Falling Affordability = Lingering Inventory

Toronto’s real estate market went out with a whimper.  Although December transactions were higher than a year ago, last December’s sales volumes were ghastly.  Properties took on average 49 days to sell when factoring in that 25% of properties were re-listed.  Prices remained steady as many sellers chose to sell first before buying.  With less pressure to sell, owners chose to keep their property rather than selling at a reduced price.

Toronto’s 2023 real estate market continued the downward trend that began in 2021.  When comparing 2023 and 2022, sales dropped by 12% while prices declined by 4%, as buyers faced challenges with affordability in light of higher interest rates.

The slower market should come to no surprise with the cost of money significantly higher this year.  Currently the prime rate is 7.2% which compares to 6.5% in Dec 2022 and 2.45% in Dec 2021.

The lack of confidence in the real estate market has lead to 20% of sellers needing to re-list their properties since they did not sell at their original asking price.  With the market trending firmly into a buyer’s market, properties stayed on the market longer as properties are taking 30 days to sell compared to 23 days in 2022.  As a result, there is more than 3.5 months of Toronto real estate inventory with condominium apartments facing 4.7 months of inventory.

It appears that the Bank of Canada will be hitting the pause button on interest rate increases and the market is expecting rates to decline gradually by mid-year.  As such, the market is expected to rebound as lower interest rates will give support to the burgeoning population increased by immigration.

Shen Shoots the Breeze

I’m convinced that board games are the best gifts to get. They provide lots of interaction while stimulating the brain and don’t cost that much – unless you count the hours of snacks and drinks that are consumed during game play.

Over the holidays, we learned 2 new games: Blokus and Scout.

We played Blokus with a family who has a 7-year old and he gave the adults a run for their money. Blokus (officially pronounced “Block us”) is an abstract strategy game with transparent, Tetris-shaped, colored pieces that players are trying to play onto the board. The only caveat to placing a piece is that it may not lie adjacent to your other pieces.  Pieces may be placed touching at least one corner of your pieces already on the board. Each player has to fit as many of his/her 21 pieces on the board as possible. The winner fits the most of their pieces on the board. It is a 2-4 player game; although I’ve read that 1 person can also play the game.

The 2nd game was a card game called Scout. It is a 2-5 player game. Scout is a ladder-climbing game in which cards have two potential values, players may not rearrange their hand of cards. At each turn a player may play a set of cards or take a card from the pile. The goal is to have the most points at the end of the game by gaining cards or chips.

We enjoy board games that are relatively short, ie, less than 30 minutes to complete and use mostly strategy with a bit of randomness thrown in.

By the way, we also got Wingspan as a Christmas gift. We learned this game after 11pm so we didn’t give it a fair chance. Any readers out there who are interested in teaching us the game?

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