November tends to usher in a calmer pace for the GTA housing market, as the impending holiday season prompts most buyers and sellers to put their market ambitions on hold until the new year. A total of 6,251 homes sold over the course of the month, down 3.4 per cent from October and marking a 14.7 per cent drop from 2017, reports the Toronto Real Estate Board.
That slower activity is especially evident this year, however, compared to the abnormally high demand experienced at the same time in 2017; the announcement that a new mortgage stress test would come in January created anxiety in the market, prompting buyers to lock in deals before borrowing criteria became more stringent.
Fewer Listings Squeeze Buyers
Some of that year-over-year sting has been offset, though, by a decline in new listings of 26 per cent: Fewer homes available for sale have outpaced slower activity in many of the markets tracked by TREB, pushing the average home price up 3.5 per cent to $788,345.
“New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” stated TREB President Garry Bhaura. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundations for renewed price growth.”
Mortgage Stress Test Continues to Impact Affordability
The impact of that aforementioned stress test continues to be felt throughout the market, as a combination of tougher mortgage rules and rising interest rates have chopped affordability for many buyers. As a result, homes at a lower price point prove to be most popular, says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.
“Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months,” he stated in TREB’s release.
“Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year.”
Condos and semi-detached homes saw the greatest increases in price of all home types, up 7.5 per cent to $556,723 and 8.3 per cent to $791,760, respectively. Buyers are likely to find the greatest affordability in secondary markets, such as condos for sale in Mississauga, or houses for sale in Etobicoke.
Check out the infographic below to see how sales trends have changed month over month and year over year in the TREB and 416 markets.