There were 5,175 home sales in the Greater Toronto Area in February 2018, a decline of 34.9 per cent compared to the 7,955 sales reported in February 2017, reports the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).
The number of new listings last month totaled 10,520, an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to the 9,801 new listings entered during the same period last year. However, the level of new listings remained below the average for the month of February for the previous decade.
“When TREB released its Outlook for 2018, the forecast anticipated a slow start to the year compared to the historically high sales count reported in the winter and early spring of 2017,” said Tim Syrianos, TREB president, in a press release. “Prospective home buyers are still coming to terms with the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, and some have also had to re-evaluate their plans due to the new OFSI-mandated mortgage stress test guidelines and generally higher borrowing costs.”
The MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark climbed 3.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis for the GTA, driven by the apartment and townhouse market segments, which experienced annual benchmark price increases of 18.8 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively. Single-family detached and attached benchmark prices fell slightly compared to February 2017. The overall average selling price for February sales was down 12.4 per cent year-over-year to $767,818. However, when removing the price spike reported in Q1-2017 from the equation, February’s average price remained 12 per cent higher than the average reported for February 2016, which represents an annualized increase well above the rate of inflation for the past two years.
“As we move further into the spring and summer months, growth in sales and selling prices is expected to pick up relative to last year,” added Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Expect stronger price growth to continue in the comparatively more affordable townhouse and condominium apartment segments. This being said, listings supply will likely remain below average in many neighbourhoods in the GTA, which, over the long-term, could further hamper affordability.”
In recent submissions to the City of Toronto and other levels of government, TREB has maintained that housing affordability must continue to be a priority.
“It is encouraging that the City did not include demand-oriented tax policies in its budget,” continued Syrianos. “TREB believes that all levels of government need to collaboratively develop solutions to increase the supply of housing, especially the ‘missing middle.’ This was noted in our 2018 Market Year in Review and Outlook Report, which calls for more ‘gentle density,’ including housing types like semi-detached houses, townhouses, multiplexes and apartments.”