Homebuying

Average Toronto home prices see first annual decline since 2009

By: Jessica Mach on December 5, 2017

The price for an average home in the Greater Toronto Area in November was $761,75, compared to $777,091 the same time last year — the first annual decline since 2009.

Housing sales and prices in November fell even as the number of homes listed for sale went up, says a new data report by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

TREB’s monthly report says that compared to November 2016, the number of sales in November 2017 decreased by 13.3%. November 2017 also saw the number of listings that entered TREB’s Multiple Listings Service, the board’s database of available properties in the Greater Toronto Area, hit 14,349 — up 37.2% on a year-over-year basis.

Average home prices in Toronto have now fallen in five of the past seven months. Despite that, TREB believes that Toronto should soon start recovering from a slump that began in April, following the introduction of new rules.

“We have seen an uptick in demand for ownership housing in the GTA this fall, over and above the regular seasonal trend,” said TREB president Tim Syrianos. “Similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane.”

Average home prices in Toronto have now fallen in five of the past seven months

Prices fell in November compared to October, albeit marginally. The average price for all home types combined was down by 2%, despite condo and apartment prices rising 17.1%. This fall is due mainly to fewer detached homes being sold in 2017.

The TREB report also shows that the number of transactions that went through the MLS was up since October. This is unusual, as housing sales tend to slow closer to the holiday season.

Like other experts, Syrianos believes this uptick in activity can be attributed to the OSFI’s new mortgage regulations, which are set to come into effect in January.

“It is also possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decision,” Syrianos said.

TREB’s report comes in the wake of a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal on Dec. 1, which upheld an April 2016 Competition Tribunal ruling that the board must make home sales data available online.

TREB, the largest organization of its kind in Canada, had previously held a monopoly on this information. Experts argued that this gave the board a disproportionate advantage in the real estate market.

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