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President's Toronto SUN Column

TREB President's Column as it appears every Friday in the Toronto Sun's Resale Homes and Condos section.

Transactions Take A Dip

December 21, 2012 -- A moderate number of resale home transactions took place throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in November, with 5,793 homes changing hands. This represented a 16 per cent decrease from 6,908 sales in November 2011.

In Toronto 2,308 transactions took place last month compared to 2,952 sales a year ago - a decline of nearly 28 per cent. Meanwhile 3,485 homes changed hands in the 905 Regions, a decrease of more than 13 per cent from 3,956 sales in November 2011.

A key factor that has influenced the dip in sales experienced in recent months relates to the changes in mortgage lending guidelines that came into effect in July. The changes reduced the maximum amortization period from 30 years to 25 years and set a purchase price ceiling for government backed insured mortgages at one million dollars. These regulations have resulted in some households putting their decision to purchase on hold while they save up more money for a down payment and/or experience an increase in their income. Adding to this situation in the City of Toronto is the additional upfront Land Transfer Tax, which takes money from home buyers that could otherwise be used to offset the high costs of home ownership.

While sales decreased year-over-year in November, a modest overall price increase was reported, with the average price of a GTA home reaching $485,328. This represented an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to a year ago.
The 905 Region, with an average price of $463,779, showed a price increase of four per cent compared to a half-percent decrease in the City of Toronto average home price, which was $517,866.

The pace of average price growth in November was slower than what was experienced for much of 2012, especially in the low-rise segment of the market. This was largely due to the fact that the mix of single detached homes sold in the City of Toronto this past November changed relative to last year. Specifically, the share of homes that sold for over one million dollars was down considerably.

While the mix of home types sold may have changed, market conditions remained tight for low-rise home types. This is evident when we consider the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) for the GTA. The MLS® HPI tracks the price change for benchmark homes – in other words: a home with the same attributes over time. When we look at price through this lens, we find that the benchmark price for major home types was up by 4.6 per cent in the GTA as a whole and 3.9 per cent for the City of Toronto.

News on the employment front was positive in November, as the Toronto seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 8.2 per cent, from 8.6 per cent the previous month. Interest rates remain largely unchanged, with a five year fixed mortgage rate of just over three per cent continuing to be available.

At this time of year I am often asked whether it is prudent to list one’s home for sale over the holidays, and there are in fact, many benefits to doing so. Consider that those viewing homes at this time of year are more likely to be serious buyers. As well, homes often look their best when they are decorated for the holidays, and a favourable emotional response to a property often prompts an offer.

I encourage you to talk to a Greater Toronto REALTOR® about the many other factors you should consider before choosing to make your next move and in the meantime, be sure to visit www.TorontoRealEstateBoard.com for all of the latest updates on the market.

Ann Hannah is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 35,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

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Archive
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 2012
November 30

Navigating Your Way Through Canada’s Housing Market

October 12

Buyers Always Benefit

September 21

Education Is A Lifelong Commitment

September 14

Learn About Up-And-Coming Neighbourhoods

September 7

Emphasis Will Always Be On Professional Services

August 24

Torontonians To Get Things Right

August 17

Resale Home Activity Continues At A Solid Pace

August 3

REALTORS® Have Access To All Kinds Of Information

July 20

Let's Recognize Those Who Do Good Work

July 13 New Mortgage Rules Won’t Hurt Affordability
July 6 It’s all about growing along with our clients
June 29 A look at Mortgage Lending Guideline Changes
June 22 Expect Number Of New Listings To Increase
June 15 Working To Repeal The Land Transfer Tax
June 1 TREB Announces Commercial Building Awards
May 25 Serving Others Is The Highest Honour Of All
May 18 Standing up for Homeowners’ right to privacy
May 4 REALTORS® offer key to a better life
April 20 Affordable Homeownership Benefits Us All
March 30 Keep Your Home Insurance Costs In Line
March 2 It Pays To Lower Your Expectations
February 24 Homes Continue To Sell Quickly
February 17 New Tool Measures Price of Home
February 10 New Building Awards Will Benefit Our City
January 27 Tightening market will mean higher prices
January 13 Expect demand to be strong in 2012
 2011
December 30 Finishing the year on a high note
December 8 It’s Time to Lend a Helping Hand
November 25 Helping those less fortunate
November 18 Building up to National Housing Day
October 28 First-Time Buyers Have Lots Of Options
October 21 Using A Realtor To Buy A New Home
October 14 Celebrating Many Years Of Service
October 7 Renovation Rebate Would Benefit Homeowners
September 30 Land Transfer Taxes Unfair to Home Buyers
September 23 Energy Rebates Should Be A Priority
September 16 Tell City Hall to Target Waste, Not Home Buyers
September 2 Realtors ride for a great cause
August 26 Strong economy sees numbers boosted
August 19 New Web Site Easy to Use
August 15 Learn to keep termites at bay
August 9

Public and Businesses See Eye-to-Eye on Municipal Finance Issues

July 22 Know when it's time to renovate
July 8 Treat first-time buyers fairly
June 17 Time To Repeal The Land Transfer Tax
June 10 Take a tour of the virtual office
June 3 Parking red tape should be streamlined
May 27 Helpful Advice Is Keystrokes Away
May 20 Taking a walk through REALTOR® QUEST
May 13 The social side of real estate
May 6 Staying on top of municipal issues
Apr. 29 Expect demand to remain strong
Apr. 22 Know what to look for in a condo
Apr. 15 Choosing between new and resale
Apr. 8 Learn to use the tools of the trade
Apr. 1 Expect demand to remain healthy
Mar. 25 City needs to cut parking red tape
Mar. 11 Select the right neighbourhood
Mar. 4 Consider investing in a fixer-upper
Feb. 25 Expect homes to remain affordable
Feb. 18 REALTORS® help clarify parking rules
Feb. 11 Learn the benefits of going online
Feb. 4 Increase the value of your resale
Jan. 28 Know the value of a REALTOR®
Jan. 21 Move is on to repeal an unfair tax
Jan. 14 Choose a home that fits your style
 2010
Dec. 17 Working Hard to Make a Difference
Nov. 19 Sorting out HST misconceptions
Nov. 12 Give more thought to going green
Nov. 5 All signs point to a healthy market
Oct. 29 Green your home and save money
Oct. 15 Keeping your best interest in mind
Oct. 8 All signs point to a healthy market
Oct. 1 Condos have become a way of life
Sept. 24 Setting the HST record straight
Sept. 17 Coming to 'Terms' with Real Estate
Sept. 10 Growing Up and going green
Sept. 3 Keeping your best interest in mind
July 16 Charity begins and ends at Home
July 9 Saving the HST with Resale Housing
July 2 Recognizing Our Volunteer Efforts
June 25 Getting to know all your options
June 18 Embracing Diversity in the GTA
May 28 REALTORS® need to know quite a lot
May 14 April transactions nearly met record
May 7 Shopping for the best deal in Town
Apr. 30 The Hidden costs of moving
Apr. 23 Knowing all the local options
Apr. 16 Many ways to cut energy costs
Apr. 2 It pays to renovate before you sell
Mar. 26 Working in your best interests
Mar. 12 Growing Tax burden is taking its toll
Mar. 5 A Professional Touch
Feb. 26 Registry links buyers to homes
Feb. 19 Mitigating the HST tax threat
Feb. 12 Expect strong start to 2010 to continue
Feb. 5 Helping those in desperate need in Haiti
Jan. 29 Having a green home provides savings and peace-of-mind
Jan. 22 REALTORS® assist with Rentals Too
Jan. 15 REALTORS® Give Back
Jan. 8 Why our REALTORS® are the envy of the world
 2009
Dec. 11 Making the jump to home ownership
Dec. 4 Your kind of town, Toronto is
Nov. 27 Emerging Neighbourhoods
Nov. 20 Mid-Month market report: The economic recovery continues
Nov. 13 There's More to us than MLS
Nov. 06 Fix-up Frenzy
Oct. 30 A Taxing Issue: Let's call on future mayor to roll back LTT
Oct. 23 Where to buy
Oct. 16 Value Added
Oct. 10 Market report
Sept. 25 NO sense of harmony
Sept. 18 Vertical City - The GTA is growing up and going green
Sept. 11 Go Site-seeing
Sept. 04 A changing shade of grey
August 28 Gateway to the World
August 21 Vertical City – Toronto is Growing Up
August 14 A new way to hunt for homes
August 7 Home Away from Home
July 31 The Canadian Dream
July 24 Move or Improve
July 17 Weathering the Storm
July 10 Mid-year market report
June 26 Making the Right Connections
June 19 Condo City
June 12 More co-op on grow ops
June 5 Investing in Real Estate
May 29 The News is Good
May 22 Ownership Housing Plays Important Role
May 15 REALTORS® Invest Time to Improve
May 8 REALTORS® take message to Ottawa
May 1 REALTOR® Education
Apr. 24 Community Spirit Alive
Apr. 17 Tech tools of the trade
Apr. 10 Public Wants Toronto Land Transfer Tax Repealed
Apr. 03 Invest In Future
Mar. 27 Agents of Change
Mar. 20 Harmonized Sales Tax Would Hurt Home Buyers
Mar. 13 Actions Speak Louder than Words on Affordable Housing
Mar. 06 Market review: 2009 so far
Feb. 20 Scholarships offered by real estate board
Feb. 13 Make Home Owners Priority of City Budget
Feb. 06 Federal Budget Helps Home Buyers and Owners
Jan. 30 January's Resale Housing Market Report
Jan. 23 TREB to Feds: More help to Homebuyers
Jan. 16 Lifestyles in the 416 and 905
 2008
Dec. 19 Be prepared for closing costs
Dec. 12 Toronto Land Transfer Tax Costs City's Economy $170 million
Dec. 5 Understand your privacy and rights
Nov. 28 Seasons of Real Estate
Nov. 21 Setting the Stage for a Sale
Nov. 14 The Ins and Outs of Inspections
Nov. 7 Outlook still good for GTA
Oct. 31 Taking Advantage of Taxes
Oct. 24 The Ins and Outs of Insurance
Oct. 17 Fighting Back Against Fraud
Oct. 10 Local Market Holds Steady
Oct. 3 Show Good Form During a Deal
Sept. 26 Using Equity to Your Advantage
Sept. 19 Choices Abound but Choose Carefully
Sept. 12 GTA Housing Market Stable
Sept. 5 Points to Ponder This Fall
Aug. 29 Don't Take This For Granted
Aug. 22 A Helping Hand
Aug. 15 A Market Report for July
Aug. 8 A Primer on Attracting Buyers
Aug. 1 Returns on RENOs
July 25 New Federal Mortgage Rules
July 18 Revitalizing the Big Smoke
July 11 Condos Changing the GTA
July 4 Feeding the City's Future
June 27 Recognizing Volunteers
June 20 Buyers, Be Aware of the New Rules
June 13 The Market Remains Healthy
June 6 Reasons to Pick a REALTOR®
May 30 The Power of MLS
May 23 Greening Up Resale Homes
May 16 A Quest for Knowledge
May 9 Lobbying Goes a Long Way
May 2 Toronto Compared
Apr. 25 Beware of Hidden Development Charges
Apr. 18 From the President
Apr. 11 Guarding Against Grow-Ops
Apr. 4

The Importance of the Budget

Mar. 28 Another Way to Invest in Real Estate
Mar. 21 Federal Budget Misses Opp
Mar. 14 Prepare Now for a Spring Move
Mar. 7 Remember to Budget for City's Budget
Feb. 29 From the President