By Ryan Wyse, Manager, Analytics, Data Solutions, Altus Group | 14 Décembre 2020

As published in BILD’s Toronto Builder magazine – Fall / Winter 2020 issue

The story in 2020 is the COVID-19 pandemic and its related impacts, both locally and around the world, and the GTA new home market is no different. After a very strong first quarter, the impacts from the pandemic and related government-imposed restrictions created major disruptions during the normally busy spring market.  With new home sales offices being closed to the public and sales shifting virtually, April and May activity plummeted which, resulted in what’s effectively a 10 month sales calendar. In spite of these challenges, demand for new homes has remained high in the GTA and the activity that we should have normally seen recorded in the Spring shifted to the typically quiet summer months. Through September, year-to-date sales are up 15% on the same period in 2019 and 3% ahead of the 10-year average, highlighting the strength of the activity in the market

New single-family home sales have surged in 2020, as buyers of townhouses and detached homes have been particularly active. Through the first three quarters this year, new single-family home sales are 88% above 2019, and at their highest level since 2016. The pickup in sales has been concentrated primarily in Durham and York Regions, with both areas seeing more than double their sales volumes through September 2019.

The activity in  the new condominium apartment sector to date has been a little slower, as sales through September are -12% lower than at this point in 2019 and -6% below the 10-year average. This is due to a decrease in new supply as many projects scheduled to launch in 2020 were put on hold. There have been 60 new openings to date in 2020, which have brought just over 14,000 new units to market; this  represents a -28% decrease from the same period last year. The year-over-year decrease in sales to date has been concentrated in the City of Toronto and York Region, while the rest of the 905 has seen modest increases over last year.

As noted earlier, demand through September 2020 has been resilient in the GTA new home market. New supply, on the other hand, has been more directly impacted with demand outstripping supply. Total new home inventory in the GTA has decreased since the start of 2020 and is now back to levels last seen in 2018. The decrease has been noted across both the new condominium apartment and new single-family home categories.

Condominium apartment inventory has decreased by 12% since the end of 2019. The inventory at the end of September represented about 5.3 months of supply based on the pace of sales over the past 12 months,  below the long-term monthly average of 10 months inventory. In addition, there continues to be a shortage of homes available for immediate possession/occupancy with just over 200 units across the entire GTA. The decrease in inventory has been mostly spread throughout the GTA, with only Peel Region seeing an increase in supply in 2020.

Single-family inventory, meanwhile, has fallen -28% since the end of last year. As of the end of September, the available inventory represented just 2.9 months of supply based on the pace of sales over the past 12 months. That is also well below the long-term monthly average of 6.7 months. All regions in the GTA have seen decreasing single-family inventory in 2020.

The growth in demand for single-family homes is a trend observed across the country in 2020; however, pricing remains a key factor in the GTA. The dollar gap in the benchmark price between new condominium apartments and new single-family homes has shrunk considerably in recent years since the peak in 2017. So, while the average price of available single-family homes has been increasing this year, the jump for a buyer to go from an apartment unit to a townhouse or detached home is much smaller than it has been the past few years.

The benchmark price for available new condominium apartment product hit a record high in September 2020, surpassing the $1 million mark for the first time. The pricing of available inventory has shifted higher with more of the apartment and single-family homes prices above $1 million. The increase in the higher-priced supply is related to market price growth, but also reflects the strong demand for the more affordably priced options at project launches. As such, potential moderation in the benchmark prices this fall could occur as inventory levels normalize.

Looking ahead

There are still many previously announced projects that have yet to come to market that are still waiting in the wings. This could translate into an increase in new supply in the near future, satisfying some of the pent-up demand that exists across the GTA. However, concerns regarding a second wave and future economic conditions mean there is still much uncertainty going forward.

 

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