The Toronto Real Estate Board’s figures for Leaside housing prices look quite good at first glance.
The average selling price for a detached home in the Leaside area exceeded $1.8 million last month. The board’s price index was up 15.5 per cent over the previous year for all homes in the area and up 3.9 per cent (to $1.4 million) for single-family detached homes.
The picture seems much rosier than for most of Toronto, the city as a whole seeing prices actually drop for detached homes.
However, Leaside’s heady figures for December pall somewhat when you take into account that only two detached homes were sold last month.
Plus, although you may think you notice a lot of “For Sale” signs while walking through Leaside, only 14 detached homes had active listings in December and only two new listings were added.
Which explains the seemingly high property values in this area.
“The high prices are due to lack of availability of houses, to low supply,” says Sheree Cerqua, a realtor with 20 years experience in midtown real estate, listing mainly in Leaside and Davisville. “The market is locked a bit.”
It most affects homeowners who are moving up or down. “They want to know, “What am I going to move to?’” Cerqua says. “People want to buy a home first, before they sell, but they can’t because the houses are just not available.”
One option that people, especially downsizing baby boomers, are increasingly considering is condominiums, because condos are more affordable, Cerqua says.
TREB reports 15 condo apartments were sold in the Leaside area in December for an average price of $377,250 — more than a million less than detached home values.
The board blamed the up-and-down housing market in Toronto partly on external factors.
“Much of the sales volatility in 2017 was brought about by government policy decisions,” TREB president Tim Syrianos said in a press release on Jan. 4. He cited the impact of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan and the prospect of the federal banking regulator’s new “stress test” for mortgages which took effect Jan. 1, 2018.
Cerqua adds the recent freezing winter weather and rising interest rates have also been factors in depressing sales.
But she is optimistic the market will come back by the time the weather turns and “once people have digested interest rates going up incrementally and they accept the stress testing.”
In the meantime, anyone who wants to sell in this period of low supply should price their homes accordingly, she says. “Any houses that aren’t selling, it’s because they aren’t priced properly. They’re overpriced.”