Have you ever had someone try to tell you something old is new?

We’re not talking about when something comes back into fashion, or when someone says it’s used, but new to you. We mean when someone shows you something you’ve seen a number of times before and announces, “Look at this new thing I just got!”

It doesn’t happen often because it doesn’t really make much sense. If you were walking down a street of retail stores you’ve walked down many times and you saw a store you’ve been in dozen of times with a sign in the window that said “New Store!” you’d probably be pretty confused. Did they mean new stock? Maybe new owners? If you went inside to discover the exact same products for sale at the same price as last time you were there, with the same owner greeting you, I bet you’d be pretty confused.

Unfortunately, when it comes to real estate and how they’re listed on the MLS system, this is exactly what happens on a very regular basis. If you’ve ever been looking for a home to buy, you are probably very familiar with receiving a notification that says you have X number of new listings that fit your criteria, only to check out the results and see that while some may be new, others are very much properties you’ve already seen and dismissed.

For some reason, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) allows agents to list a property, terminate that property and then relist it as a “new” listing. In some cases, it makes sense, such as when a seller takes some time to renovate or make changes to the property. The property is in fact different than it was before and while certain attributes are the same, it is new in some impactful aspect.

In the majority of cases, however, such relisted properties are exactly the same. Same photos, same attributes, same listing agent. All that changes is the MLS listing number and the days on market. It is even pretty common to see the same price as the prior listing. In essence, all the agent is trying to do is “refresh” the listing in the eyes of the market. The theory is something along the lines of “Well, perhaps you didn’t notice this place for sale for the last two months, so I’m gonna see if pretending it’s newly on the market makes you jump at it.”

We don’t think it is an effective tactic and in our work with buyers, when we see a property that has been relisted multiple times in the recent past, it tells us that the listing agent is grasping at straws and hoping for a miracle.

Every month, TRREB releases a report called a Re-List Share Comparison and It is a great source of information about where this practice is prevalent and how many of the so-called new listings are in fact relists of prior listings. The latest data for May 2024 shows that almost one in four of new listings in the TRREB boundaries is in fact not new, but a relisting. That’s right, 24.1% of all “new” listings last month were not new at all. Keep this in mind whenever you see headlines about how many listings took place in a given area!

We thought we’d share the latest Re-List Share Comparison report and some key take-aways from the data. Let’s get into it.

Straight from the horse’s mouth

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board releases their Re-List Share Comparison each month and while it is publicly available, it can be hard to track down if you’re not a real estate agent. Here is a link to the one page PDF if you want to check out what percentage of “new” listings are actual re-listings in the various markets around the GTA. It covers both the most recent month of full data (May 2024) as well as the YTD data for 2024.

Data is almost always useful, but let’s review the big take-aways.

What are you new, Markham?

In May 2024, the city with the lowest percentage of relists in the GTA was Markham, with just 15.8% of the new listings being comprised of relists. The City of Toronto came in at 23.8% and the area with the largest percentage of not-actually-new-listings was Pickering, with a whopping 31.9% of listings being relists. That’s almost a third and if you were looking to buy in Pickering last month it meant that of the 307 new listings, 98 were actually properties that were on the market before.

One in four ain’t actually new.

If you want a big picture take-away that you can mention at parties to impress people with your insider knowledge of real estate, the average relist share in Toronto and the GTA is 24.1% in May. That basically means that one in four of the so-called new listings is actually a relist. Whenever you read commentary on the number of new listings in a media story, remember that it would be a lot more accurate if they compared the actual new listings from the month against the actual new listings from last month or a year ago.

The YTD data shows us things aren’t getting better.

If we look at the YTD data (January to May 2024) there are some differences compared to how May looks. The big picture for the year is that we had fewer relists taking place earlier in the year compared to now. Our YTD percentage for Toronto and the GTA is 20.8%, so about one in five new listings being relists. That’s better than May’s one in four percentage, which tells us that things are getting worse, with more properties failing to sell and relisting than was typical earlier in the year.

Markham is still near the low end of the scale for the YTD, with 15.2% of their listings this far being relists. They are second, after Adjala-Tosorontio, a mostly rural area in Simcoe County.

The city of Toronto has one fifth of their listings actually being relists so far this year and there is a two-way tie for the least honest new listing stat this year, with both Innisfil and Essa having 25.6% of their reported new listings actually being relists.

If you’re interested in selling and want to avoid being one of these new, but not really new, listings, then we’d love to go over how we make sure our sellers get sold the first time around, for the most amount of money. Get in touch with us to arrange a time to talk!