7 charts that show how Canada's housing market is getting back on its feet after a serious drop

This is a really well laid out summary of all of the major indications to watch in the real estate market, complete with visually simple and clear charts. BuzzBuzznews does a nice job of explaining sales so it’s clear they are talking about transaction volume, and then they separately address price, which is the thing all homeowners care about. They also show how the market has shifted to lower priced properties (mostly driven by the new mortgage qualification rules) and the resulting trend toward alternatives to detached homes, such as apartments/condo’s and townhouses.



"What’s going on here: The Toronto Real Estate Board shows how home sales have varied on a month-to-month basis over the past three years.

The takeaway: Sales are inching up month-over-month in the GTA, though they’re still well below previous years. It could be a sign that sales will continue to climb in the coming months." According to BuzzBuzzNews


The net–net: prices are set to rise, and it’s a balanced market so its good time to move out of one property (sell) and get into another (buy).  We’re here to help understand the market as we see it, and particularly the effect of the last week of sunny weather. Call any time.  905-220-7993




Be careful when making a home purchase offer without a Financing Condition 

- Couple ordered to pay $470,000 after reneging on Ontario home deal



A recent Toronto Start article highlighted the risk of not including a Financing Condition on your house purchase offer.  Back in late 2016 and early 2017, it became customary to see buyers making home purchases with no conditions, i.e., not conditional on financing. Many buyers subsequently bought homes, and then were unable to close, as the price of their existing feel with the market correction.  Many of those buyers are now in court attempting to recover their deposits.  The first of those cases in Ontario has now reached a conclusion, with the defaulting buyers now obligated to pay damages of $470,000!



Damages associated with backing away from a firm (no conditions) house purchase can be quite extensive, as they include the drop in price of the subject home, in the time from the initial deal (housing price peak) to the sale price when the house was later relisted and resold at a lower market.  As an example, if a house sold with no conditions in the spring of 2017, for $1.0 million, and then had to be relisted and resold after the market correction, for 15% less at $850,000, the damages would include the price reduction of $150,000.  Legal costs could also be awarded.


We’re likely to see many more of these stories as these many cases work their way through the Ontario courts.    


Firm buyers often win in competition, and although the market is fairly balanced now, we still see competition for some properties.  Should buyers go firm on house purchases?  It’s obviously risky.  In some cases the seller will not resist giving the buyer the deposit back.  In others, the seller is willing to go to court for damages.   If you’re dealing with a mortgage broker, he/she should help you figure out.  If not, call us and we’ll connect you to our mortgage broker – she’s outstanding and has helped many of our clients.


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GTA Home Pricing is far better than most reports imply.


From a pricing standpoint, the spring GTA Housing Market is better than many publications imply.  To understand why, we need to put the current market in context.  It’s a unique time in the history of housing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as a result of the previous three successive years (2016, 2015 and 2014) in which we saw unprecedented annual price increases, first 10% then 20% and then a 35% jump! That three year backdrop makes it easy to misunderstand, and easy to be misled by, current announcements of real estate market statistics.  Most year-over-year reports on PRICE are indicating a 15% drop March 2018 over March 2017, along with speculation about the reasons (government intervention, mortgage qualification rules and interest rate fears).  But if you’ve owned a home for the last four years, even with this latest 15% price drop, you’ve made a spectacular and rare return on investment, and its tax free for most people.  Home equity has increased dramatically in that time. 




Is a 15% PRICE DROP good or bad?  Obviously if you’re planning to sell soon, a small portion of your recent equity growth has been eroded. But the price drop is also a good thing in some ways.  Market speculators are leaving the housing market since flipping a home is no longer a safe bet. Speculators represent a false element of home demand, so it’s a good thing that the market is now less driven by their activity.  Also, the price drop over the last twelve months is a long-expected correction of a previously unsustainable price surge.  The market is now returning to a balanced position, where neither the buyer nor the seller has a consistent upper hand.  Balanced markets are good for all consumers, as it reduces the likelihood of catastrophic mistakes by those who cannot afford them (like the homeowners who bought not-yet-built homes at the highest price points of the market, hoping to sell their current home later at a market-peak price, only to discover that they are now in real trouble because they overpaid for the new build and cannot afford to sell their existing home at current prices.)


Click the link to read economist Derek Holt’s view, written by Sarah Niedoba





Consumers don’t care about housing VOLUME statistics: they care about PRICE


Real estate publications (real estate boards, national newspapers and various associations) write their reports in a way that confuses consumers. Consumers of their analysis cannot easily interpret the reporting of SALES VOLUME from the reporting of PRICE CHANGES.  Homebuyers and sellers care about PRICE, and yet the reporting typically starts with an inarticulate reference to the market TRANSACTION VOLUME, not PRICE.


GTA housing prices


Here’s a recent example:

According to data released by (…a real estate board) last week, sales were down a whopping 39.5 per cent year-over-year in March (2018).


Homeowners read this and think the worst – that their home is now worth 39% less. That's not true. 


These reports start by confusingly highlighting something that most consumers really don’t care about and don’t want to learn about – TRANSACTION VOLUME. The word “Sales” means transaction volume.  It’s the number of homes that changed hands.  Who cares about VOLUME?  Economists, newspapers and market analysts.  To them it implies something about the evolving state of the economy. 


The thing that consumers care about is home PRICE.  When consumers read most reports on the housing market, the reader must diligently wade past the confusing “Sales” mentions, and get to the portion on PRICE.  I look forward to the point when these publishers recognize the consumer need and clearly state their findings in capital letters, with the most important topic first.  Here’s what that would look like:


Housing PRICES are up/down by X% in the last year-over-year period.

Housing TRANSACTIONS are up/down by Y% in the same period.


That is actually what these publications are trying to communicate, but as a homeowner/homebuyer reader, you need to be careful and clear minded to distill most reports down to those two points. 


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