TORONTO – Urbanation Inc., the leading source of information and analysis on the Toronto condominium market since 1981, today released its Q3-2012 market overview.
In the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) there were 3,317 new condominium apartment sales in Q3-2012, a decrease of 30% from the second quarter.
“With slowing sales and a record level of unsold inventory in the market in the second quarter, condominium developers reacted quickly by delaying their project launches, especially in the ‘416’ area,” says Ben Myers, Urbanation Executive Vice President. “Just five projects launched in Toronto in Q3-2012, as developers chose to review their pricing assumptions and unit mix”.
The average unsold unit in the Toronto CMA was being offered at $573 per-square-foot (psf) at the end of Q3-2012, an increase of just 2% year-over-year. Unsold pricing in the former City of Toronto remains virtually unchanged from one year ago, rising from $668 psf to $670 psf.
The lack of new site openings in the third quarter resulted in a decrease in unsold inventory from the CMA record high of 18,123 units in Q2-2012 to 17,182 units in Q3-2012. With 20% of the 86,108 units (341 projects) unsold, the share of unsold inventory in the Toronto CMA remains below the 10-year average of 22%.
With condominium apartment construction starts outpacing completions for the 8thconsecutive quarter, units under construction in the CMA have set another record high at 207 projects and 56,336 units.
“The number of unit completions in 2012 are well below our forecasts, as construction delays have pushed back occupancy on a number of projects” adds Myers. “The average project that completed construction in 2012 took 3.85 years from sales launch to occupancy, compare that to 2003, when the average took just 2.68 years for a similarly sized project (205 units vs 197 units)”.
The reduced level of project completions has contributed to a very tight condominium rental market, as Urbanation’s UrbanRental report indicates a record-high lease-to-listings ratio in Q3-2012, an indication that demand is much higher than supply for investor held rental units.
The resale condominium market conditions also softened in Q3-2012, as transactions fell 32% quarterly in the Toronto CMA from 5,050 in Q2-2012 to 3,413. Pricing on a per-square-foot basis remained flat in comparison to the second quarter at $407 psf, as both the average unit size traded and the average end-selling price decreased (910 sf to 891 sf / $370,000 to $362,000).
“The change in the mortgage insurance rules may have forced many buyers to settle for smaller units then they had previously desired” says Myers. “The number of resale transactions for units priced over $400,000 fell 40% compared to last quarter, while there was a 38% quarterly drop in units traded over 1,000 sf.”
Just 10 projects, or 2,035 condominium units registered in Q3-2012, and the dearth of new supply resulted in a decline in resale listings quarterly from 10,163 in Q2-2012 to 9,032 in Q3-2012. Urbanation expects a much higher level of resale listings in 2013, as more than half of the 56,336 condominium units under construction are expected to complete construction next year.
The 28,000-plus completions next year could add as many as 14,000 new condominium rental units to the Toronto CMA via private landlords, which would represent a whopping 25% increase in condominium rentals in the Metropolitan Area.
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