Toronto home prices are still a long way from their 2017 peak

By: Jessica Mach on March 6, 2018

The average price of a Toronto home remains a long way from the $920,791 peak seen last April.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said on Tuesday that the average price for all home types, including houses and condos was $767,818 in February, down 12.4% compared with February of last year. Prices, however, saw a slight bump when compared to January, easing fears that the city’s housing market is teetering on the verge of a housing crash.

Fewer people are also buying homes in the Greater Toronto Area even though more homes are now available for sale.

In February, 5,175 homes were sold in the GTA — down 34.9% from the 7,955 homes that were sold the same time last year, said TREB’s monthly market report for the region. This decline occurred even as more sellers put their homes on the market: the board reported that there were 10,520 new home listings in February 2018, compared to 9,801 in February 2017.

This slowdown was predicted by housing experts, as municipal, provincial, and federal politicians had introduced a number of housing measures last year to address Toronto’s affordability crisis. These measures include a stress test that makes it harder for hopeful homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage, Airbnb regulations that will come into effect in the summer of 2018, and a foreign buyer’s tax.

“Prospective home buyers are still coming to terms with the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, and some have also had to reevaluate their plans due to the new OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test guidelines and generally higher borrowing costs,” said TREB president Tim Syrianos in the report.

In spite of the big differences between this February and last February’s numbers, though, the slowdown is not so drastic if we consider that February 2017 broke records in terms of sales. Thus, this February’s more typical numbers should not be taken as an indication that fewer people are looking for a home anymore.

While actual sales have gone down, government policies seem to have only affected the single home market. The price for such a home was $986,511 in February, down 14.6% from last year.

Condos, however, have seen their prices rise. The average price of a condo was $520,202 in February, up 11.8% when compared to last year. Given the rapid increases in home prices, condos have become more appealing to home buyers in recent years.