Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

RE/MAX West Realty Inc.,
Independently owned and operated

96 Rexdale Blvd. 
Toronto, Ontario 

Phone: 416-745-2300

Cell: 647-404-8150 
Toll Free: 1-888-507-0817

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What’s Happening in the Toronto Real Estate Market? (August 2013)

September 6, 2013 - Updated: September 6, 2013


Toronto Real Estate Market -August 2013 Statistics


In order for us to assess what is happening, let’s have a look at the public announcement (and commentary) by the Toronto Real Estate Board. After all, they are the ones who maintain the statistics.


Here’s a copy of the news release:


August 2013 Sales and Average Price Up Over 2012


TORONTO, September 5, 2013Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,569 residential transactions through the Toronto MLS system in August 2013. This represented a 21 per cent increase compared to 6,249 sales in August 2012.


“Sales were up strongly this past August for all major home types compared to last year. Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home. These households have found that a diversity of affordable ownership options exist throughout the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.


The average selling price for August 2013 was $503,094 –up by almost 5.5 per cent compared to the average of $477,170 in August 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 3.7 per cent over the same period.


“Despite an increase in borrowing costs during the spring and summer, an average priced home in the GTA has remained affordable for a household earning an average income. With this in mind, tight market conditions are expected to promote continued price growth through the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.



All in all, that sounds pretty good, sales are up 21% and prices are up 5.5 %. So, what could be better than that?


Let’s have a closer look at the numbers.



Sales                         (broken down monthy)




January                                     4,431


February                                  6,809


March                                      9,383


April                                        10,021


May                                         10,544


June                                         9,129


July                                          7,338


August                                     6,249


September                                5,687


October                                    6,713


November                                5,615


December                                 3,582





January                                     4,229


February                                   5,613


March                                      7,540


April                                        9,541


May                                         9,952


June                                         8,840


July                                          8,420


August                                     7,569



Average Prices                 (broken down monthly)





January        $462,701


February      $500,249


March          $500,892


April            $515,888


May             $514,567


June             $507,342


July             $475,523


August         $477,170


September   $501,326


October       $502,127


November    $484,186


December    $477,756






January        $482,080


February      $509,396


March          $517,207


April            $525,402


May             $540,756


June             $530,342


July             $513,043


August         $503,094




When we look at the average prices what do you see? At $503,094 we are only marginally better than several other months since 2012. In February of 2012 we were already at $500,249. That would be a 0.01% (1/10 of 1%) increase over 18 months, which works out to an annual 0.04 %. That’s not good. That’s a gain of less than one half of one per cent per year.


And, if we look at the month of May this year, we were at $540,756, so we have lost $37,662 since then, which works out to 7% drop since that time.


It’s fun to work with numbers. Sometimes they say what you want them to say and sometimes they don’t. Naturally, it’s important to be consistent and there are likely to be differences when comparing.


The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) constantly uses the year over year comparison. At least, they are consistent in their presentation. So, they compare August of this year to August of last year and go with the result, up or down.


This is a good comparison model when we are talking about sales. August traditionally is not a particularly strong month, so it’s better to compare it, to the month of August in previous years. This year, sales were up by 21%. But, you really can’t understand whether that’s positive or negative, until you know something about the August sales in previous years. Maybe August 2012 was just a bad year?


So, just for the fun of it, why don’t we look at the last 10 years. All these numbers are drawn from TREB’s published statistics:


2013                                                     7,569


2012                                                     6,249


2011                                                     7,542        


2010                                                     6,232        


2009                                                     8,035


2008                                                     6,318


2007                                                     8,059


2006                                                     6,976


2005                                                     7,326


2004                                                     6,743


The average number of real estate transactions which took place during the month of August was 7,105. This year, there were 464 more deals, which is a 7% increase over the 10 year average.


You might also wonder how the year is going, even if you reduce that 21% increase down to 7%?


Well, not quite so good!


Last year, the total sales to the end of August was 63,904 and this year that same number is 61,704, or 2,200 fewer sales. That would be a 3% decrease in sales this year. So, do you really care about the sales in August this year? And, why compare it to August 2012, which was the second worst August in a decade?



And what about that $503,094, how does that compare to the past? 


Here are some of the recent newspaper headlines, published about the TREB results:


“Toronto Real Estate Prices Jump with Condos helping increase in sales”


“Toronto Homes Sales up 21% in August, realtors say”


“Canada’s Two largest real estate markets are surging”



However, what if we were to come up with our own headlines:


  • Toronto Prices Drop 7% since May


  • Toronto Market Stagnates with 18 Months of No Growth


  • Sales in Toronto Are Down 3% this year     


Our own headlines are all actually true. They are biased, in part, because we wanted to choose a negative spin. But, just how valuable is the positive spin, particularly when those choosing the headlines, are not disclosing any bias, just providing you with the facts, or at least some of them.


If you would like to discuss the market, please give me a call.


Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker


Tagged with: toronto gta market august 2013
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Brian Madigan LL.B. Broker

RE/MAX West Realty Inc. Brokerage

Independently owned and operated

96 Rexdale Blvd. , Toronto Ontario,

Phone: 416-745-2300

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