If business for Toronto brokers has been down this fall, it may not be for a lack of opportunity, given a 25 per cent jump in home sales for the first two weeks of September, compared to last year.
"In response to strong price growth, more households chose to list their homes for sale in comparison to last (season),” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Growth in listings is expected to continue. Increased choice will result in more sustainable rates of price growth."
In the first 14 days of this September, GTA real estate agents recorded a whopping 3,149 transactions – or a 25 per cent jump from the first two weeks of September 2010. New listings over the same period stood at 6,890, up 14 per cent compared to last year.
"The fact that sales continued to grow through the first half of September suggests that GTA households remain confident that the economy will remain buoyant," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.
That confidence has now accrued to the benefit of brokers, many of who struggling to grow originations in a year marked by increased competition with the banks. Slowing home sales across the first eight months of this year have also hampered efforts to maintain revenue streams. That is now changing.
“Originations on new purchases were up about 40 per cent in the first two weeks or so of September compared to the same time last year, but also the previous month,” Ray McMillan, owner of Home Mortgage Consultants Inc. in Mississauga. “It has been very solid.”
Other Toronto-area brokers are reporting the same type of gains, although threat of another recession as early as the end of the third quarter, suggest that the industry may return to a slower period even despite rates expected to remain at near historic lows well into 2012.
Still, the GTA may find itself relatively insulated from the brunt of that economic lull, argued McMillan, pointing to continuingly high demand for housing in Canada’s multicultural mecca.
“Demand for housing should remain fairly strong in the GTA from immigrant populations who are focused on homeownership and not rentals. There is also a large number of professionals and entrepreneurs among them and that suggests they will still have the means to purchase despite a dip in the economy.”