March Musings

Toronto’s February 2022 real estate market experienced fewer sales compared to the all-time record in February 2021.  Meanwhile, prices were the 2nd highest ever for the month of February as competition between buyers remained tight resulting in double digit price growth across all market segments.  

Price increases were the result of strong demand despite a backdrop of inflationary pressure, high oil prices and the spectre of higher interest rates.

For the first time, average prices for detached properties exceeded the $2 million.  I’ve been keeping an eye the differences between average freehold prices and average condo apartment prices to get a sense of where prices may heading. The graph below shows that the average price gap grew from $305k from 2020 to $690k in Jan-Feb 2022 between freehold and condo properties as consumer preferences favoured larger indoor and outdoor spaces.

On a relative basis, by dividing average freehold prices by average condo prices, we see that in Jan-Feb 2022, the average freehold was 1.8 times more than the average condo.  This is slightly higher than the recent averages of the average freehold being 1.6 times more than the average condo.

For predictive purposes, prices will likely settle closer to their long term norms if the price gap tightens between freeholds and condos.  This will occur if condo prices increased at a relatively higher rate than freeholds and/or freehold prices pulling back.  My sense is that the former is more likely but it’s just as likely that it will be a combination of the two.

Shen Shoots The Breeze

Dave and I attend a mid-week church group. This is a group made up of a dozen people that meet to encourage, study the Bible and pray for one another.  In between, we have a lot of laughs and fellowship.

This semester, our group is tackling the book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley. Its purpose is to foster rules on how to live life by employing daily and weekly habits to transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbour.

The book suggests 4 daily habits and 4 weekly habits to consider embracing. Whether you are religious or irreligious, the book challenges us to resist prevailing cultural trends and be mindful of the habits we actively adopt or just fall into.

I highlighted some of the habits which make a difference for me and how I order my day – not that I do this perfectly but what I hope to incorporate as foundational life-long habits.

  1. Scripture before phone each day. Smartphones provide amazing benefits that impact our daily lives. Rather than reaching for my phone upon waking, the book encourages me to read Scripture each morning. I believe this allows me to learn more about God while revealing things about myself. The author challenges me to allow something greater than my to-do list and set the tone for my day. 
  2. An hour conversation with a friend once a week. The chapter in this book opens with a quote from author, Mortimer J. Adler, “Without communication there can be no community.” This habit challenges me to consider others and to take time out of my schedule to be interested and pursue relationships. No one is an island and we were designed for friendships.
  3. One hour with the phone off daily. There are very few vocations in this world where answering a phone can mean life or death.  Turning off the phone allows me to concentrate on the important things such as family, friends, myself versus the urgent things.
  4. Curate media. Many smartphones have the ability to track how the phone is used during the day. I never look at that setting as I’m afraid it would scare me. The author challenges me to limit my media consumption and be mindful of the type of media consumed.

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