The number of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) fell 16% in 2018 in addition to the number of new listings on the market, as home buyers and sellers dealt with higher borrowing costs and new mortgage rules.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), 77,426 residential transactions were recorded through its system in 2018, a 16.1% drop from the 92,263 sales during the previous year.
The board also reported the total number of listings in the GTA were down 12.7% over the same period to 155,823.
Meanwhile, the average selling price for all property types in the GTA fell by 4.3% to $787,300.
In Toronto specifically, home prices were up “very slightly” and down in the surrounding GTA regions. According to TREB, this is a reflection of the condominium apartment segment — which accounts for a large portion of sales in Toronto — performed better from a pricing perspective than the detached market segment.
Because of this, the average price for condominium apartment sales across the TREB market area was up by 7.8% year-over-year.
Garry Bhaura, TREB President, says “higher borrowing costs coupled with the new mortgage stress test” certainly prompted households to temporarily “move to the sidelines” to reassess their housing options.
“With this said, it is important to note that market conditions were improved in the second half of the year, both from a sales and pricing standpoint,” said Bhaura.
Jason Mercer, TREB’S Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels also touched on the decline in new listings in 2018 compared to the previous year.
“In many neighbourhoods, despite fewer sales from a historic perspective, some buyers still struggled to find a home meeting their needs. The result was a resumption of a moderate year-over-year pace of home price growth in the second half of the year,” said Mercer.
Mercer said price growth was strongest for less-expensive home types, as many home buyers sought more affordable homeownership options.
TREB also said the number of sales in December fell 22.5% to 3,781, down from 4,876 in the same month a year earlier.
The average sale price in December rose slightly by 2.1% to $750,180 from $734,847 when compared to December 2017.