January 6, 2014 -- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,078 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in December 2013 – up by almost 14 per cent compared to 3,582 sales reported in December 2012. New listings entered into the TorontoMLS system were down by almost four per cent over the same period.
Total sales for calendar year 2013, at 87,111, were up by approximately two per cent compared to 85,496 transactions in calendar year 2012.
“After a slow start to the year, sales growth accelerated to a brisk pace in the second half of 2013. Despite the inclement weather in December, we finished the year with a respectable gain in transactions compared to 2012. Looking forward, I believe that home ownership in the GTA will remain affordable as borrowing costs stay low. The result could be a further increase in sales in 2014,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
“The average selling price will be up again in 2014 and by more than the rate of inflation. The seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA. Some neighbourhoods, especially those characterized by low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhomes, will continue to have less than two months of inventory,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
The average selling price for December 2013 sales was $520,398 – up by 8.9 per cent compared to the average of $477,756 in December 2012.
The average selling price for 2013 as a whole was $523,036, which represented an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the calendar year 2012 average of $497,130.
2014 could be turnaround year for Toronto house market
The coming year could be turnaround time for Toronto’s housing and rental markets.
With a surprisingly unpredictable 2013 coming to an end, economists are weighing in on what the future could hold. While opinions vary somewhat, there seems general agreement that house price gains will slow — if not slip by the end of 2014 — and the rental vacancy rate should edge up slightly as a record number of new condos come on the market.
But forget all those fears about a housing bubble that’s about to burst, says Helmut Pastrick, chief economist of Central 1 Credit Union.
He expects Toronto resale house prices to continue to climb by a more modest, but still healthy, 4 to 5 per cent through 2016 and double over the next 25 years fuelled by a shortage of land for new development and rising population levels.
“Housing in Toronto is expensive but not overvalued, especially from a long-term perspective,” Pastrick said in a forecast released Thursday. “Today’s record high prices will seem inexpensive in 25 years.”
But affordability will become a worsening problem, he warned.
Toronto region house prices rose to a seven-month high of 4.2 per cent in November, over a year earlier, according to Teranet-National Bank house index price numbers also released Thursday.
Those gains were pushed along by a surge of summer buying from house hunters panicked by that interest rates were on the rise.
While that spending spree has already shown signs of a letup, demand for houses continues to outstrip supply which could see Toronto price gains “temporarily rise” to as much as 7 per cent, year over year, in early 2014, says Amna Asaf of Capital Economics.
But look for those gains to taper off in the second half of next year: “If we are right, and sales fall further, then house prices will eventually decline,” added Asaf.
Rental demand and the vacancy rate across the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area was 1.6 per cent in October, essentially the same as the 1.7 per cent rental vacancy rate a year earlier, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in its Fall Rental Market Survey released Thursday.
“Strong demand from young adult households and few renter households moving to home ownership” have both contributed to a healthy rental market, says Ed Heese, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Toronto.
But the vacancy rate for rental condominiums actually climbed as of October to 1.8 per cent, up from 1.2 per cent a year earlier, because of the number of new units coming on the market, he notes.
Market conditions remained tight enough up to October, however, that rents for an average two-bedroom unit were up 3 per cent, year over year.
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2 tablespoons canola oil
2½ pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, cut in quarters
8 garlic cloves, peeled
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 slices ¼"-thick slices peeled ginger
1 cup chicken broth (I like the Pacific and Imagine varieties)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cooked white rice
1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Add garlic to pot and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove to the plate with the chicken.
3. Add ½ cup water to pot and stir, scraping up the browned bits. Add brown sugar and stir until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar and stir again.
4, Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce, then add chicken, skin side up, and garlic. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20–25 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
5. Bring caramel sauce to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot and turn it with tongs until it is coated with the sauce.
6. Place hot cooked rice on each plate, top with a chicken piece or two, scatter scallions on top and serve!