Toronto Spring Housing Market Analysis
By Elli Davis, May 30, 2012
As my readers may have noticed, every month I write a short summary of the newly released housing report for the Greater Toronto Area. Looking at my last article, I thought it would be a great idea to include some information about new listings, building permits, and housing starts in Toronto as well.
Toronto by Doc Searls
Sales and Listings
In March 2012, 9,690 homes were sold in the Greater Toronto Area through the Toronto MLS system. Compared to the 8,986 transactions recorded in March 2011, it is a 7.8 per cent increase. In the City of Toronto alone, the year-to-year rise was not so significant, with the number of sold homes going up from 3,610 to 3,682.
Sales of the majority of housing types in Toronto actually declined in March 2012, but due to an increase in the sales of detached dwellings the overall result is an increase. Detached homes reported 1,287 transactions — up 12 per cent from March 2011. A small decrease was seen in the sales of condo apartments; they went down by 2 per cent to 1,584. The sales of semi-detached dwellings declined by 3 per cent over the year to 388. The number of sold townhouses fell by a more noticeable 7 per cent to 375.
Regarding listings, the numbers were not bad in March. An increase, even though perhaps smaller than we would have liked to see, was recorded in new listings in the Greater Toronto Area. They went up by 7.1 per cent over the year, from 15,224 to 16,308. The number of active listings rose too, but a little less significantly. They went from 16,563 to 16,920, which is a 2.2 per cent growth.
Buildings permits in Canada were worth as much as $6.8 billion in March 2012, up 4.7 per cent from February, with increases recorded in eight provinces. The positive change occurred mainly due to noticeable growth in non-residential permits and in an overall significant rise in Ontario.
The value of non-residential permits in our country rose by 13.9 per cent to its highest level since June 2010: $2.9 billion. Increases were recorded in most of the provinces, with the most significant growth seen, as mentioned above, in Ontario. On the other hand, the value of residential permits declined by 1.3 per cent to $3.9 billion. This decrease was the third consecutive monthly fall. Increases were, however, recorded in a few provinces. The most significant rise occurred in Alberta.
Construction intentions in the institutional component of the non-residential sector went up by an amazing 88.4 per cent to $973 million, which was the highest level since October 2011. In Ontario, the rise was mainly caused by higher construction intentions for government buildings and medical facilities. On the contrary, construction intentions in the industrial component of the non-residential sector declined by 42.8 per cent to $408 million. Less intentions for manufacturing plants in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario can be blamed for the decrease.
Buildings by Mindgrow
The value of permits for commercial buildings rose 15.3 per cent to $1.5 billion. High construction intentions for a variety of buildings, from restaurants to laboratories, were the main reason for this increase. Seven provinces recorded growth, with Ontario leading the list.
In the residential sector, construction intentions went down for both single- and multi-family dwellings. The value of single-family homes fell for the third time in a row, by 1.7 per cent to $2.3 billion. The largest decrease was seen in our province. The value of multi-family home permits went down less significantly, by only 0.7 per cent, to $1.6 billion. While this might not seem very good, it is actually 8.6 per cent higher than the level recorded at the same time last year.
As the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 215,600 units in March. In comparison to the 205,300 units in February, it is a nice growth. As Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre, said, the rise can be contributed to an increase in multiple housing starts, especially in Ontario and the Prairies. The positive numbers in these areas compensated for the decline recorded in a number of others.
Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts went up by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March. The rate of urban starts increased by an unbelievable 30.3 per cent in Ontario, which was mainly caused, as mentioned, by the fantastic growth in the multiple starts. The 50.4 per cent increase is truly remarkable, but it will be tough to keep up with this number in the future. If next month, a fall is recorded, it should not come as a surprise.