 1, 2013

What to Look For When Hiring A Realtor

Many consumers do not know what to look for when they begin their search for a Realtor. Here are some of the key things to look for:

Large or Small Company? - Some consumers will automatically assume calling a Realtor from a large company is the best option. This is not necessarily the case.  Although it's important to have a Realtor who is with a reputable company representing you, the size of the company does not always play a role. Most Realtors are using the Toronto Real Estate Board's MLS system to market their listings.  All Realtors that are part of the Toronto Real Estate Board co-operate with each other on sales, so all Realtors have access to all the listings and all the property information whether they are with a large company or small company. Sometimes the smaller companies with less volume actually have more time to service clients and offer more personalized service as opposed to larger companies which have many clients to service and could get bogged down.

Time and Expertise - One of the most important factors when choosing a Realtor is to choose a Realtor that has the time to service your needs as well as the experience to make the process go smoothly. A full time Realtor is usually the best choice.  A full time Realtor is more active in the marketplace and is on top of the pulse of the market. A full time Realtor will also be available for you all the time and can provide valuable resources such as lawyers, home inspectors, and contractors which can assist you with your move. There are many part-time agents in the industry that sell real estate as a hobby so be very cautious in order to ensure your Realtor has the time and expertise to represent you effectively.

Personal Connection - You should interview your potential Realtor carefully and get to know the Realtor you are looking to choose. Make sure you can trust your Realtor and you feel comfortable talking to them. It is important to be open with your Realtor and be able to tell them exactly what your thoughts and needs are.  Buying or selling a home can be an emotional experience so you want to ensure you have the right connection with your Realtor.

Location, Location - If you are looking to purchase or sell a home in a particular neighborhood, a great option is to find a Realtor who is local and specializes in that area.  Although with technology these days Realtors are becoming well versed in handling a wider demographical area, it still helps to find someone who has a consistent presence in a particular neighbourhood and knows the area you are interested in.  They will generally have the right market insight and knowledge that you need.

The right tech tools - The Internet is a huge marketing tool these days, and if your agent does not have an up-to-date website, a smart phone, or a social media presence, chances are they could be missing out on potential networking opportunities, business, and vital information. Ask how your Realtor stays on top of the market and clients' needs.

After Closing/Follow Up - After you have bought or sold your home with your new Realtor and the deal has closed, issues and items that need to be addressed after the closing can occur.  A good Realtor will have a follow up program in place to ensure that you are happy with the service and there are no issues after the move has taken place.  A good Realtor will also keep in touch with you and continue a relationship with you after the deal on your new property has closed.  


Bank of Canada Releases Monetary Policy Report on October 23, 2013

  • The global economy is expected to expand modestly in 2013. However, its near-term dynamic has changed and the composition of growth is now slightly less favourable for Canada.
  • The U.S. economy is softer than expected. But as fiscal headwinds dissipate and household deleveraging ends, growth should accelerate through 2014 and 2015.
  • Overall, the global economy is projected to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2013 and accelerate to 3.4 per cent in 2014 and 3.6 per cent in 2015.
  • In Canada, uncertain global and domestic economic conditions are delaying the pick-up in exports and business investment. This leaves the level of economic activity lower than the Bank had been expecting.
  • While household spending remains solid, slower growth of household credit and higher mortgage interest rates point to a gradual unwinding of household imbalances.
  • The Bank expects that a better balance between domestic and foreign demand will be achieved over time and that growth will become more self-sustaining. But this will take longer than previously projected.
  • Real GDP growth is projected to increase from 1.6 per cent this year to 2.3 per cent next year and 2.6 per cent in 2015. The Bank expects that the economy will return gradually to full production capacity, around the end of 2015.
  • Inflation in Canada has remained low in recent months, reflecting the significant slack in the economy, heightened competition in the retail sector, and other sector-specific factors.
  • With larger and more persistent excess supply in the economy, both total CPI and core inflation are expected to return more gradually to 2 per cent, around the end of 2015.
  • The outlook for inflation is subject to several risks emanating from both the external important that we are not just aware of these risks, but that we also take them on board as we consider the appropriate course for monetary policy.
  • We have identified two important external risks. An upside risk to inflation in Canada that emanates from the external environment is the risk of more-robust economic growth than projected in the advanced economies. Greater global demand would in turn translate into higher exports for Canada and rising commodity prices, which would support higher incomes and spending.
  • A second important external risk is a more protracted and difficult euro-area recovery. Since Canada’s direct trade links to the euro area are limited, the effects would be felt mainly through confidence and financial channels, as well as through indirect trade links.
  • We have also identified three important domestic risks.
  • First, there is a possibility that, for a given projection for global growth, exports could be even weaker than assumed. This is a risk that could materialize if competitiveness challenges were greater than anticipated and would result in an even larger loss of market share.
  • Second, there is a risk on the upside that, as confidence returns, domestic momentum builds faster than expected. Once the recovery in foreign demand becomes more solidly entrenched, and with domestic demand continuing to grow at a moderate pace, business sentiment could improve rapidly.
  • The third important domestic risk remains a disorderly unwinding of household sector imbalances, which are still elevated. The continued slowing in household credit and the rise in mortgage interest rates point to a gradual unwinding of household imbalances, but recent data suggest some risk of renewed momentum in the housing market.
  • Although the Bank considers the risks around its projected inflation path to be balanced, the fact that inflation has been persistently below target means that downside risks to inflation assume increasing importance. However, the Bank must also take into consideration the risk of exacerbating already-elevated household imbalances.
  • Weighing these considerations, the Bank judges that the substantial monetary policy stimulus currently in place remains appropriate and today decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent.



Monday, October 28, 2013

GTA REALTORS® Release Condo Report

October 16, 2013 -- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,307 condominium apartment transactions through the TorontoMLS system in the third quarter of 2013. This result was up by 18 per cent in comparison to 4,498 condominium apartment sales reported for the third quarter of 2012. In the City of Toronto, which accounted for 72 per cent of condominium apartment transactions, sales were up by 19.5 per cent.

“The Echo Generation wants to live close to where they work and play. It makes sense that they have turned to condominium apartments as they have moved into home ownership. Many condominium apartments in the GTA are characterized by their proximity to a diversity of employment, transportation and leisure alternatives,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

“A growing number of buyers have restarted their search for a condominium apartment since the summer. Despite the onset of stricter lending guidelines, buyers have found that home ownership remains affordable,” continued Ms. Usher.

The average selling price for condominium apartments in the third quarter of 2013 was $340,069 – up almost two per cent in comparison to the average of $333,846 in the third quarter of 2012.

“We experienced a moderate annual rate of increase in the average condo price. However, while condo sales were up, listings were down in the third quarter. If this trend continues, it could point to increased competition between condo buyers and an uptick in the pace of price growth moving forward,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

5 Things to consider when buying a resale home

The decision to buy a resale home is one of the most important ones your family will ever make. In order to be properly protected, here are 5 things to consider:
1. What information is the seller providing in advance?
Sellers used to provide property disclosure statements, telling buyers in advance about the condition of their homes and disclosing problems. Lawyers told them not to do this anymore, because of the potential for lawsuits. Some sellers are now conducting home inspections by a professional home inspection company before they list the property for sale and are giving a copy of the report to any buyer. This has proven to be a benefit to a seller, since they can correct any deficiencies noted by the inspector so they do not have to negotiate with the buyer later after the buyer conducts their own home inspection. Some sellers are also providing home history reports, which can be obtained from or which indicate whether the home has been the subject of an insurance claim for water, fire, flood or sewage backup, and whether the home was ever listed as a grow house or meth lab. The more information a buyer has in advance, the more informed their purchase decision. Still, even with this information, buyers should complete their own home inspection before committing to any purchase.
2. Ask the seller hard questions
Ask the sellers or their agent if they have had basement flooding problems, or mould or roof leaks, even if the leaks have been repaired, or any other adverse neighbourhood conditions, whether it is a suicide or murder in the home, or a half way house down the street. Watch how they answer. Sellers are required to respond truthfully to these questions if you ask them directly. If the seller refuses to answer or acts suspiciously, then you need to discuss this with your home inspector and your real estate agent and either adjust your purchase offer or walk away.
3. Check with the neighbours
During your home inspection, or before you put an offer in the first place, walk around the neighbourhood and ask the neighbours about the house you are interested and the neighbourhood itself.
4. Include the right additional clauses
Make sure that everything you expect to receive on closing is included in your offer. This includes mirrors, closet organizers, window coverings and TV brackets. Ask for 2 complete sets of keys, to get into the home and garage, especially if it is a condominium unit.
5. Make sure you can afford it
Get qualified in advance by a professional mortgage broker or your bank so that you know how much you can safely borrow. Make sure your lender will complete their appraisal of the property before you waive any financing condition. Be careful about getting caught up in a bidding war, because if your lender thinks you paid too much, they will not lend you what you may be expecting.
By following these tips, you should be better protected the next time you buy a home.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to Avoid a Difficult Tenant

Here are some helpful tips to remember when looking for a tenant.

  • When you advertise for a tenant, make it clear that you do background and credit checks;
  • Ask any tenant to complete a detailed rental application, showing every place they have lived at least in the past 5 years;
  • Ask for a current cheque stub from their place of employment, as proof that they are regularly employed;
  • Ask for at least 3 personal references and call each one, including any prior landlord;
  • Interview the tenant where they currently live, to see for yourself how they treat someone else's property;
  • Check out the tenant on social media - whether it is pictures that they post or blogs that they may have written. For example, if you search Andreas Pirelli, the Alberta tenant referred to above on linked in, you will see that he claims to be the senior chief justice at Tacit Supreme law court;
  • Have the property regularly inspected, to make sure that the tenant is properly maintaining the property and not causing any damages;
  • Treat your tenants with ongoing respect, and they will look after your property better; consider a gift card if rent is always paid on time, or a Christmas present.

October 2013 Toronto Real Estate Sales Report

TORONTO, October 3, 2013 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,411 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in September 2013, representing a 30 per cent increase compared to 5,687 transactions reported in September 2012. Year-to-date, total residential sales reported through TorontoMLS amounted to 68,907 during the first nine months of 2013 – down by one per cent compared to the same period in 2012.
"It’s great news that households have found that the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, remain affordable. This is why the third quarter was characterized by renewed growth in home sales in the GTA. 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," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
The average selling price for September transactions was $533,797 – up by 6.5 per cent year-over-year. Through the first three quarters of 2013, the average selling price was $520,118 – up by over four per cent compared to the first nine months of 2012.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark for September was up by four per cent year-over-year. The annual rate of growth for the composite benchmark has been accelerating since the spring of 2013.
"The price growth story in September continued to be about strong demand for low-rise home types, coupled with a short supply of listings. Even with slower price growth and month-to-month volatility in the condo apartment market, overall annual price growth has been well above the rate of inflation this year. This scenario will continue to play out through the remainder of 2013," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
For the full report visit:

As always if you are interested in more information on the Real Estate Market feel welcome to call me at 416-901-8777 or email me at

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 2013 Commercial Market Report

Year-over-year growth in average lease rates, for transactions undertaken on a per square foot net basis for which pricing was disclosed, was mixed. The average industrial lease rate was $5.16 in August 2013 – down from $5.88 in August 2012. Average lease rates for the commercial/retail and office market segments were up on a year-over-year basis.

"Over the last two months we have seen strong year-over-year growth in the amount of space leased through the TorontoMLS system. This growth has been driven by the industrial sector and suggests a strong result for the third quarter. The improvement in leasing activity seems to follow the view that overall economic growth in Canada is expected to improve in the second half of 2013 and even more so in 2014," said Commercial Division chair Cynthia Lai.

Combined sales of industrial, commercial/retail and office properties amounted to 48 in August 2013 – down from 65 transactions reported during the same period in 2012. Broken down by market segment, the number of commercial/retail transactions was the same as reported in 2012, whereas the number of industrial and office transactions was down.

Average selling prices, on a per square foot basis for transactions where pricing was disclosed, were up for industrial and commercial/retail transactions and down for office transactions. Year-over-year changes in average selling prices were strongly influenced by changes in the mix of properties sold this year versus last.

"The mix of industrial, commercial/retail and office transactions can change from one year to the next, on the basis of type, use and geography. These changes can result in fluctuations in the average selling price, especially when considering transactions on a monthly basis," said Ms. Lai.

For the full report visit:




September 2013 Toronto Market Report

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,569 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in August 2013. This represented a 21 per cent increase compared to 6,249 sales in August 2012.

"Sales were up strongly this past August for all major home types compared to last year. Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home. These households have found that a diversity of affordable ownership options exist throughout the GTA," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

The average selling price for August 2013 was $503,094 – up by almost 5.5 per cent compared to the average of $477,170 in August 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 3.7 per cent over the same period.

"Despite an increase in borrowing costs during the spring and summer, an average priced home in the GTA has remained affordable for a household earning an average income. With this in mind, tight market conditions are expected to promote continued price growth through the remainder of 2013," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

To see the full report visit:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

5 Tips for HomeBuyers

The economy is suffering. The cost of rent, especially for those who want to live downtown, is skyrocketing. What’s a single person to do? These days, a lot of savvy singles are opting to buy themselves a home. According to a recent study by Genworth Financial, a full quarter of homebuyers n 2011/2012 were single.

If you are single and are hoping to jump into the housing market, here are a few tips to help guide you through the process.

1. Stay. In. Your. Budget. Think about how much you can afford, and then lay down the law for yourself that you will stick to that limit. Remember that as an independent single, should you experience a disruption in your job, income, health, or anything else that might make it hard to make your mortgage payments, you will not have a partner to fall back on financially. So while your heart might be tugged irresistibly towards a home that is everything you dreamed of, make sure you don’t overextend yourself (or your wallet).
2. What will your chores list be? When you’re looking for a home, make sure to think through whether you can maintain the property yourself. Will you have time to cut that enormous lawn? Is a condo or townhouse a better fit for your busy life? If you decide to hire people to take care of jobs around the house, make sure you hire smart: do research to find trustworthy and skilled help, get multiple quotes for every job, get everything in writing, and make sure the job is done right.
3. Location, location, location! Make sure you feel safe in your new home! First, screen your potentials homes’ locations. Check your local crime rates and speak with realtors, neighbours, and town officials about the safety of your desired area. Once you’ve chosen a home, make sure you can return to it and enter it feeling safe and secure. After all, if you work away from home, your house will be empty for long periods of time. Install a good security system that will leave you sleeping peacefully at night.
4. Investment wisely. Should you ever decide to relocate, you want to have a home that will sell quickly and well on the market. Keep that in mind as you choose your home. Look for homes that have widespread appeal. This is something home sellers are taught when they are preparing their homes for potential buyers to visit: make sure your home is neutral enough that it could please a large audience and be changed to suit almost anyone’s tastes.
5. The future is now! If you’d like to keep your home for a long time, take some time to think about the future. Do you hope to have a family one day? Would it be a good idea to buy that home with the extra bedroom? Give yourself room to grow.

Don’t get discouraged or doubt yourself! Chances are, if you’re responsible (and brave) enough to be planning to buy your own home, by yourself, you are responsible enough to make wise and informed choices about this major investment. Don’t forget that you also have an arsenal of experts at your disposal, trained and ready for your questions and concerns: make use of the knowledge and guidance of realtors, mortgage brokers, financial planners, and other single homebuyers who have gone through the process before you. They are often willing to give out free advice and to share their vast wealth of knowledge with others. Finally, all the best with your house hunting! We know you’ll love your new home.

Dynamic puts in bid to revive Guild Inn

Scarborough Mirror
A Toronto company has put its offer for reviving the Guild Inn on the table.
Now, it’s for the city to decide if it wants Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group as a partner or not.
The city, after closing the former Inn in 2001, tried and failed twice before to attract a private partner capable of restoring or replacing the historic building, once the centre of an artist colony and centrepiece of the 88-acre Guild Park.
This time, Dynamic was the only company that pre-qualified to submit a proposal to design, build, finance and operate a restaurant and perhaps also a banquet facility where the Inn now stands.
The deadline, extended a few additional weeks last month, was noon Monday, May 31.
Members of the city’s Government Management Committee had planned to discuss Dynamic’s bid at their June 17 meeting, in hopes of signing an agreement by Aug. 27.
The park property, which gave the Guildwood subdivision its name, was sold to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1978, and the city assumed responsibility for managing the land and buildings in 1993.
Dynamic operates restaurants, nightclubs and comedy clubs and an event theatre in Vaughan, Oakville and Toronto.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18th, 2013 Toronto Market Report

TORONTO, June 18, 2013 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,620 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of June 2013. This result was up by 4.7 per cent compared to the first two weeks of June 2012. Year-over-year sales growth was driven by the regions/counties surrounding the City of Toronto. Home sales in the City were basically flat in comparison to last year. “The expectation was for an improvement in home sales in the second half of 2013. Early June results are in line with this outlook. Many households have adapted to stricter lending guidelines and have renewed their search for ownership housing,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah. “It is also important to note that new listings were down over the same period. With sales up and new listings down, market conditions became tighter. This supports the moderate to strong rates of price growth reported for most major home types, including condominium apartments,” added Ms. Hannah.

The average selling price for the first fourteen days of June was $536,141 – up by 3.8 per cent compared to June 2012. “While price growth has been driven by low-rise home types this year, condominium apartment price growth has improved since March. Despite higher inventory levels, there have been enough buyers relative to available listings to support condo price appreciation,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

My Take on the rest of the Year

In summary I expect that sales in terms of number of units sold will be in line with last years numbers. Prices may flatten over the next few months as inventory levels rise which will make it easier for buyers who have been looking for homes. I expect the Average price will increase modestly by 2%-3% from now until the end of the year. Recently rates on the 5 year and 4 year products went up by 10-20 basis points. If you are a buyer looking to buy make sure you get a pre-approval done in order to lock in a rate. You may want to consider a 3 to 5 year fixed product as rates are low on these products now. 

To view current rates visit

If you have any questions on the market or are looking to buy, sell or invest in Real Estate feel welcome to contact me at 416-901-8777 or email me at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Toronto Real Estate Blog: Just Listed! Very Nice Downtown Condo. Great Value...

Toronto Real Estate Blog: Just Listed! Very Nice Downtown Condo. Great Value...:   View more photos here Good Size 730 Sq Ft Condo Unit In An Excellent Downtown Location! Great Value For The Square Footage! Located...

Just Listed! Very Nice Downtown Condo. Great Value for the sq footage.


Good Size 730 Sq Ft Condo Unit In An Excellent Downtown Location! Great Value For The Square Footage! Located Just Steps To Ttc,Ryerson,Metro Grocery,Eaton Centre,Hospitals And Dundas Sq. Features Incl. New Laminate Floors,New Paint Throughout,All New Appliances,Large Master Bedroom With Double Closets,A Nice Size Kitchen Overlooking Dining Area, A Large 4 Pc Bath W/Jacuzzi. Pet Friendly Building. Great Value!
Amenities Incl.24 Hr Concierge,Lovely Rooftop Patio With Hot Tub,Gazebo And Bbq Area,Exercise Room,Party Room,Rec Room,Sauna. All Appliances Incl. New Fridge,Stove,Dishwasher,Washer,Dryer.En-Suite Laundry In Unit.Visitors Parking Area.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Just Listed! Fully Renovated Chine Drive Home!

Totally Renovated Detached Home On Desirable Chine Drive,South Of Kingston Rd. Great Setting & Area! Beautifully Finished With A Renovated Kitchen W/Quartz Counters & Island,New Stainless Steel Appliances,New Hardwood Flooring Throughout,Two Newly Renovated Bathrooms, An Upper Floor Master Bedroom With A W/I Closet, A Large Basement With Separate Entrance & Easily Converted Into Apartment!New 15Mm Laminate Floors In Basement(They Look Like Hardwood)
Rough In For Kitchen In Basement,Large Laundry Room With New Washer/Dryer,Large Storage Room Off Of Rec Room.All Mechanical Components Updated Incl. Electrical Panel,Plumbing,Furnace & A/C. Hard To Find A Home Like This. Truly A Must See!

For more pictures and info visit:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Just Listed! Wonderful Westney Heights Ajax Home! Great for First time buyer or investor! Check it out.

Desirable Westney Heights Two Storey Detached Home Just Steps To Schools,Ttc And All Amenities! Great Home For First Time Buyer Or Investor! Good Condition With An Updated Kitchen W/Breakfast Bar, Newer Hardwood Floors On Main Floor, A Walk Out To Nice Size Yard, Three Good Size Bedrooms, A Renovated Upper Floor Bath, A Fully Finished Basement With A Bedroom,4 Pc Bath, And A Large Rec Room. Good Bones And Great Value For A Detached Home In Prime Ajax!
Fenced Yard,Single Car Garage And Private Drive, Roof Reshingled In 2006, New Laminate Floor In Basement,Upper Floor Bath Recently Renovated. Appliances Incl. Frige,Stove,Washer,Dryer,Dishwasher,.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just Listed!

Nice Large Three Level Chalet Style Townhome In A Great Location Just Steps To Warden Subway,Grocery Stores,Schools(Danforth Gardens,Satec,St.Joachim Catholic), And All Amenities. Great Complex With Well Maintained Grounds And Low Maintenance Fees. Features Of This Townhome Include A Large Living Room With A Walk Out To A Fenced Yard,An Elevated Formal Dining Area,An Eat-In Kitchen,A Main Floor Ensuite Laundry Room, And Three Nice Size Upper Floor Bedrooms.
Also Features Lots Of Closet And Storage Space, A Finished Basement With 2Pc Bath & Rec/Bdrm. Exterior Features Well Kept Grounds, A Private Driveway And An Additional 1 Car Garage. Great Home For The First Time Buyer Or Emtpy Nester!

For more info visit:

Canadian home sales rise in March

Ottawa, ON, April 15, 2013 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales edged upward on a month-over-month basis in March 2013 but stayed well below levels recorded one year ago.
  • National home sales rose 2.4% from February to March.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity came in 15.3% below levels in March 2012.
  • The number of newly listed homes was up 3.2% from February to March.
  • The Canadian housing market remains firmly in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 2.5% on a year-over-year basis in March.
  • The MLS® HPI rose 2.2% in March, its smallest gain in more than two years.
The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of real estate Boards and Associations and other co-operative listing systems in Canada rose 2.4 per cent on a month-over-month basis in March 2013.
Home sales improved in more than half of all local markets from February to March, led by gains in Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, Greater Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon, Hamilton-Burlington, and Kitchener-Waterloo.
“National sales have been holding fairly stable since last summer,” said CREA President Laura Leyser. “We’ll be watching closely as the spring market picks up to see whether the March sales increase marks the beginning of an improving trend. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that local market conditions often can and do differ from what’s reported at the national level, so buyers and sellers really should speak to their REALTOR® to understand how the housing market is shaping up where they live or might like to.”
Sales in March were constrained by the Easter holiday and an extra full weekend at the end of the month, the latter of which is known as a “trading day effect,” and both of which generally result in sales being held back. Seasonal adjustment strips out normal seasonal fluctuations and trading day effects that otherwise affect the data. It puts data on an equal footing so that data for any two months can be meaningfully compared to each other and to underlying economic fundamentals.
“Easter and trading day factors combined effectively to cut March sales short,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Activity in the months ahead will reveal whether the monthly improvement in seasonally adjusted March sales reflects technical seasonal adjustment factors or a fundamental improvement in demand.”
“That said, the factors that crimped March sales this year were not in play for the same month last year, resulting in speculation that the gap between sales activity this March and March of last year would be bigger than it was in February. That the gap in fact improved marginally speaks to the resilience of housing demand in Canada,” Klump said.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity came in 15.3 per cent below levels reported in March 2012, compared to a year-over-year decline in February sales of 15.9 per cent. Although transactions remained down from year ago levels in more than 90 per cent of all local markets, the gap diminished in a number of large urban markets including Greater Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Montreal, and Quebec City. As was the case in February, Edmonton was the only large urban market in which monthly sales surpassed year-ago levels.
“Analysis will likely continue to focus on how sales remain down from last year, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise given that mortgage regulations and lending guidelines at that time were yet to be tightened,” said Klump. “Since those factors came into force, national home sales have held fairly steady, notwithstanding the rise in seasonally adjusted March sales.”
The number of newly listed homes rose 3.2 per cent month-over-month in March. New listings were up in about two thirds of all local markets, led by Greater Toronto, Montreal, London and St. Thomas, and Calgary.
With sales and new listings having climbed in tandem, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was little changed at 49.9 per cent in March compared to 50.3 per cent in February. This measure has held fairly steady around this level for the past eight months. Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60 per cent, slightly over 60 per cent of all local markets were in balanced market territory in March.
The number of months of inventory is another important measure of balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and it too was little changed in March.
chart of interest01 (E)Nationally, there were 6.5 months of inventory at the end of March 2013. This was down from 6.7 months reported at the end of February, resulting from the increase in sales combined with a third consecutive decline in the overall supply of homes for sale. “The number of months of inventory remains elevated but stable in the wake of recent changes to mortgage rules and lending guidelines,” said Klump.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in March 2013 was $378,532, representing an increase of 2.5 per cent from the same month last year.
Fewer sales compared to year-ago levels in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto continue exerting a gravitational pull on the national average sale price, but price gains in Calgary and Edmonton are increasingly putting upward pressure on the national average.
As evidence of this, excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto from the national average price calculation yields a year-over-year increase of 4.3 per cent, while only excluding Calgary and Edmonton yields a year-over-year increase of just 1.9 per cent.
The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) is not affected by changes in the mix of sales the way that average price is. For that reason, it provides the best gauge of Canadian home price trends.
Chart of Interest 3 (EN)The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose 2.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis in March. This marks the eleventh time in as many months that the year-over-year gain shrank and the slowest rate of increase in more than two years.
Year-over-year price gains decelerated for all Benchmark property types tracked by the index. Price growth remained strongest for one-storey single family homes (+3.4 per cent), followed by two-storey single family homes (+2.5 per cent), townhouse/row units (+2.1 per cent), and apartment units (+0.4 per cent).
Year-over-year price growth in the aggregate MLS® HPI for all Benchmark property types combined also slowed in all markets tracked by the index.
The MLS® HPI again rose fastest in Calgary (+7.7 per cent), followed by Regina (+4.2 per cent), Greater Toronto (+2.9 per cent), Greater Montreal (+2.0 per cent), and the Fraser Valley (+0.1 per cent). In Greater Vancouver, the MLS® HPI slipped further into negative territory, posting a 3.9 per cent year-over-year decline in March.
- 30 -
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month.
CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.
MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 106,000 REALTORS® working through more than 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Bank of Canada signals rates to remain on hold even longer

The Bank of Canada kept its key policy rate at 1 per cent on April 17th 2013. It has been unchanged at this level for more than two and a half years.
In its April policy rate announcement, the Bank lowered its forecast for Canadian economic growth to 1.5 per cent this year. Its previous forecast published in January predicted growth of 2 per cent in 2013.
The Bank’s new forecast is in line with the recently downgraded outlook issued by the International Monetary Fund and is slightly more pessimistic than the consensus forecast by private sector economic forecasts.
The Bank still expects growth to pick up later this year, but pushed the improvement further out into the second half of 2013. For 2014, the Bank is forecasting growth of 2.8 per cent, up slightly from the previous forecast of 2.7 per cent, with similar growth of 2.7 per cent in 2015.
The Bank also lowered its forecast for inflation, and extended how long it expects it to remain below the inflation target of 2 per cent (i.e. mid-2015). This represents a considerable shifting of the goalposts; only three months earlier, the Bank projected that this would happen sometime in the second half of 2014.
Much of the rest of the Bank’s April policy rate announcement reiterated its views communicated in its previous statement in March. Notably, the Bank is more comfortable about trends for household debt and the housing sector, describing developments in the latter as “constructive”.
The bottom remains that interest rates this year are going nowhere fast. What’s new is that they’re not likely to be going to be going anywhere fast throughout all of 2014 either, particularly given that inflation expectations remain extremely well anchored.
The Bank does not want to be seen as changing its tune too dramatically, or fuelling expectations that it might even be forced to cut rates. For that reason, the Bank indicated that its next move will likely be to raise interest rates, albeit not for some time. That said, that’s now so far into the future that the Bank is really saying is “we’re not going to raise interest rates.”
As of April 17th, 2013, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 5.14 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous Bank rate announcement on March 6th. The five-year rate had previously remained at 5.24 per cent since the beginning of June 2012.