The first quarter of 2019 hasn’t been great for the Greater Toronto Housing Market, with home sales and prices significantly softer than in the previous three years.
But that changed in April. The Toronto Real Estate Board reports that home sales rose by double-digit percentages, up almost 17 percent to 9,042 transactions, compared to 7,744 in April 2018. Home sales also rose month to month, jumping 11 per cent from March.
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“The strong year-over-year growth in sales is obviously a good news story and likely represents some catchup from a slow start to the year. TREB’s sales outlook for 2019 anticipates an increase relative to 2018,” said TREB President Garry Bhaura.
Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer, however, adds the caveat that ”while sales were up year over year in April, it is important to note that they remain well below April levels for much of the past decade.”
For this slower housing market, TREB blames the new, tighter mortgage lending rules, which, by reducing interest rate risk for prospective buyers, has also reduced their affordability.
TREB’s calls for flexibility regarding the stress test have yet to be answered, but it hopes that the new provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan, which seeks to reduce red tape and diversify housing types, will play some role in jump-starting the market.
Until that plan is formulated and executed, however, the market is likely to continue along its new rhythm.
But one thing that hasn’t changed much this April from the last decade is low inventory.
Although new listings rose slightly, at 8 per cent year over year, they remain lower than the sales rate, meaning competition in Toronto is likely to remain tight. Prices are likely to continue to rise, albeit more slowly than the past decade, until more sellers put their homes on the market and supply surpasses the rate at which buyers are purchasing properties.
Price growth was uneven across both the city and market type, with overall prices rising 2 per cent to $820,150. Detached houses edged downward 1 per cent to $1,018,150, while condos rose 5 per cent to $588,150.
Properties in the west end, like Etobicoke homes for sale, Burlington real estate and Oakville real estate, continue to outpace all eastern areas, with an average price of $855,516 versus $612,195, reflecting more established neighbourhoods and the desire of prospective buyers to live near the lakefront.
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