Greater Toronto Area
After a sluggish start to the year, luxury home sales have finally gained momentum in the Greater
Toronto Area. Sales remain off last year’s heated pace by 11 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, with just 366
homes changing hands over the $1.5 million price point, down from 412 units reported during the
same period in 2012. The top end, however, is still outperforming the overall market, where housing
sales are down 14 per cent year-over-year. January and February saw the greatest decline in unit sales,
while demand improved significantly in March—narrowing the gap between the two quarters. Single-
detached homes remain most coveted in the GTA, representing 93 per cent of sales in the top end. The
most expensive property sold so far this year in the GTA was a 12,000 sq. ft. home on an acre in
south- east Oakville. The price tag? $6.3 million. Despite the popularity of condominium apartments and town
homes overall, only 10 properties sold over $1.5 million, accounting for just three per cent of the market. The
priciest condominium apartment sold was a 5,000 sq. ft. unit with a spectacular view of downtown Toronto for $2.9 million. An ample supply of homes is currently listed for sale. With just under 1,000 units available across the Greater Toronto Area, supply is expected to meet demand in the months ahead. However, some of the blue chip neighbourhoods in the core have reported shortages, especially at the $1.5 million to $2 million price point, where 60 per cent of sales have occurred so far this year (219). Multiple offers are taking place—but at a slower pace than one year ago. Sales over the $2 million mark have pulled down overall statistics in the top
end to some extent, with demand at that price and higher down 15 per cent in Q1 2013 versus Q1 2012.
That said, the central core seems to be holding up better than average, with 103 sales over $2 million,
down just six units from the 109 units reported one year ago. In spite of the dip, the average price of a
single-detached home edged up in the central core, hovering at $2,696,251 in the first quarter, compared
to $2,666,922 during the same period one year ago. A proliferation of infill properties, combined with extensive renovation activity bolstering the quality of the city’s high-end housing stock, has been in large part responsible for the uptick in values. Most proper-ties are still selling for close to list price at an average of 96 per cent. Those in prime locations or offered at attractive price points may command more.
The city’s most competitive transaction to date recorded a sale-to-list price ratio of 119 per cent. Some neigh-bourhoods have posted sales in excess of one year ago. Bucking the trend are Rosedale-Moore Park, where 11 homes changed hands in the first quarter—up one unit from 10 one year ago—and the St. Andrews-Windfields area, where Q1 sales rose from 19 in 2012 to 21 in 2013. Upper-end sales—over $1.5 million—are also up in Oakville, with 38 homes sold in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 23 per cent over the 31 sales reported during the same period one year earlier. Affluent purchasers are also attracted to the city’s west end, including prestigious neigh-bourhoods such as the Kingsway, Edenbridge, Thorn-crest Village, Princess Anne Manor, and Baby Point. Inventory is limited, however, with approximately 50 homes currently listed for sale. Although there are fewer upper end homes over all in the city’s east end, activity is brisk, having gained considerable momentum in recent weeks. Entry-level luxury homes, priced from $1 million to $2 million, are selling quickly. Infill lots are also being snapped up almost as soon as they come on stream. Less than 100 homes are currently listed for sale over $5 million in the Greater Toronto Area, including the most expensive—a 10,000 sq. ft. condominium located in the heart of Yorkville. Offered at $19 million, the price tag exceeds the value of the GTA’s priciest single-detached listing—a waterfront estate in Oakville at almost $17 million.
The most expensive home in Toronto proper is a contemporary gem, boasting 18,000 sq. ft. with a premier Toronto address, listed for close to $14 million. While the number of luxury home sales fell short of peak 2012 levels in the first quarter, their share of the residential resale market continues to climb. The top end now accounts for 2.07 per cent of all home-buying activity in the GTA, up from 1.95 per cent during the same period in 2012. Solid economic fundamentals are expected to support the upper end moving forward, with the strongest demand experienced in areas that are located in close proximity to transportation and the downtown core. The upswing in activity will be most evident in the coming months as confidence among luxury buyers gains greater traction. Sales are forecast to end the year on par with 2012 levels, hovering in and around 1,600 units—posting the second-best year on record.