Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area plunged 34.9 per cent in February compared to the same month a year ago as buyers adjusted to new mortgage rules and government policy interventions, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said.
Prices tumbled too, with the average sales price for all housing types falling 12.4 per cent to $767,818. A total of 5,175 homes sold in the Toronto region during the month, a steep decline from the record 7,955 sales posted in February 2017.
TREB said the declines had been expected due to market-cooling measures brought in by the Ontario government last April and tougher new mortgage rules introduced in January. The board had also warned that figures would be particularly stark in comparison to the opening months of 2017, when a booming market sent sales and prices skyrocketing. The market slowed considerably in the second half of 2017 following the implementation of the Ontario measures – which included a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax.
“As we move further into the spring and summer months, growth in sales and selling prices is expected to pick up relative to last year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.
The figures reaffirmed a split in the market between detached houses and more affordable condominium apartments. Prices for single detached family homes fell 17.2 per cent in the GTA to just over $1 million – weighed down by an 18.6 per cent decline to $1.28 million in the city of Toronto, and a 17.8 per cent drop to $911,065 in the 905 region. The number of single detached houses in the GTA fell by 41.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, prices in the booming condominium market continued to surge even as the number of sales took a steep slide. Prices for condominium apartments in the GTA rose 10.1 per cent to $529,782. Sales of condominiums fell by 30.8 per cent overall.
“Expect stronger price growth to continue in the comparatively more affordable townhouse and condominium apartment segments,” Mercer said. “This being said, listings supply will likely remain below average in many neighbourhoods in the GTA, which, over the long-term, could further hamper affordability.”