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Toronto’s Epic Condo Bubble Suddenly Turns into Condo Glut

Toronto’s Epic Condo Bubble Suddenly Turns into Condo Glut

The high-rise construction boom in Toronto has been evident for a while. It has been motivated by sky-high prices. In May, prices in Toronto rose another 5% from a year ago. For all types of homes, prices are now 42% higher than at the crazy peak of the prior bubble! And if people can’t afford to buy any longer, even with super-low interest rates, well, they can step down to a fancily equipped micro-condo, or more commonly called shoebox condo, where the dining table might fold into a bed.

But suddenly we get a nerve-wracking disturbance in this beautiful picture:

National Bank Financial said in a note to its clients that, based on data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the number of completed but unsold condos in Toronto spiked in May to 2,837, an all-time record high.

So the monthly data is choppy and may not be very reliable. It’s an estimate, and estimating new and unsold condos isn’t that easy. But the magnitude of this spike far exceeds the monthly ups and downs in recent years, and exceeds even those dizzying spikes in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Toronto condo market went completely haywire.

But it wasn’t just one month. The count had edged up in April to hit 2,038 after having already spiked beautifully in March to the highest level since the early 1990s. This is what this phenomenon looks like:

Canada-Toronto-unsold-condos-2015-05

The report blamed the absorption rate, a measure of condos that have been completed during the month and were either sold or rented. It plunged to 69.5%. But don’t worry. “It would be premature to think that the absorption rate will stay low, causing persisting accelerated increases in the number of vacant completed condos,” the note said to mollify client anxieties.

 

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