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Stale Report: GTA’s housing market finally starts to thaw

Stale Report   Toronto January 2019

The recent frigid temperatures across the Greater Toronto Area — both figuratively, in the real estate markets, and literally with sub-zero temperatures due to arctic winds — really put a freeze on Canada’s largest metropolis. While there doesn’t seem to be a respite from the freezing temperatures, as of late, the city’s real estate market appears to be thawing out.

By the end of January, 60% of single-family homes that were listed on the Toronto Real Estate Board’s MLS, were considered “Fresh” — defined when a listing is actively for sale for 30 days or less. A “Stale” listing is a property that is on the market for 30 days or more. To put this in perspective, there are now almost three times more fresh single-family home listings on the market in the GTA, compared to the same time last month.

The condominium market experienced a similar influx of new listings, with roughly 70% of all properties listed as Fresh. This is a significant increase from last month when just under 40% of condo listings were Fresh (or on the market for 30 days or less).

Stale properties sit on the market for longer

The median days on market (DOM) for single-family properties that were Stale was 79 days. That’s a 30% increase over last month, which could be indicative of a few factors: either the housing market still has to shake a bit of that December freeze, the lack of affordable housing is still dragging sales activity down, or the luxury market, where prices are prohibitively high for the majority of sellers, is still in a sales activity slump.

For example, the single-family home with the largest DOM continues to be 5-bedroom, 10-bathroom Bridle Path home that’s been on the market for over 600 days. It’s currently listed for $15 million CDN.

For condos, the median days for the 650 listings that are currently Stale, is 72 days — a 33% increase from last month. Unlike single-family homes, a saturated market of affordable condominiums appears to have slowed demand, particularly in the city’s southwest corridor, and this has put downward pressure on prices and created a significant headwind for stubborn or unrealistic condo sellers. 

The condominium listing that has been on the market the longest — currently sitting at 392 days — is a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condominium in Mimico, listed at just under $600,000. It’s one of 158 available condos in that area, the second-largest concentration of condo listings in the city. This current situation highlights that more choice can mean choosier customers and longer list times.

What neighbourhoods have stale listings?

Comparing stale listings between neighbourhoods can be tricky. As with any city, Toronto has certain areas that simply see more real estate activity than others. To account for this, Zolo has produced two different rankings:

  1. “Relative Ranking” looks at neighbourhoods that have the highest percentage of Stale listings relative to Fresh ones.
  2. “Weighted Ranking” first sorts by most listings in a given neighbourhood, then by relative Stale listings.

Stalest neighbourhoods for single-family homes

Going by Relative Stale Ranking, just two Toronto neighbourhoods were marked with 100% of their listings categorized as Stale, at the end of January: Markland Wood and Blake Jones, located on the west end of Bloor Street West and the southeastern neighbourhood of East York, respectively. South Parkdale, Yorkdale-Glen Park, the Junction Area and East York had Relative Stale rates that were 75% or higher. Given that these neighbourhoods are located in or near desirable areas, it’s important to examine why these communities have high Stale listing scores. It turns out each of these neighbourhoods experiences lower overall listings — from as few as one listing in Blake-Jones to a maximum of 11 in Yorkdale-Glen Park. This low number of overall listings tends to inflate the Stale ratings in these communities. However, a takeaway for any seller is that a competitively priced property in these communities should move relatively quickly in the current marketplace. 

Using a Weighted Ranking, Toronto’s St. Andrew-Windfields, Willowdale East, Newtonbrook East, Bayview Village and, Bedford Park-Nortown neighbourhoods had the most listings that were Stale. This isn’t a dramatic departure from last month, where the same neighbourhoods reported similar Stale listing numbers. 

Check out how all Toronto neighbourhoods ranked below, based on January 2019 data:

As for condos, eight Toronto neighbourhoods had 100% stale listings at months’ end using a Relative Ranking. In sharp contrast to last month, it was mainly neighbourhoods in Toronto’s east end (East York, Kingsway, Leaside, New Toronto, Oakridge) with 100% stale listings. As with single-family homes, an overall lack of condo listings in these areas greatly inflates their Stale numbers.

Weighted Stale rankings once again placed Toronto’s Waterfront Communities C1, Mimico, Willowdale East, Bay Street Corridor and Church-Yonge Corridor neighbourhoods in the top five.

Check out how all Toronto neighbourhoods ranked below, based on January 2019 data:

Stale Listings by Price

Single Family Homes

Out of 646 stale single-family home listings, the median price rose to  $1.588 million — up almost $200,000 from last month. The priciest property at the end of January is still the 9-bedroom, 14-bathroom home on the Bridle Path listed for $39.5 million.


Out of 650 stale listings, the median days that stale condominium listings are on the market is 72 days. The listing that has been on the market the longest continues to be a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condominium in Mimico, listed at just under $600,000.


Zolo analyzed approximately 3,600 single-family home and condominium properties that were listed on MLS as of January 31, 2019.

The report focuses on stale listings, real estate lingo for properties listed for sale that failed to sell within a certain period of time.  For our purposes, we consider a listing to be stale if it has sat on the market for 31 days or longer (a period of time also known as “DOM” or “Days on Market”). This 30-day mark is considered the industry and historical standard for the general average amount of time a listing will sit on the market before selling to a new buyer.

Why look at stale listings? Because it’s a great way to assess the relative health of a market.

A fresher market favours sellers, indicating market demand.

A stale market is better for buyers, affording them more leverage when purchasing homes that have languished on the market.

Toronto’s real estate market is a fluid platform with listings constantly being added and removed from the real estate portal. Zolo’s analysis is a snapshot comprised of active residential Freehold and Condominium listings on MLS as of December 31, 2018. Since our list is gathered independently, there can be a slight variation in figures posted in our stale report and the Toronto Real Estate Board’s monthly Market Watch report.

For single-family homes (otherwise classified as freehold listings), the following property types have been excluded from our analysis: Vacant Land, Other, Store w/apartment, properties listed at $1 or less.

For condo listings, the following property types have been excluded from our analysis: Parking Space, Locker, Leasehold, Det Condo, Co-Op Apt, Locker, Other, Common Element, Co-Ownership Apartment.

This report does not factor in re-lists by sellers under a different MLS number.

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David Weisz

Toronto-based David Weisz specializes in data-driven journalism. Prior to joining Zolo, he worked at the Toronto Star, Queen's Park Briefing and Global News. He teaches data journalism at Humber College and the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs' Fellowship in Global Journalism.