Toronto Area Home Sales Up From A Year Ago, As Supply Falls

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Real estate conditions are looking sunny thus far in September — but sales are far from the booming activity that characterized the record-breaking 2016 market, reports the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Year-over-year numbers for homes for sale are up a modest 1.9 per cent throughout the Greater Toronto Area, with 6,455 homes changing hands.

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That the market is rebounding from the declining trend seen post-Fair-Housing Plan is promising, though it’s a softer picture than seen in August, with activity down five per cent month over month. However, current homeowners can rest easy, as their real estate investments have seen annual growth, up 2.9 per cent to an average of $796,786.

New Listings Balance Out Market

Sellers are certainly coming out of the woodwork, with 15,920 new listings hitting the market in September. That’s a hefty 30.8 per cent increase from August. Combined with slower month-over-month sales, that’s pushed GTA buying conditions into more balanced territory from the steeper, almost-sellers’ market experienced in August.

However, that’s less stock than what came to market in 2017 by 3.1 per cent, prompting TREB to warn that tightening supply could once again put upward pressure on home prices.

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“With sales up year-over-year and new listings down, market conditions became tighter. Many buyers may have found it more difficult to find a home meeting their needs,” the board’s report states.

Some Markets Softer Than Others Says TREB President

Some neighbourhoods — for instance the beleaguered 905 regions — have experienced slower September markets than others, points out TREB President Garry Bhaura.

“It is healthy to see sales and prices in many areas across the Greater Toronto Area up a bit, compared to last year’s lows,” he says. “At the same, however, it is important to remember that TREB’s market area is made up of over 500 communities. Market conditions have obviously unfolded differently across these communities.”

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In the typically hot 416 sales have remained relatively flat, declining 1.1 per cent from August, and 1.6 per cent from 2017, while a flood of new listings — a whopping 45 per cent — have pushed the market into decidedly balanced territory, while the average price clocked in at $864,275.

Red Hot Prices Remain A Concern For Board

Despite slower sales thus far in 2018, Bhaura emphasizes that homeownership remains an attractive and resilient investment, with some markets remaining at risk for heating prices.

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“While higher borrowing costs and tougher mortgage qualification rules have kept sales off the record pace set in 2016, many households remain positive about homeownership as a quality long-term investment,” he says.

“As the GTA population continues to grow, the real challenge in the housing market will be supply rather than demand.

Check out the infographic below to see how September 2018 home sales have changed both month-over-month and year-over-year throughout the GTA and 416:

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