Summer market remains strong in Beach

By the time you read this article, summer is into its final month. And hasn’t it been a fantastic summer weather wise so far. Wow, two great summers in a row! Unbelievably, July and the Beach Jazz Festival are already behind us, and the back to school sales pitches are very close at hand. You may want to ponder another few weeks’ vacation, just to capture as much of the remaining summer as possible.

Being in my business, as soon as August rolls around, I start thinking ahead to the fall Beach real estate market. Now, if you’ve been keeping track of the numerous reports on the Toronto real estate market, you may be somewhat befuddled as to where the market is heading. One day you see a doom and gloom prediction, and the next day numbers reveal a different story, with reports of new highs, soaring prices, and high buyer demand.

Recent stories of huge increases in the sales of million dollar homes across the city seemingly back differing points of view. The market is either quite healthy and stable with this news, or it’s just one more indication that the market is becoming much too overheated, with an overdue and impending correction just around the corner.

The Beach real estate market has been often cited as an example of each standpoint. So, let’s take a look at how the Beach real estate market did over the first half of the year, and what we might expect this coming fall.

As I’ve stated in previous articles, Beach real estate often dances to a different drummer from the rest of the Toronto market. Over the last two decades, as the Beach has become one of this city’s most desirable neighbourhoods, our local market is somewhat insulated from downturns in the overall Toronto market. Over the last decade, gains in the Beach real estate market have greatly surpassed much of the upswing in the overall Toronto market, largely due to the sustained smaller inventory of homes available for sale at any one time in the Beach, and with the seemingly unending amount of willing Beach buyers.

The yearly average price of a residential dwelling in the Beach (E02) as of June 30 of this year hit $637,161, whereas the yearly average price for the first six months of 2011 within the Toronto Real Estate Board’s boundaries was much lower at $467,169. Beach realtors were finding it hard to keep the shelves stocked in most price ranges, but especially in the under $800,000 price range, with multiple offers on many properties.

The traditionally strong spring market was again evident this year, with April’s average sale price spiking at just under $645,000, and May’s average price of a Beach property slightly lower, hitting $624,583 on 104 sales overall.
Our strong flourishing real estate market saw the average price of a detached Beach home for the month of June hit $918,000 on 42 sales, and semi-detached homes averaged a sale price for the month at just under $557,000 on 46 sales.

Heading into the July and August months, there’s less inventory obviously, and the activity has dropped off somewhat, as is the case in any event at this time of year. The audience for listings trails off, but there’s always new buyers starting to shop in the Beach at any given time of year, with the summer months no exception. So, if your home is on the market in August, it may not be exactly brisk with showings, but those showings should be interested parties to be sure. Besides, the fall market kicks off the last two weeks of August anyway, so you’ve got the head start.

The upcoming fall market, I think ,will start to clearly give some better indication of where the market thinks it may want to head the rest of the year. In my opinion, the Beach fall market is always a little difficult to peg, as it hasn’t quite gathered the steam that you’d expect these last few years. Proper pricing and strategy is paramount in the fall market because unlike the spring market, the Beach fall real estate market is shorter and less defined in terms timing, and certainly more sporadic.

It’s a strong weekly market rather than the monthly market we see in the spring, with listings bunching up on the market for a few weeks, then some weeks just a trickle of new listings. Buyers tend to be more focused in the fall as well, not willing to jump at a property that doesn’t quite push all their buttons. If it gets into November, they’ll start to think about waiting for the perceived rush of new listings in the late winter market of February and March. Good timing and pricing, and right strategy will bring your home its justified price in the fall.

With interest rates being kept to a minimum for the near future, and the Canadian and local Toronto economy staying strong, this fall should see a continuation of the robust Beach market. Sizable upper end homes will pick up the pace as a new wave of move-up buyers set their sights on larger digs, and those buyers will find ample takers for their mid-range homes.

And naturally, there will be the first time buyers who still want to get a toe-hold in this neighbourhood. And why not? Can you think of a better place in Toronto to live (or come back to after your summer holidays) than the Beach?

Remember, it’s always about location, location, location. And aren’t we in a great location here? Take care and enjoy the rest of the summer, and if you have any questions about this article or Beach real estate in general, feel free to give me a call at 416-690-5100, or drop an email to tneal@trebnet.com.


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