Toronto housing market defies crash fears again as prices creep up in October

By: Jessica Mach on November 5, 2018

Despite long-time fears of a crash, Toronto’s housing prices rose in October when compared to a year ago. The average price of a home in the city was $807,340 last month, up 3.5% from October 2017’s average price of $780,400, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board of Toronto (TREB).

Predictions of a housing crash in the city have been going on for the better part of a decade now and residents have especially been paying attention to prices this year, as a new mortgage stress test went into effect in January.

But prices have continued to rise. Condo prices accounted for most of the increase in October, costing $562,523 on average, or 7.5% more than last year.

Semi-detached home prices also went up by a significant margin — 6.6% compared to October 2017, or an average cost of $816,657. Townhouses meanwhile saw a year-over-year increase of 4.1% (they cost an average of $655,777), while detached homes only saw a 1% increase ($1,019,416).

October saw the sale of 7,492 homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), marking an uptick in sales after a summer and early fall lull.

Home sales typically start tapering off after homebuying season ends in the summer, and then see a brief pick up in September and October. They then again take a dip as both winter and the holiday season approaches. Sales in October saw an increase compared to September, which saw the sale of only 6,455 homes.

Home sales had started falling back in July, when only 6,961 homes sold in the GTA after June’s peak of 8,082. As the months went by, the numbers continued to drop.

The surprise uptick in sales last month additionally represents a year-over-year increase from October 2017, when only 7,069 homes were sold. That’s a solid 6% upward turn, pushed mostly by the sales of detached homes. 3,328 were sold in October, compared to 774 semi-detached homes and 2,127 condo apartments.

The October uptick happened even though listings were down: in September, there were 20,089 active home listings compared to 18,926 in October. However, listings were slightly up on a year-over-year basis: there were 18,859 in October 2017, or 0.4% less than October 2018.

The increase in sales despite the decrease in listings suggests that the city’s housing market is recovering from the spate of legislation that was introduced back in 2017, most of which made it harder for buyers to secure a home on the Toronto market. The stress test that was introduced at the start of 2018 especially dampened buying activity over the past year.

It has also defied fears of a flood supply hitting the market and leading to a crash in prices.