Investors grapple with higher prices, lower inventory

The latest Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch report points to 17 per cent decrease in transactions last month compared with March 2012. That said, the average selling price rose almost 4 per cent, rising from $512,700 in 2012 to $519,879. The numbers appear to be on par with the TREB forecast of a 3.5 per cent annual rate of growth, with an average price of $515,000.

Historically, the “spring swing” has been a buoyant time for the Toronto market, with the months of April and May seeing the number of sales surpassing the 10,000+ mark.

This March, just 7,765 properties exchanged hands. But according to Richard Silver, salesperson (ABR, ePRO) Sotheby's International Realty Canada, this could be a sign that the spring market is just around the corner.

“Activity is down because there is very little product, therefore prices paid for existing product is higher because most are selling over asking,” he says. “As the product comes to the market in the next few weeks, prices will level out and you will see more sales.”

Erica Mary Smith, president of the Condo Chicks, agrees that investors needn’t be worried by the change of pace.

Tightened mortgage rules and worries about Land Transfer Tax have stifled first-time home-buying, and this is likely contributing to the reduced activity. But where investors are concerned, she still sees daily sales.

“Just last week, we had an investor client purchase a 2,000 sq. ft. unit at $600/sq. ft.,” she says. “There’s always a lot of media speculation, but qualified investors aren’t deterred. There is still a huge demand for rental units in Toronto. Our clients list them, and they’re gone within 1 or 2 hours.”

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