9 December, 2011
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The question is – will the growth continue, even with 21,000 units coming on-board this year and the same scheduled for next. The Greater Toronto Region has about 5.2 million people in it, and a growth rate of about 0.4%. That would suggest about 21,000 new people (including births) – if we average it out to the 2.1 people/family, that’s about 10,000 new units required. So we have an oversupply of 11,000 units/year in just condos alone – not including low-density housing.
To this the Bank of Canada, in regards to Toronto, has indicated:
The supply of completed but unoccupied condominiums is elevated, which suggest a heightened risk of a correction in this market.
In July of this year, the RBC said:
We believe that the attractiveness of investing in condominiums will gradually diminish … [and the overall housing market will be] mainly flat in 2011 relative to 2010, with some wakness emerging next year.
If you’re pro about market growth (average unit cost in November was up 8% from last year), National Bank Financial analyst Stefane Marion indicates that the current inventory of Toronto units could sell in 19.3 months – well below market lows of up to 48 months historically. You can also see in that Montreal, a reasonable close major metropolitan, condominium construction is up 68% year over year. It is unclear if this is added competition or an additional indicator that growth continues in Canada – especially the eastern heart.
I still think it’s due for a correction – earlier reports this year indicated 70% of new condominiums are investor funded. With world markets still tumbling (down 2% yesterday in financial sectors) investors will start limiting their exposure to a housing bubble. This in itself will start the downward trend on cost.
20 October, 2011
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While the post was just two days ago, there have been two great articles that back up my concerns, and add a few more. For good reading (what I see) on the likelihood of a Toronto condominium bubble burst – check out the following:
Troubling Signs for Toronto’s Condo Market
While I do shout concern about a correction in Toronto, I don’t think it’s anywhere near Miami’s folloy, where prices dropped 50% from their peak. While Toronto shows the same investor levels for pre-construction purchase (70-80% in Toronto, and then in Miami) – Toronto has two things that would help mitigate some drop: it is a financial centre (financial center condos will always outperform the rest of the market), and it’s not a snowbird getaway – it’s a primary residence location.
The bigest take away from all these articles recently – $800+ psf is definitly already gone, and it looks like reasonable top end cost is about $700 at the moment, and a 20% reduction or bubble pop would put top costs at $560-$600 psf.
25 August, 2011
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I often suggest to my American friends that the read the Globe and Mail for a non-partisan, third-party, observation of the US. They are so bombarded with the us-or-them approach in US media (everything is either a Republican source or a Democrat source) that the Globe’s articles on US politics and economy have become a powerful neutral source of information for many of them.
So it’s in the same light that I read a recent Wall Street Journal on the likelihood significant correction in the Toronto condominium market. I mean, if a US paper wants to spend reams of paper informing their citizens about a growing risk in our condominium market, maybe its worthwhile listening.
To summarize –
- The WSJ equates Toronto to Miami – where foreign buyers created a real estate bubble that burst, leaving exceptionally large numbers of abandoned units.
- There are 40,000 units under construction, increasing the supply by 20% in the next 24 months.
- Bank of Canada Governor Carney has expressed condominium prices are being driven by investors not owners
- 60% or so of all pre-construction unit sales are investors, not owners
- Ratios are rising rapidly between yearly rent and unit cost (moving above the magic ratio of 1:16 yearly rent to unit cost)
As the condominium prices driven by investor demand have risen to about $305,000 – even a one percent increase in lending rates would require $255/month increase in rent to cover the new rate. Interest rate increases matched with a 20% increase in available units (which should help suppress the costs – or in investor terms, equity) in units, Toronto could see a very big and self-feeding drop in unit prices over the next two years.
So says a non-partisan observer looking in.