GTA housing sales have dropped drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, with home prices decreasing in the City of Toronto at a smaller percentage.
According to a recent report by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), the housing market is taking a hit with the current climate, with homes sales declining by 67% in April 2020 compared to the same time last year.
And, new listings declined on a year-over-year basis at a similar rate at around 64%.
For TRREB, the decrease is particularly significant as April is typically one of the busiest months of the year for real estate.
The selling price for all home types in Toronto dropped by 2.5%, with the average price being $881,424 in April 2020, compared to $904,199 in April 2019.
However, when averaging all five Toronto regions — Halton, Peel, Toronto, York and Durham — the average selling price for April 2020 was $821,382, which was up by 0.1% compared to the average price of $820,373 reported for April 2019.
The semi-detached and townhouse market experienced annual average price growth, but the condominium apartments and detached homes experienced declines in price on average.
Overall, the property price has not been significantly impacted because there have been enough buyers relative to the available listings, making the market price consistent with last year.
“When thinking about home prices, it is important to remember that the pace of price growth is dictated by the relationship between sales and listings,” Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst said.
“So, while the onset of COVID-19 has understandably shifted market conditions and resulted in average selling prices coming off their March peak, there has continued to be enough active buyers relative to available listings to keep prices in line with last year’s levels.”
The housing market area seeing the most change is condominiums.
In the GTA, rental transactions for a one-bedroom apartment were down by 57.9% and two-bedroom rentals were down by 54.4%.
The average rents for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments were also down on a year-over-year basis in April.
The average one-bedroom rent was $2,107 — down 2.7% compared to April 2019. The average two-bedroom rent was $2,705 — down 4.1% compared to April 2019.
“These are unprecedented times. Past recessions and recoveries do not necessarily provide the best guide as to how the housing market will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” John DiMichele, CEO of TRREB, said.
“A key factor for the housing market recovery will be a broader reopening of the economy, which will result in an improving employment picture and a resurgence in consumer confidence. To this end, it is reassuring that the province is taking measured and carefully monitored steps towards safely opening up some parts of the economy.”
In order to accommodate the current climate, virtual open houses are becoming more common and livestreams are being featured on public websites for home buyers and renters. This allows the housing market to keep fairly active, while physical distancing measures are in place.
And even though home sales were down significantly, there were still 1,036 home sale transactions in April, which was driven largely by buyers’ lifestyle needs that play out over a longer time frame, according to TRREB.