Even though home sales in the Greater Toronto Area dropped 12.7 per cent in April compared to March, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) still recorded a strong market.
April sales more than quadrupled compared to April 2020 when pandemic reality set in. Compared to the ten-year sales average of 10,000 for the April 2010 to April 2019 period, the April 2021 sales result was up by 36.6 per cent.
There was also a pull-back of new listings—down 8.4 per cent compared to March 2021, but more than triple the number of new listings reported in April 2020. New listings were up by 18.3 per cent compared to the ten-year average.
TRREB President Lisa Patel said the activity decline in April makes sense. “We’ve experienced a torrid pace of home sales since the summer of 2020 while seeing little in the way of population growth,” she noted. “We may be starting to exhaust the pool of potential
buyers within the existing GTA population. Over the long term, sustained growth in sales requires sustained growth in population.”
Typically, the average selling price increases between March and April, but this year it remained flat. Although, year-over-year looks different. The average price of $1,090,992 was up by 33 per cent compared to last April. Many market-observers are predicting a strong housing market will continue through 2021.
“While the pace of price growth could moderate in the coming months, home prices will likely continue on the upward trend,” predicted TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. “Renewed population growth over the next year coupled with a persistent lack of new inventory will underpin home price appreciation.”
Condo sales dip since rising through winter
Other data from condo listing website Strata, reveals a total of 2,477 condo sales transactions—down 17 per cent from March’s peak of 2,978. Inventory levels, meanwhile, remained relatively stable with 2,618 units on the market; just a 6 per cent increase from the month prior.
This is the first dip since a steep ascent that began in December. Prices in April flattened, with the average price-per-square foot for a Toronto condo listed at $882, just a $3 dollar decline from March.
“That sudden rise in demand over the winter had solidified people’s beliefs that we’re in a bubble… a bubble that was eventually going to burst,” said Strata.ca realtor, Francisco Hiebert. “But I don’t think we’re going to see values plummet like that. If you look at the numbers, prices per-square-foot are still lower than what they were right before the first COVID-19 lockdown.”
According to broker Cliff Lui, buyer fatigue is perhaps why the condo market cooled in April. He expects this pattern to continue for another couple of months.
“I had some listings for sale, and we did see some action, ” he said. “But it was way below our expectations. My seller clients are hoping the market will pick up again once this lockdown lifts. But my buyers are hoping prices will plummet after April’s plateau.”
Others believe the latest lockdown is the cause. Strata.ca agent Milan Mitrovic said his clients’ biggest fear is exposing other family members to COVID-19.
“That’s why some of them have avoided all contact with older relatives, so they can continue their property search,” he noted. “I’d say it’s not so much buyer fatigue that’s holding them back. It’s more like pandemic fatigue at this point.”