Do The Toronto Newspaper Headlines Tell The Whole Story?

I promised myself I wouldn’t write this.

I told myself that I didn’t care anymore, and arguing against mainstream media negativity, in the face of evidence to the contrary, was pointless.

And then after a long day, I went home, sat down at midnight, and my fingers started typing…


I don’t like Donald Trump.

I don’t think there are a lot of folks that do.

I think there’s 31% of United States’ population that loves Trump, and most of them also love guns, God, and making either $11,000 per year, or $11,000,000 per year.

I despise everything that he is, and everything that he stands for.

He’s an embarrassment to mankind.  Er, “peoplekind,” thank you Justin Trudeau, who I also don’t like, but that’s a topic for another day.

So when I thought about arguing against what the media was putting out, and risking somebody suggest, jokingly or otherwise, that I was referring to “fake news,” that was enough to make me question the post itself.

I hate what Trump has done to supress free speech.

I hate his attempts to undermine those who seek to call him out on his constant stream of organized and intentional lies.

And I hate the words “fake news.”

But from time to time, in the context of real estate, I have been known to point out that there are different ways to “interperet” news, specifically when it comes to statitics.

For example:

The Toronto Real Estate Market Is Down 39%

Wow!  Really?

That’s shocking!

So I paid $1,000,000 for my house, and now it’s worth $610,000?  Geez.  I might go hang myself.

Oh, wait.

That number was referring to something else.

Sales Are Down 39% Last Month Compared To Same Period Last Year

That’s something completely different altogether.

I’m growing so tired of the battle for interpretation, and while I understand, “You can make numbers say anything you want,” and I understand that bears and bulls have to co-exist, I have always failed to understand the media’s obsession with providing a false context of the market.

Negativity sells, I know.

And when things were red-hot last year, the stories weren’t about happy buyers – there were reporters camping out in condo open houses to show how “crazy” things were.  I would get calls from the media asking, “Do you have any buyers that paid more than they wanted to?” rather than asking me if I had any buyers that paid less than they could afford.

The created-narrative has always been, and always will be, negative.

But at what cost to those that read and believe it?

On Tuesday afternoon, I was standing guard in one of my listings that had become a virtual revolving door, with six showings all booked for 5:00pm, when somebody emailed me the latest National Post article, titled:

“We just got the first real picture of the Toronto housing market — and it’s ugly”

I’m not going to lie – I hadn’t looked at the TREB numbers yet.

So by “Ugly,” I assumed the worst.

Then I read further, saw how the article was written, and what data was being used, and I thought, “Here we go again.”

“Sales plunge 22%, weakest January since 2009,” the sub-heading read.  And off-hand, being the stats nerd that I am, I knew this was misleading.

What is the “weakest since 2009?”

The drop in sales?

Sales in October were down 26.7%.  Sales in September were down 35.1%.  Sales in August were down 34.8%.  Sales in July were down 40.4%.  Sales in June were down 37.3%.

What the hell is the “weakest since 2009?”

Do they mean the January-over-January drop in sales?

Come on, folks.  Talk about trying to create an argument here!

That sub-heading is desperately searching for something that says, “worst in a decade.”

I could just as easily argue, “The 22% drop in sales, January-over-January, pales in comparison to the massive declines we saw in mid-2017, signalling………….a busy year ahead for the Toronto real estate market!

But I’m not looking to create an argument here.  I just want people to know what’s really going on.

Sales in January of the past two years were up 11.8% and 8.2% respectively, so perhaps this is just a “returning to normal,” rather than, as the National Post describes it – UGLY.

And that’s the word I have a problem with, since saying, “…and it’s ugly” merely seeks to fire up those chasing the real estate unicorn – you know, the 70% market correction that will finally get them into that lovely North Toronto detached for $500,000.

Underneath the sub-heading that read “Sales plunge 22%, weakest since 2009,” we’re given this:

The average price of a home sold in Toronto was $736,783, down 4.1 per cent from January 2017, though little changed from December.


That’s how much price is down, year-over year.

And the last time I checked, buyers are only buying one home.  I’ve never understood this desire to highlight sales volume, especially instead of price.

This article tells us “sales plunged 22%” in a headline, and only then tells us about the modest 4.1% dip in price, adding “…though little has changed from December.”

Great!  So prices aren’t down, and the sky isn’t falling since last month?

The next paragraph starts:

Toronto’s once-hot housing market…

This is where I get really frustrated, and where I told myself, “David, forget it.  Who cares about the eternal bears, the people who right the headlines, and the people who believe them.”

But you know what?  I can’t!

Folks – the market is hot right now, and it doesn’t help me out at all.  I work with buyers, I work with sellers, I’d sell just as much real estate if the market were up, down or sideways.  But being as passionate as I am about real estate, and being the realist that I am, I can’t read this crap without calling it out!

I have a listing right now for a property in Forest Hill that is somewhere between land value and a renovation waiting to happen.  Since we listed on Monday, through Tuesday night, I’ve had 38 showings booked.  It was a goddam free-for-all last night.

“Toronto’s once-hot housing market” we’re told.

I have a client looking for a 1-bedroom condo specifically on Fort York Boulevard – an area I admittedly don’t like.  The last six sales have all been over asking, in multiple offers.

Even the damn rental market has multiple offers!  I’ve had eight offers on a rental listing, and people are making offers 15% over the list price, with several months of rent up front.  The Globe even wrote about it:  “Multiple Offers Common Now In Toronto Rental Market

January started slowly, and for a while, it looked as though the December trend would continue.

But what I’ve seen in the past two weeks has been a game-changer.

The market can move faster than any of us can see, and when it changes, it often happens in an instant.

I can’t quite put my finger on the exact day, but about two weeks ago, properties started to move.

And move, and move, and we’ve been seeing 5-6 offers on 1-bedroom condos, and every freehold under $1M is on fire.

Specifically in those two market segments, we’re almost back to spring of 2017 market conditions.  Maybe not March, but definitley January and early-February, right before things went nuts.

Folks, I’m out there, every day, pounding the proverbial pavement.  I’m in the so-called “trenches” of the real estate market, and I will always maintain that any busy agent with his finger on the pulse of the market can tell you what’s happening, far better than any newspaper article, and/or hand-selected statistics ever can.

All I see right now is hot, hot, hot.

And perhaps that’s just the 416.  Perhaps that’s just the core.

But the narrative out there tells a different story.

Ask any active buyer for a sub-$1M freehold in the core, how their search is going.  Show me that buyer, on the front page of a newspaper, gloating about buying a $795,000 property for $730,000, conditional on the sale of their Oshawa townhouse.

I’m just dying to see a story about a couple in Leaside who have had their 3-bed, 2-bath semi-detached home on the market for two months, unsold.  But alas, the media can’t spin that story, because it doesn’t exist.

And do they want to write about the absolute gut in High Park that got thirteen offers last night?  Nope.  Not on your life.

Instead, we’ll look at a 4% drop as though the sky were falling.

And you know what?  It’s about to get a lot worse.

The average home price in April of 2017 peaked around $920,000.  Just think of what the headlines will read when the average home price from March and April are down double-digits.  But those headlines, touting those sexy numbers, will completely ignore what’s actually going on in the market.

Maybe there’s a house in April that sells for $1,000,000, that would have sold for $1,100,000 last year.  But this year, priced at $799,900, it still sells for $1M, with nine offers.

Where is that narrative?

Because that’s what I’m getting at here, folks.

The headlines aren’t telling us what it’s like to be a buyer, or seller, today.  And buyers need to know what kind of market we’re working in.

Mabye you shouldn’t listen to me, and you shouldn’t listen to the media.  Get out there, go to open houses, see what the market is like, and then draw your own conclusions.

Evidence and experience beats spin and rhetoric, ten times out of ten.  Whether that rhetoric is bullish or bearish, and whether it’s the media’s, or my own…


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    1. Chris says:

      Agreed! He presents a very balanced and well reasoned position. The full report is very interesting as well, although it’s quite the long read, and I’m admittedly only about half way through it so far.

  1. Pauline says:

    I’ve been trying to submit a question in the ‘Ask a Question’ area but I keep getting an error message.

    Can you talk about condos being “Tenanted ‘In Perpetuity”? How is that a thing?
    (such as mentioned in this listing:–103-PEMBROKE-ST-Toronto-Ontario-M5A2N9-Moss-Park)

    1. Chris says:

      Hey Pauline,

      David discusses that topic in this post from late 2017:

      1. Pauline says:

        Thanks! I had tried searching but perhaps didn’t have the right combination of keywords.

  2. Appraiser says:

    Speaking of the media mangling the data. You know why detached single-family new home sales are low? They aren’t building many.

    Meanwhile in 2017; an all-time record 35,000 new condos were sold (at a record absorption rate of 84%), re-sale condo prices soared 35% and new condo inventory is the lowest in 20 years!

    1. Chris says:

      The media, in this instance, is reporting on TREB resale numbers. This is completely separate from new-construction data. I suspect you know this though, and are being disingenuous in your post.

      When it comes to resale data for City of Toronto (416) Detached Homes

      January 2018 Sold: 376 (lowest in seven years)

      January 2018 Active Listings: 1,271 (second highest in seven years)

      Data available in TREB’s market report, or in visual form here:

      1. Appraiser says:

        Disingenuous…that’s a big word…like marmalade…come on @Chris say – m-a-r-m-a-l-a-d-e.

        1. Chris says:

          Ah, it seems once more you have no concrete rebuttal, and so resort yet again to rudeness, snide comments, and personal insults.

          That’s ok, Appraiser. Words from a stranger on the internet don’t hurt my feelings, and they simply serve to further demonstrate your immaturity and inability or unwillingness to debate coherently.

          Hope you have a good day.

          1. Appraiser says:

            Would you like some cheese with that whine?

            Maybe some cheese and marmalade?

          2. Chris says:

            Keep going, Appraiser!

            You are doing a great job adding to the pile of evidence proving you to be an immature troll who should be completely disregarded.

            But I think most regular readers of this blog already knew that.

  3. Tommy says:

    Trump over Trudeau any day.

    1. Appraiser says:

      You know why Trump can’t finish a sentence? He can’t remember how it started.

  4. Classic_Liberal says:

    Hi David,

    I rarely post here, but wanted to say that I am one of the very few that actually likes Donald Trump. No, not as a person. But I’d much rather have Trump than Trudeau.

    Good article, but not sure why including Trump in this was necessary.

    1. Reluctantorontonian says:

      Did including Trump hurt your feelings, snowflake?

      1. O says:

        Insult Trump all you want. But anyone, and I mean ANYONE who talks trash about Ivanka will have to deal with me. Yes. I am a superfan.

  5. Appraiser says:

    Gap between housing supply and demand largest in Toronto and Vancouver:

    Toronto and Vancouver’s real estate markets have responded to surging prices and a growing demand for homes with a supply of new housing that is “significantly weaker than other Canadian metropolitan areas.”


    1. Chris says:

      Evan Siddall also said he felt the condo market in Toronto is well supplied, and that measures to cool the market are working better than he had hoped.

      But rather than you and I cherry picking lines that support our narrative, I would suggest watching this interview he gave:

      Or, you can read the very lengthy report in it’s entirety:

      All in all, seems like a pretty reasonable and balanced assessment, at least at first glance.

      1. Appraiser says:

        Dude, stop trying so hard.

        1. Chris says:

          Hm, quite rich coming from you, Appraiser.

          You’ve posted ten times on this blog entry, and continually jump around bringing up new topics rather than engaging in any meaningful discussion on the points you have previously raised.

          Even your rebuttal above is a personal jab, rather than anything substantive.

          It’s distasteful, but I think we’ve all come to expect this behaviour from you by now.

  6. Appraiser says:

    Hands up, how many homeowners who purchased their home five years ago are unhappy? How about that giant group that bought between 5-30 years ago? How about my gang that bought over 30 years ago? People are sitting on tons of equity.

    A small cohort of homeowners bought at the peak of the market. The bears are all over that fact and are clinging to it desperately in hopes that it portends the great crash they’ve been predicting for the last decade. Some are even convinced last year’s peak will never be surpassed.

    1. Chris says:

      “Some are even convinced last year’s peak will never be surpassed.”

      Nobody with so much as a rudimentary understanding of inflation would ever make this claim.

  7. Travel Consultant says:

    A new life awaits you in the Mid-Town colonies!

    Have you dreamed of a detached home in the Central district, but thought you couldn’t afford it? Don’t be too sure. January’s one hundred lucky buyers of detached Central estates paid 12% less than the cohort from January 2017, and with condominium prices up over the same time period, it has NEVER been more affordable to leverage your equity and make the leap to midtown land ownership — talk to our leverage consultants TODAY!

  8. Joel says:

    Are 90% of homes being under listed and getting multiple offers? If not I wouldn’t consider it a hot market. That is the definition that we have grown accustomed to in Toronto and less than that I wouldn’t label as a hot market.

    I agree that newspapers are looking for flashy headlines and big drops worry home owners and excite potential buyers, so it is a win win. Perhaps the best way to rebut this is to say that the data they are using is from the past month and you have seen an uptick in the last week or two an anticipate February to be higher yoy.

    1. chT says:

      No Joel. You’re wrong…
      “That is the definition that we have grown accustomed to” – Who’s WE? You and? Maybe it was the wrong definition you have grown accustomed to?
      And that specific data is not the point. The point is that whatever the market does, is, goes toward, etc. the mainstream media will find a NEGATIVE and sensationalist spin on and put out these headlines.
      Well said David by the way. The market is HOT.

      1. Professional Shanker says:

        The MSM covered the run up in RE during 2015 to early 2017, now they are taking the opposite side of the story – both are sensationalist spins as you put it. If the market starts to heat up, the MSM will cover the fact that Toronto overcame tightened regulation, to say they try and hang on to negative sentiment is uninformed. Your proclamation of the market being HOT without any facts is sensationalist as well – that is just a fact.

        1. chT says:

          The article above has more than 1 example (fact – if you wish) to prove that market is hot. Another fact 🙂

      2. Joel says:

        I believe this is pretty close to the definition that David has used for the last 5 years when he has talked about how hot the market is. I am not going to go back through all of his posts, but if you look at the posts that talk about the hot market he is basing it off of multiple offers and quick sales.

  9. Condodweller says:

    “And move, and move, and we’ve been seeing 5-6 offers on 1-bedroom condos, and every freehold under $1M is on fire.”

    I fully agree regarding the negative slant of the media, however, I am noticing a subtle change based on what David is reporting here from last year. It seems the “focus” is shifting down in the price range which seems to be in line with the current environment of higher interest rates, new lending rules and perhaps the bank of mom and dad starting to run low on cash. The next couple of months will be definitely interesting to see.

    1. Sardonic Lizard says:


  10. A says:

    FWIW, I had the same reaction as you, David, when the I came across the NP headline. Upon a closer look, it is a Bloomberg article. One of the authors is Natalie Wong and if you look her up, she just completed her Bachelors in 2017. So she has a “vested interest” in negativity, in addition to the “negativity sells” point you made.

    Your FH listing looks interesting. Good luck!

    1. Kyle says:

      Agreed, Natalie Wong’s articles definitely tend to slant negatively.

      Also agree that David’s FH listing looks interesting. Ravine lot, great curb appeal and fantastic location. I’d be shocked (and maybe even sad that i didn’t buy it) if it didn’t sell for over.

      1. Professional Shanker says:

        What’s $2.4m between friends right…..

  11. Long Time Realtor says:

    For some perspective on just how bubbly the stats were last spring, the January 2017 average sale price was $770,745.

    In 2016 it was $631,092. Up 22%!

    By April of 2017, the average sale price had leaped to an all-time high of $920,791!

    April 2016 saw an average of $739,082.

    For the long-term health of the real estate market and the economy, a hair cut was very much required.

    1. Condodweller says:

      Anybody using percentages to compare prices and volume has to factor in the aberration of the peak months of March/April/May. Everyone who received the highest prices then, should feel very lucky and be happy they managed to cash out at the highest prices. The rest of us should not treat those numbers as normal. Naturally, any numbers derived using those prices will be skewed. In statistics, extreme values, i.e. lowest/highest samples, are thrown out to avoid this exact situation. The RE industry would do well doing the same thing.

      1. Condodweller says:

        I meant to say that in statistics extreme values are “often” thrown out. It’s not always the case which is how my sentence came across.

      2. Appraiser says:

        @condodweller: “The RE industry would do well doing the same thing.”

        They already have, it’s called the HPI. Newspapers rarely quote the HPI. Averages are simplistic and suit the readership.

  12. Appraiser says:

    Real estate is and has always been local, much like politics.

    The use of averages to determine anything statistically valid utilizing the entire TREB MLS sales database is worthless.

    What matters to homeowners (and appraisers for that mater), is what market prices are in their neighbourhood.

    1. Kramer says:

      Agreed. I was going to respond to a different post with this, but I’ll add it here instead…

      City of Toronto is 38% of the transactions and 39% of the dollar volume. Price +5.3%
      Next biggest region is Peel with 22% of the transactions and 20% of the dollar volume. Price -3.8%
      York Region is next largest component, and is -16.7% in price, obviously dragging down the average big time.

      Clearly each region is behaving incredibly differently, and they always has. They are not perfectly or even highly correlated.

      Just another example of how the average is information that is useful to no one, and thanks to these articles, I have to explain to everyone I talk to who hasn’t had the chance to dive into the numbers that -4.1% GTA average is not at all a representation of the value change YOY of their property. And yes, this was the same when prices were going up “on average”.

      And Appraiser nailed it too by saying you need to get right down to your neighbourhood if you want anything useful out of monthly YOY data. Junction behaves differently from Roncey, High Park, Parkdale, and Dufferin Grove.

      Regardless of these monthly TREB figures, the market has changed a lot in the past year though, primarily due to regulatory changes. GIVEN THESE HUGE CHANGES, it would be ESPECIALLY NICE to get something that puts everything into perspective and doesn’t just read the top 3 lines of the TREB report and make conclusions from it… Something like DAVID’S BLOG POST MAYBE??? And he doesn’t have to be 100% right, but at least he is providing some perspective and doing some digging, and I would PREFER anecdotal evidence/information than a bold directional headline based only off the top 3 lines of a TREB report… and again, this goes for if the market is going up “on average” as well.

  13. Chris says:

    “And the last time I checked, buyers are only buying one home”

    From TREB’s recent Market Year in Review, 20% of GTA homeowners own at least one other property.

    Page 16, Chart 1.3

    “I’ve never understood this desire to highlight sales volume”

    Sales volume is considered a strong forecaster of price. The other part, which you alluded to, is that the change in sales volume is more dramatic than price, leading to a more attention-grabbing headline.

    “But what I’ve seen in the past two weeks has been a game-changer.”

    John Pasalis was on BNN yesterday saying the opposite. He felt that January started surprisingly strong, then slowed down.

    “And perhaps that’s just the 416. Perhaps that’s just the core.”

    A quick look at the stats will show how different the 416, particularly some areas, are from other areas such as in the 905. Places like Stouffville and King are seeing big declines. But, Toronto (a.k.a. the GTA) is a big place and encompasses all these different local markets. Hence the headline, overall average numbers.

    “Evidence and experience beats spin and rhetoric, ten times out of ten.”

    I appreciate the anecdotes, but at the end of the day, I feel more weight should be placed on data and statistics. You say the market is hot hot hot, another Toronto agent says it isn’t, so who do we believe? The answer is gleaned by digging into the data (TREB reports, Mongohouse, etc.) and seeing for yourself what the facts are.

    1. Andre says:

      Wow your’e annoying.

      1. Chris says:

        Don’t read my posts then. Problem solved, buddy.

        1. Professional Shanker says:

          solid observations Chris – David is speaking to a specific market segment and particular part of the greater of the GTA which is hot, hot, hot – other relators in the 905 would have the exact opposite perspective, neither is wrong nor right when speaking to the overall GTA market.

          David’s overall point is just – never trust media or an opinion from a source until you understand their motive and bias – you need to conduct your own due diligence.

      2. Sardonic Lizard says:

        > “Wow your’e annoying.”

        You are like a petulant child. Are all those statistics and numbers making your head hurt?

      3. Paradroid says:

        What’s a “your’e”? Just wondering.

  14. kd says:

    Total TREB detached unit sales in January: 1,659.

    Last time it was that low: you guessed it – January 2009 in the depths of the financial crisis.

    So its condos for all I guess. At least until assignments are banned and the fun stops.

  15. Andrew says:

    The Post article didn’t mention that 416 condo prices are up 15% year over year. Not quite “ugly” now is it?

    1. Chris says:

      The Post/Bloomberg article also didn’t mention that Vaughan detached house prices are down 21% YoY.

      That’s why the headlines include the overall average for the GTA, rather than picking the best looking or worst looking local numbers.

  16. Appraiser says:

    As predicted:

    “2018 will be the year of data misinterpretation. Because prices shot up so quickly in early 2017, any comparisons to that bubbly time will make 2018 look very bad. Headlines won’t provide context and the word crash will be thrown around liberally.”

    ~Ben Myers

    1. O says:

      This. The reporting makes me think of an old weight loss show on TV. They would “ambush” the person at a bar / mid meal and force them to weigh themselves on the spot. Ok, but by the next morning, on an empty stomach, without clothes or shoes, the person is now about 4 pounds lighter. They do the show, final weigh in…my gosh, the guy lost 10 POUNDS from the starting number.

      Personally could not care less about fluctuations, I am in my house to live my life….. but here is an interesting story…was mentioning to my partner that I want to have some sort of clause in my will: if the kids end up getting the house, they are not allowed to sell, must keep it for the grandkids…the idea is that my line will always have a place in the city.

      Ok, my friends elderly mother just gave him the following deal. You get the condo free and clear. You cannot sell it. If you do not have kids, it goes to your sisters kids…clearly I am not the only one thinking like this.

      I think inventory is going to get even tighter as the years go on….dip, rise, who cares? As long as my family has a place close to the action. Long term, a house in a thriving city is an asset.

    2. Sardonic Lizard says:

      I love how you chose to quote Ben Myers, who was part of the whole Fortress syndicated mortgages scandal.

      1. Appraiser says:

        Guilt by association – so lame.

        1. Sardonic Lizard says:

          Association, complicity, or complacency. It makes no difference.

          1. Appraiser says:


  17. Kramer says:

    This is the information I wanted to read… instead my wife is reading me a “first look at the new market is ugly” headline, and I’m crunching these numbers myself…

    Average Price in City of Toronto January 2018 is $766,617, which is +5.3% (vs January 2017 $727,928).

    Price Change YOY By Segment:
    Detached -3.9% (25% of unit sales)
    Semi +3.8% (6% of unit sales)
    Condo Townhouses -8.6% (6% of unit sales)
    Condo Apartments +15.2% (59% of unit sales)
    Attached/Row/Townhouses +29.7% (3% of unit sales)

    1. Kramer says:

      Additionally, as I read the headlines from my google search this is the data I saw:

      1) -4.1% GTA Total
      2) -3.9% city of Toronto Detached

      So even within the +5.3% city of Toronto, one headline dwelled on the -3.9% detached.

      There is serious bias going on in the headlines. There could… no SHOUD have been an article saying “in the face of regulatory headwinds, city of Toronto market up 5.1% vs year ago”

      And then explain the main segments, and then explain the GTA total numbers with some highlights by region… ie Halton Region is up vs year ago, York region is down significantly and pulling down the GTA average. And then explain you need to go to the reports to see how your region is doing.

      Looking at GTA averages as a whole is now and always has been USELESS and misleading to many. The proof is in the data.

      1. Kramer says:

        * “… up 5.3% vs year ago”

      2. Chris says:

        “Looking at GTA averages as a whole is now and always has been USELESS and misleading to many.”

        Of course you need to dig into the data more to see what is relevant to you in your local market.

        But, not many people voiced these same concerns regarding GTA averages as a whole in April 2017, when the market was surging.

        Anyways, the variation in headlines and focus of the media is one of the reason I tend to use this website:

        Shows long term trends by area and home type, so you can better see what is going on in each local market.

      3. Kyle says:

        Kramer as usual, you are right. If anyone is an actual buyer or seller in Toronto, or considering becoming one then you care about is how far money goes when translated to a home, NOT how the average GTA (which includes places most people in Toronto haven’t even heard of like Clarington, Adjala Township, Georgina, East Gwillimbury to name just a few, combined with places most people in Toronto will never afford like Rosedale and Forest Hill) performed. And certainly NOT # of sales, only two types of people fixate on # of sales – Real estate boards/professionals, obviously cause their compensation is directly tied to volume and bears who are looking for a black lining.

        In Toronto proper there are very few listings. In the neighbourhoods i follow, there are as few or fewer decent listings than there were this time last year. This is where the rubber meets the road, anyone looking to buy in the core is facing a sellers’ market. That’s reality, regarldess of what the average stats or media says.

        I predict the following. The market will rebound in 2018 and eventually equal or pass last years peak, but will do so unevenly. Some neighbourhoods will take off, while others slowly warm up. And anytime someone says the market is hot, bears will continue to point at the average, compare to the peak, or point out the areas that aren’t hot….until we hit a new peak,

        And when that point is reached, the bear unable to use those arguments based on averages, comparing to the peak or pointing to the 905’s, will once again switch back to invisible bogey men. They’ll instead make unfounded claims of speculation, foreign buyers, bank of mom and dad, shadow lending, etc.

        1. Chris says:

          “and bears who are looking for a black lining.”

          Are FP/Bloomberg, and other media outlets that talked about sales volume, bears?

          “eventually equal or pass last years peak”

          Which metric are you, or will you be using to measure the peak and when we surpass it? Each individual area’s average price? HPI? The overall GTA average price?

          Also, is your prediction that we will surpass the previous peak in 2018? Or are you just predicting the rebound will begin in 2018 and the peak will be surpassed at some later point?

          1. Kyle says:

            “Are FP/Bloomberg, and other media outlets that talked about sales volume, bears?”

            Yes, if they’re imparting a biased/slanted view

            “Which metric are you, or will you be using to measure the peak and when we surpass it? Each individual area’s average price? HPI? The overall GTA average price?”

            Oh yeah, i forgot, if one or two of these come to fruition, someone will point to another stat to try to claim that it isn’t true…. I’m talking about GTA monthly average. In 2018 i expect it will retest or surpass the $921K we saw in April.

          2. Chris says:

            “Yes, if they’re imparting a biased/slanted view”

            I suppose they always present a slightly slanted view, in the interest of garnering attention. Without a narrative to accompany the data, many readers would probably find the article bland.

            “I’m talking about GTA monthly average. In 2018 i expect it will retest or surpass the $921K we saw in April.”

            Thanks for clarifying. That represents ~20% increase from where we sit today, so it would be quite the jump over the next eleven months. Certainly not impossible though, as we saw last year. Good luck with your prediction! We will see over the year how it shakes out.

          3. Kramer says:

            Once again, you need to dig into the data. And again… simply reading the average (even in a Kyle prediction) and jumping to a conclusion is… not enough.

            A 20% GTA AVERAGE price increase doesn’t mean every damn property goes up 20% from here.

            It means more SFH, specifically detached and luxury start selling because hesitation/uncertainty in the market from massive regulatory changes subsides, PUSHING UP THE AVERAGE.

            This is also why the average was so high in April… because detached and luxury were flying off the shelf. And this is partially why the average is currently “down” (vs April)… because buyers are on the sidelines waiting to see the impacts of all this regulation.

            In short, I believe Kyle’s prediction is that the market mix will shift once again, to something that will see new highs in AVERAGE PRICE.

            Kind of like what happened in… hmmmmmmm VANCOUVER?

            Doesn’t seem so impossible to me.

          4. Chris says:

            “A 20% GTA AVERAGE price increase doesn’t mean every damn property goes up 20% from here.”

            Of course not. It means the overall GTA Average Price, as calculated by TREB, increases 20% from the point it is at today.

            Both higher prices and a change in sales composition to more expensive properties will serve to increase this average.

            But alas, this is the metric upon which Kyle has made his prediction; this was why I wanted to clarify, so that there is no confusion.

            “And this is partially why the average is currently “down” (vs April)”

            Partially, yes, for sure. However, the other part is true price declines in some segments of the market, particularly detached homes in 905 regions. With the way TREB calculates the headline Average Price, love it or hate it, these big homes in the hinterland have a bearing on the metric.

            “Kind of like what happened in… hmmmmmmm VANCOUVER?”

            The REBGV (Vancouver’s TREB equivalent) doesn’t, so far as I can tell, publish a region wide overall average price, comparable to TREB’s figure. They publish average sales price by home type, and benchmark prices.

            Page 9 and 5, respectively.


            Vancouver is currently seeing a pretty odd market as well, with detached home prices fluctuating around a consistent level for the past two years, while condo prices have been climbing rapidly.

            “Doesn’t seem so impossible to me.”

            I agree, hence why I said it is certainly not impossible, thus implying it is possible. It is a big leap, but, as evidenced by the gains we saw in 2017, not an insurmountable jump by any means.

          5. Kyle says:

            “It means more SFH, specifically detached and luxury start selling because hesitation/uncertainty in the market from massive regulatory changes subsides, PUSHING UP THE AVERAGE.”

            BINGO! there is no doubt that the barrage of new rules pushed some of the demand to the sidelines. My hypothesis is that few if any of those people have given up on owning. They are simply waiting to make sure they’re not buying when the bottom is falling out. Given that the bottom has not fallen out, i suspect buyer confidence will return.

            But it won’t return evenly, demand in some market segments will regain their footing earlier than others (i.e. lower priced housing forms, hotter neighbourhoods, renovated properties). Someone moving into their first place may not be able to defer that decision and hold out the way someone moving up into a forever home can. Plus they face a lot less risk if the market slips a bit more.

            One thing i’ve seen over and over in the recovery is that when buyer confidence returns it spreads quickly and isn’t often associated with a return of seller confidence, which is what i see in the condo market right now. Demand has returned, but new listings aren’t keeping up. Condo inventory is crazy low right now.

          6. Chris says:

            “Given that the bottom has not fallen out, i suspect buyer confidence will return.”

            But if the March-May headlines begin touting YoY average price declines of 10-20%, as David alluded to in his post, do you not worry that the typical person will think the bottom is falling out, and lose confidence?

            You, me, most people reading this blog, we probably pay closer attention to the numbers. But I suspect the average person does not. They see the headline, maybe read a few lines, and react accordingly. Just look at those stories from last week about Mattamy pre-construction buyers in Whitby for an example of the “average buyer” and their sophistication level.

            I suppose I’m taking the other side of your prediction. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I would be surprised if TREB’s GTA Average Price re-attains the $920k level in 2018.

            Given negative headlines denting confidence, climbing interest rates while 47% of mortgages are up for renewal, the B20 stress test, high household debt levels, many homeowners holding multiple properties, and possible further government intervention (AirBnB, assignment clauses, vacancy tax, etc.), I’m less optimistic than you. But you probably could have guessed that!

            Guess we’ll know for sure which side of the prediction turns out to be true come December 2018, if not sooner (if average price does climb back to $920k).

          7. Kyle says:

            “But if the March-May headlines begin touting YoY average price declines of 10-20%, as David alluded to in his post, do you not worry that the typical person will think the bottom is falling out, and lose confidence?”

            No i don’t. I think that at best is wishful thinking on the part of some. Maybe some Joe blow who isn’t in the market might lose market confidence, but any active buyers or those who put off their purchase will look at where the rubber meets the road – actual transaction prices.

          8. Chris says:

            Well, as I said, you’re certainly more optimistic than I am.

            Anecdotally, I’ve encountered those who are putting off buying, owners of multiple residences (usually condos) that are looking to sell soon, and those close to retirement who want to lock in their profits by downsizing or leaving the GTA. Much of their decision seems to be a result of the more negative sentiment they perceive, brought about by the headwinds I discussed in my previous post.

            Granted, these are just my personal anecdotes. For every one I have, I’m sure you, or David, or someone else has another that is more bullish. So who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.