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Those hoping to become first-time buyers in the Greater Toronto Area are under increasing pressure as soaring rents make saving for a downpayment tougher.
Urbanation says that the average condo rents in the last three months of 2016 rose 11.7 per cent compared to a year earlier with renters paying almost $2,000. The pace of rent increases was a sharp contrast to the 4.2 per cent annual rise recorded a year earlier.
“The undersupply of rentals in the GTA continued to worsen throughout the year, causing rents to surge alongside home prices and further deteriorating housing affordability across the region” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s Senior Vice President.
Supply of rental condos in the GTA has declined as owners have chosen to sell properties due to higher prices. It means that total rental listings fell 8 per cent with lease volumes down 4 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.
For the whole of 2016 there were 26,602 condo units rented through the MLS, down 2 per cent from a year earlier.
Applications for new purpose-built rental units increased by more than 7,500 in the fourth quarter but Hildebrand is concerned about the future.
“While less pressure on rent growth may arrive in 2017 due to a temporary rise in new apartment completions, it’s become clear that more attention needs to be paid to building rentals over the longer-term,” he added.
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Source: Ephraim Vecina , Canadian Real Estate Wealth
The average home price in the Greater Toronto Area increased by approximately 20 per cent year-over-year in December (up to $730,472), and the city’s real estate board attributed this development to the cumulative effects of various economic and demographic realities.
“A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region's population continued to grow in 2016,” TREB president Larry Cerqua said on January 5, as quoted by CBC News.
The average selling price for 2016 as a whole grew by 17.3 per cent compared to the previous year, up to $729,922.
Alongside these factors, intensified competition due to the scarcity of active listings—which have reached their lowest levels in 15 years last month—is spurring the Toronto market’s continuous price growth.
“Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost four per cent,” TREB director of market analysis Jason Mercer said. “What we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale.”
Despite the tighter conditions, Toronto’s sales volume actually grew by 8.6 per cent year-over-year in December, up to 5,338 deals across all housing types.
For the entirety of 2016, TREB agents completed 113,133 transactions through the region’s MLS system, representing 11.8 per cent annual growth
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This is how the new mortgage rules have impacted housing markets across the country.
“First-time home buyers looking to get into the market before having to face tougher mortgage eligibility criteria had only two weeks to do so following the Finance Minister’s announcement of tighter mortgage regulations in early October,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Early evidence suggests that the influence of tighter mortgage regulations on sales activity has been mixed.
“The federal government will no doubt want to monitor the effect of new mortgage regulations on the many varied housing markets across Canada and on the economy, particularly given the recent rise in uncertainty about economic growth prospects following the U.S. presidential election.”
According to CREA, home sales edged up 2.4% month-over-month in October.
Sales were up year-over-year in about 60% of all markets, according to the association, with strong activity in Toronto offsetting declines in Vancouver.
The national average home price jumped 5.9% year-over-year.
“While prices in 9 of the 11 markets tracked by the MLS HPI posted y-o-y gains in October, increases continue to vary widely among housing markets,” CREA said. “Greater Vancouver (+24. 8 percent) and the Fraser Valley (+32.5 percent) posted the largest y-o-y gains, although single family home prices in both of these markets are now off peak.
“Double-digit y-o-y percentage price gains were also registered in Greater Toronto (+19.7 percent), Victoria (+20.1 percent) and Vancouver Island (+15.8 percent).”
While it’s obvious the recently announced mortgage rules will impact markets across the country, CREA argues more time is needed to realize the full effect.
“The expanded stress-test for home buyers who need mortgage default insurance took effect in the middle of October,” said CREA President Cliff Iverson. “More time will need to pass before its effect on housing markets can be gauged. The extent to which they will push first-time home buyers to the sidelines may vary among housing markets.”
Source Canadian Real Estate Wealth