JANUARY 17, 2012
Greg brought this to my attention in a comment earlier today. It's worth noting in a post. I intend to follow up with TREB tomorrow.
Bottom line, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released their mid-month sales data for the first two weeks of January. From their report:
Greater Toronto REALTORS®reported 1,506 sales through the TorontoMLS®system during the first two weeks of January 2012. This result represented a six per cent increase compared to the first 14 days of January 2011. New listings were also up on a year-over-year basis, but by a lesser 3.7 per cent.
“The market didn’t miss a beat after the holiday season, with robust sales growth continuing and sellers’ market conditions remaining in place. Strong competition between buyers continued to push the average selling price higher in the Greater Toronto Area relative to a year ago,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Richard Silver.
The average selling price during the first two weeks of 2012 was $444,473 – up by more than 8.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.
Below is a screenshot of the press release with the key figures highlighted. Note that when compared to the 2011 mid January report, sales and prices appear very strong.
Greg astutely pointed out that the original 2011 press release has been removed from TREB’s website, but was documented on another website. Below is the screenshot from the original 2011 mid January report. Note that sales and prices are both higher in the original 2011 mid month report, meaning if we used these numbers, they show a more muted rise in prices (albeit still a rise), but more interestingly, they show a decline in sales.
At first glance it certainly conjures up images of the National Association of Realtors in the US, who were forced to significantly restate sales data after it came to light that they had misrepresented them. There may well be a logical explanation for the difference in TREB’s data, so we’d be wise to give them the benefit of the doubt for now. I will follow up with TREB tomorrow. In the meantime, perhaps some Toronto realtors may have some insights.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with TREB's data department. TREB began revising their monthly numbers to reflect final sales. As a percentage of 'sales' wind up falling through before completion, the issue was that if someone added up the monthly sales, they would not necessarily add up to the final year-end sales. The methodology certainly makes sense, but in this case we are talking about a 9% adjustment to sales, which is very high. The fine folks at TREB are looking into it further and agree that an adjustment of that size is highly unusual.