According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), home sales in the GTA during 2016 hit record numbers for the second consecutive year, with the strongest annual rate of sales growth experienced by condominium apartments, followed by detached homes.
GTA realtors reported 113,113 home sales throughout 2016, an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to 2015. In December alone, sales climbed 8.6 per cent year-over-year to 5,338.
“A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region’s population continued to grow in 2016,” said Larry Cerqua, TREB president, in a press release.
“It is important to point out that the strong demand that we experienced in 2016 was very much domestic in nature,” he added. “TREB recently commissioned Ipsos to survey its members with regard to the level and type of foreign buying activity within the Greater Toronto Area. The results of the Ipsos survey suggest that the level of foreign buying activity is low in the GTA. Only an estimated 4.9 per cent of GTA transactions, in which TREB members acted on behalf of a buyer, involved a foreign purchaser. In the City of Toronto, the share of foreign buyers was five per cent.”
The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) accelerated during 2016 in the TREB market area, climbing from 10.7 per cent in January to 21 per cent in December. The overall average selling price during 2016 was $729,922, up 17.3 per cent compared to 2015. The pace of the annual rate of growth for the average selling price also sped up during the year, including a 20 per cent spike in December.
“Price growth accelerated throughout 2016 as the supply of listings remained very constrained,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Active listings at the end of December were at their lowest point in a decade-and-a-half. Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost four per cent. In 2016, we saw policy changes and policy debates pointed at the demand side of the market. If we want to see a sustained moderation in the pace of price growth, what we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale.”
TREB plans to release the full results of the Ipsos survey on foreign buyers on January 31, 2017, in conjunction with its Market Year in Review and Outlook Report and the associated media event, which will include an expert panel and related submissions on the foundations of the housing supply issue in the GTA and possible solutions.