Toronto suburbs see big gains in detached home sales after two-year slump

By: Lisa Coxon on September 9, 2019

Detached home sales in the Greater Toronto Area, which includes the suburbs of Mississauga, Oakville, and Newmarket, are seeing major gains, according to new TREB data released last Thursday.

Sales of detached houses in the 905 region (named after the area code) have increased by 20% or more every month since April — putting an end to a two-year slump.

In August, detached home sales in this region jumped by 24.5% compared to last year and comprised almost 40% of sales of all home types in the GTA. 

Toronto, by comparison, saw only an 8.8% increase in detached home sales in August when compared with last year’s sales figures.

“GTA-wide sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major market segments, with annual rates of sales growth strongest for low-rise home types including detached houses,” said TREB president Michael Collins in the release.

But while sales might be soaring, prices are seeing more modest gains. An average house in the 905 region sells for $918,242, which is up only 1.3% from last year.

One explanation for the region’s spike in sales, according to Chris Slightham, owner of Royal LePage Signature Realty, is that sellers in the 905 region have been reluctant to list their homes at market prices in hopes that they’d see the same kind of profits their neighbours saw when prices were higher. 

In March 2017, the monthly average sale price for detached homes hit a whopping $1,124,088. This was a 34% spike from the same month a year earlier. But by the summer, the real estate bubble had burst and the number of detached homes sold in the 905 had fallen by almost half compared with the year before, according to the Globe. This incentivized homeowners to stay put and wait for the housing market to heat up again.

This current bounceback in the region, Slightham told the Globe, can be attributed to a “change in sentiment among suburban sellers.”

“There’s a point where you have to make decisions in life,” he said. “Life happens, kids grow up and it’s time to downsize, or new kids come along and it’s time to upsize. So for regular life reasons, you finally have to say, ‘Okay, it looks like those peak prices are not coming back any time soon.’”