Friday the biggest real estate organization in the country – the fattest in all of North America, actually – releases its latest numbers. Yeah, yeah, December always sucks in Toronto. We know that. Last year a measly 4,718 properties changed hands.
We also know sales in the first two weeks were running 16% behind the same period in 2011, and that was before the heavens opened up and the fiscal cliff loomed. So, it’s a fair assumption to expect a drop of about 20% in the stats. (Update, Friday morning: the numbers are out. The sales decline in December was 19.5%, year/year.) This marks the ninth consecutive month of sales declines in the GTA which, apparently, has not happened before. Unless the laws of economics don’t apply to this market of six million people, lower prices will follow.
Already you can see the impact of this. Way more realtors posting on this pathetic blog. “Garth, are you uneasy about the fact that you have become the king of our nation’s jealous losers?,” asks one from Halifax. “If your brains equaled your arrogance, that would be one thing. But your arrogance far outweighs your mind,” says another from Toronto. “You are jealous at all the money realtors are making. Deep down you regret not being one I bet. Man u missed a lot of commissions,” adds a broker from BC.
Well, speaking of Vancouver, that real estate board has just shoveled out the heartache for everyone who bought there in the last two years.
- A paltry 1,142 sales last month, down 31.1% from the previous December. Ouch.
- Sales crashed 32% from November. Yes, this past November.
- Sales for all of 2012 – which included the frenzy last Spring which I told you at the time was the market top – crashed 23% from 2011, and were 25.7% below the ten-year average.
- The average detached home in Van has lost 1% of its value every month since June.
- Listings (as I told you yesterday) are plunging. Shell-shocked sellers have retreated from the market, and are desperately hoping there will be a spring revival. And Jesus is coming.
So how do you smear some lipstick on this pig?
“For much of 2012 we saw a collective hesitation on the part of buyers and sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market,” says head realtor Eugen Klein. “This behavior was reflected in lower than average home sale activity and modest fluctuations in home prices.”
Meanwhile this week people across BC are receiving their provincial assessments – which show substantial decreases in a huge number of properties, but are already six months out of date. This province is hugely at risk of a real estate-induced recession in 2013.
Meanwhile Albertans continue to risk utter delusion. Would you believe people in Edmonton woke up to this headline yesterday?
Yeehaw! Yahoo! What the heck are these cowboys and oil patchers yelping about? Last month sales in the city where digits freeze plunged 31% from the previous month, and are down 17% from the same month a year ago. Listings have withered by almost 19%, and it now takes over two full months to sell a house – and rising.
As for price, the average property has gained just $17,000 in a year, to $333,140, but the value of all houses sold last month took a 12.3% tumble. Hell, the average price of a property in Edmonton was lower in December than it was back in August, while it took 22% longer to sell a house.
How is this “Home $weet Home”? Who peed in the water trough?
“The Finance Minister toyed with the mortgage qualification rules at the beginning of the year but otherwise this market operated in a smooth and stable manner,” fibbed board prez Doug Singleton.“ Realtors and their clients could trade in real estate with confidence and certainty.”
You can be confident, all right. 2013 will be one to remember.