The most common question agents on our team get is, by far, this one.
“How’s the market?”
We know that the question they’re really asking is much more specific, even if they don’t realize it.
This is because there’s no such thing as “the” market. At any given moment in time, the level of supply and demand for a particular price point, housing type and geographic location varies tremendously depending on each variable.
Any client who asks how the market is doing is actually more interested in a specific market that has relevance to them.
- If they’re thinking about buying a condo, they want to know how the condo market for a certain price point is doing.
- If they bought their townhouse two years ago, they likely want to know how the market for that sort of property in their area has done recently.
- If they are planning on selling their detached house in the city to move to the country, they actually want to know how those two markets are doing.
Due to the work we do with our clients we’re exposed to the variances between markets and we thought we’d take a bit of a dive into the recent (May, 2023) stats to give some examples of just how different things can be depending on the property type, location and price point.
Here we go!
How’s the market for different types of properties?
The first way to look at how “the” market is doing is to drill down into the different housing types and what’s going on in each of these markets.
We pulled the latest statistics (May, 2023) for all of the GTA and then examined the market for all property types before we looked at each of the four main housing types. Here’s what we found.
The average price for a home in the GTA went up $42,000 in May compared to April. Despite that 3.7% month over month increase, the average property in the GTA lost about $14,000 in value when you compare to May, 2022.
There you go. The market is going up strongly right now, but it’s still cheaper to buy now than a year ago.
Hold on a second though.
That’s “the” market, for all property types in the GTA. What if we segment “the” market by housing types?
It turns out that the $42,000 month over month increase is really comprised of two different groupings.
Townhouses and condo apartments went up about $24,000 month over month, and semi-detached and detached houses went up by about $64,000 month over month. So it was a good May for all home owners in terms of price appreciation, but it was a hot month for people at or near the top of the property ladder and less so for those on the lower priced side of the market.
If we look at each housing type a year ago compared to now, we see very different stories. Remember that on average, homeowners in the GTA lost $14,000 in value in the past year.
Unless you owned a condo apartment, when you actually lost about $22,000 in the last year, or a semi-detached house, where you lost about $6,000.
The story is a bit rosier for detached houses in the GTA, which went up, on average, about $10,000 in the past year. The big winner though, are townhouses, which went up $54,000 in the last year.
If you ask about “the” market and rely on the average across the entire GTA and all housing types, it’s likely to be either somewhat or tremendously misleading depending on what type of house you’re talking about.
How’s the market in different areas?
Now let’s talk about what’s going in different parts of the GTA.
Remember, the average price for a home in the GTA went up $42,000 in May compared to April. Despite that 3.7% month over month increase, the average property in the GTA lost about $14,000 in value when you compare to May, 2022.
If you used what’s going on in “the” market, you’d say prices are going up, but still haven’t recovered from the price drops in the past year. Is that true if you look in different areas though? No, it is not.
Dufferin and Halton both saw the average price drop in May, going down by about $16,000 on a month over month basis when compared to April. If you were selling in either of those places and thought you’d likely get more than your neighbour did last month based on what you read abut “the” market, you’d probably be a bit upset to hear the reality for your area.
The rest of the GTA did see prices go up, but it varied a fair bit.
Durham, Peel and Simcoe went up by between $32K to $38K on a month over month basis, so a bit less than the average increase from April to May that the GTA average went up.
That’s a lot better than Dufferin and Halton, but it’s also a lot better than York, which only went up $8,000 month over month.
The reason the average was up $42,000 has a lot to do with Toronto, which saw a $77,000 month over month increase and pulled up the average for the GTA as a result.
The average for the GTA market is a bit more reliable of the individual markets when we look at the change since a year ago (May, 2022) but that average drop in price of $14,000 in the last year is made up of a range of losses going from just $6,500 in Durham to over $92,000 in Simcoe.
We even have one outright opposite market in York, where the average price is up $14,000 from April to May. That’s the opposite of what “the” market on average shows, and it is a great example of how relying on averages can be very misleading.
How’s the market depending on your budget?
The last type of market that exists is harder to describe using market stats.
If someone asks about the market, but they are wondering about a specific price point, such as an entry level property under $800K, or a mover-upper wanting to buy around the $2M mark, then there is no doubt those markets have different levels of supply and demand.
When we look at the level of sales at different price points in May, 2023, we see very big differences between the price points.
If you were looking to buy a freehold house in the GTA under $750K in May, you were looking in a tough price point, with only 143 sales in the entire month within that price band.
On the other hand, if you had a budget between $1M and $1.5M, you would have been part of the highest level of sales price point, with over 2,500 sales in May.
As we go up further, the number of sales start to decline and by the time we hit $2M to $2.5M, the number of sales are similar to what we saw in the under $750K band, with just 155 sales of properties in the $2M to $2.5M band in the GTA.
If we reviewed the condo market, we’d see a similar range of activity depending on price point, with lots more options in the under $750K. How many more options? Well, we had 143 sales of freehold homes in May in the $500K to $750K range and we had over 2,200 condo units sell in that very same price point.
Anyone who uses “the” market stats as a proxy for what is happening in a specific price point is likely to be quite surprised at how different their desired budget range looks from the market as a whole.