Listing Supply Spurs Buyer Competition
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) announced that 7,187 residential sales were reported through the MLS system in March – a decrease of just one sale compared with March 2018. Comparing the first quarter of 2019 with the first quarter of 2018, sales were down overall by 1%.
Similarly, nominal year-over-over changes were recorded for selling price. The average price for March sales increased by 0.5% annually, reaching $788,335. The average selling price for the first quarter of 2019 was up by 1.1% compared with that of 2018.
More discernible fluctuations can be observed with new listings. Compared with March 2018, new listings last month were down by 5.1%. Compared with the first quarter of 2018, new listings in the first quarter of this year fell by 1.5%.
“Market conditions have remained tight enough to support a moderate pace of price growth. Despite sales being markedly lower than the record levels of 2016 and early 2017, the supply of listings has also receded,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s chief market analyst. “This means that in many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, we continue to see competition between buyers for available listings, which provides a level of support for home prices.”
Condos Lead the Market for Price Gains
March saw condo prices in the GTA increase by 1.6% year-over-year, helping the average selling price for all home types reach $788,335, an annual increase of 0.5%. Compared with other home types, condos saw the most robust price gains.
The story is different, however, when it comes to March sales numbers. The number of condo apartment sales reported through the MLS last month was 9.7% lower than in March 2018. Across all housing types, new listings saw a decline as well. Compared with March 2018, new listings last month were down by 5.1%.
The numbers, as reported in the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) latest market report, point to tricky market conditions, – something TREB wants to see addressed.
“The OSFI stress test continues to impact homebuyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage. TREB is still arguing that the stress test provisions and mortgage lending guidelines, including allowable amortization periods for insured mortgages, should be reviewed,” says TREB president Garry Bhaura.
Bhaura adds, “The supply of listings in the GTA also remains a problem. Bringing a greater diversity of ownership and rental housing online, including ‘missing middle’ home types, should be a priority of all levels of government.”