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Solutions to Toronto’s tight housing market needs to focus on ways of expanding inventory – especially low-rise housing types across the GTA, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

November market statistics go a long way in supporting TREB’s position: Housing sales increased 16.5 % to 8,547 in November 2016 over the same period last year, again surpassing the growth in new listings. Condominium and townhomes, with relatively more inventory, continued to lead the sales charge.

Consistent with the market behaviour of previous months, increases in average prices were most visible in the detached and semi-detached categories, but all home types showed double-digit increase in prices; the price of an average home rose by 22.7% to $776,684.

Overall, the average price of a detached home in Toronto and the GTA totalled $1,058,273 (to $1,345,962 in Toronto and $957,517 in the rest of the GTA.) Condo apartments remain reasonably priced but still advanced by 15.1% overall to $443,586.

At the end of November, TREB expressed concern over changes to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax (TLTT) that made it difficult, particularly for first-timers, to purchase in the area. The Board will submit its recommendations for TLTT during the 2017 budget discussions.

Policy initiatives designed to tamp down demand, such as TLTT changes, should be re-focused on new solutions to inventory problems in the low-rise sector, TREB’s director of market analysis, Jason Mercer, suggests.

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