Never Judge A Stat By It's Cover

Never Judge a stat by its cover.png

First things first, I apologize for not getting this out sooner.

I’ve taken my time to go over this because at first glance, the numbers seem pretty straightforward.

Average sale price across the city has increased by 4.8% while the number have sales has actually dropped by 13.4%. Remember this is while compared to the same time last year.

Stats for both November 2017 and 2018 are included below. Take a look for yourself.

Toronto Market Stats For Entire City Comparing November 2017-2018

Those unfamiliar with the value of real estate probably have their mouths wide open. 


Yes that total dollar value is correct. There were 2563 residential sales last month and they amounted to over two billion dollars. How does that compare to this time last year?

Nov 2017         2960 Total sales    $2,378,477,974

Last year we saw a little more action, understandably. New mortgage stress test rules were coming in to place and buyers were scrambling to get in before it was too late.

For fun and some context, let’s compare that to a couple of other months this year.

How about the  "Slow summer market”? 

June 2018         3030 Total Sales     $2,675,651,459

And the peak of the fall market?

October 2018     3023 Total Sales     $2,633,021,838

Just for fun, what about the whole year?

Jan - Nov 2018    28,396 Total Sales   $23,829,353,802 

That’s a lot of Simoleans.

Ok so what’s this telling us.

Well the clear message is real estate is money and money changes hands frequently. 

More specifically, I think it’s time we take some of the traditional wisdom and best practices and put them to bed. There is no necessarily "right time" to sell your home. Just the right conditions, and those change over time. In the hope of staying on track I’m not going to get into those now.

What else can we glean from a quick look at these numbers. 

Four important things to consider. 

  1. Average Selling Price

  2. Number of New Listings

  3. Average List to Sale Price %

  4. Average Days On The Market

Looking over these numbers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that not that much looks very different. 

Average sale price is up by $40,000, there were a total of 3,892 new listings (down from 4,863 last year), an average list-to-sale price of 99.6% (up by .03%) and an average selling time of 22 days (up by one day from this time last year). 

OK so aside from the fact that we’ve got less new listings on the market, everything else is almost identical. 

If that’s the case, why am I hearing anecdotally about how different the market is now?

We all know money is harder to come by. Interest rates have gone up and banks are less likely to lend you that million dollars you need for your dream home, but the numbers.. they tell a different story.

Or so one would assume looking at these averages for the whole city. The picture changes a bit as we get a bit more granular.

Let’s look at C01, C02, C03 & C04. (That’s Realtor speak for specific segments of the city) I’ve included a map for you guys below.

Treb map of Toronto by district

You’ll see the areas we’re going to be focusing on are essentially a vertical cross section of the city.

 How do they stack up?

Toronto C01

C01 encompasses neighbourhoods like Trinity-Bellwoods, Dufferin Grove, Palmerston-Little Italy, Bay Street Corridor and even the Toronto Islands.

There were 386 Sales in C01 during the month of November. Last year there were 492. I’ll do the math for you, that’s 21.5% less.

The average sale price was $757,637. Up by roughly 11% from this time last year ($674,679).

We saw 3,892 new listings in the area, while last year there were a reported 4,863. That’s a decrease of almost 20%.

The average list to sale price was 99.6% up by 0.3% from last year. This means buyers were only slightly more likely to pay the price asked by the seller.

The average time to sell a property was 22 days up a single day from the average of 21 in 2017. Broken down by property type the stats look almost identical as well. In my opinion a couple of days doesn’t make any difference at all and the reality is that some property types are so rare in certain areas, or the sales so few, that based on the sales numbers alone they are statistically irrelevant.

On to C02.

Toronto C02

The neighbourhoods that make up C02 are Yonge-St. Clair, Casa Loma, Wychwood and the Annex. 

82 sales last year compared to 69 last year. That’s an increase of 16%.

The average selling price here is $1,370,327. Last years average was $1,388,349. It’s absolutely worth mentioning here that the average price varies drastically between property type. The average price among the 7 detached homes that sold was $2,226,143.   

Interestingly, you’re not very likely to actually pay 1.3 for any property in the area as the detached and semi homes are typically priced from 1.6+ while condos are generally cheaper at a million or so. The problem with averages I suppose. They really can be terribly unspecific.

As you can see the sales numbers here are much lower than in the previous segment. Several factors contributing to this are it’s smaller overall area, less condos and a significantly higher average selling price.

Toronto C03

Toronto C03

C03 includes the following neighbourhoods: Forest Hill South, Humewood-Cedarvale, Oakwood-Vaughan and Yonge & Eglinton.

As you probably know these neighbourhoods are all very different. Yonge and Eg is basically new condo city, with many existing condominiums and a great number of new buildings under construction or in the early stages of development. Forest Hill South in contrast is a very prestigious neighbourhood. Affluent homes can be found all over its tree lined streets. 

Last year this district saw a total of 49 sales, while this year there were only 36. That’s a decrease of 26.5%.

I would hazard a guess that one of the major factors contributing to the lower overall sales is the overwhelming amount of new construction. Not only is it a deterrent to those looking to move into the area right away, but the new developments, many of which have sold out, are not included in these statistics. 

The average selling price last year was $1,692,110 while this year saw an average selling price of $1,411,972. For those paying attention, that’s a decrease of 16.6%.

Another interesting point here is the dollar volume of sales. Last November there was a total sales volume of $82,913,368. This year we saw $50,831,000. That’s a decrease of almost 40%.

That seems pretty significant to me and I believe it further supports my theory that the money is flowing into pre-construction. 

While I don’t believe any of this is reason for panic, I do believe it displays a need to look more closely at the advertised market stats. There is no accuracy in the simple one page numbers provided my most real estate brokerages.

Below you’ll find links to download the data and view yourself. I encourage you to take a look and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.