It’s officially an early start to the busy spring housing market in the Greater Toronto Area, with the latest data revealing home sales and price growth have more than rebounded from last February, when the market languished at a decade-low.
According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s (
Indeed, a total of 3,476 detached houses sold in the GTA in February, up 61.8%, at an average price of $1,113,918 (+13.7%). That’s followed by growth in the townhouse segment, which saw 1,140 transactions (+44.9%), and an average price of $731,081 (+14.9%). Semi-detached houses saw a similar pace of growth, though likely remain limited due to their overall smaller inventory levels; a total of 647 sold, up 43.5%, at an average price of $872,821 (+4.5%). Meanwhile, condos continued to see double-digit improvements with 1,906 units trading hands, up 24.8%, at an average price of $666,358 (+18.6%).
The number of newly-listed homes also experienced some long-awaited positive growth, with 10,613 homes added to the MLS, an increase of 7.9%. However, given that’s strongly outpaced by the growth rate in sales, market conditions grew even more competitive among home buyers; the GTA region sits firmly in a sellers’ market, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) of 68%.
All this has put upward pressure on the average home price, which rose 16.7% to $910,290 last month, with double-digit increases across all home types. As well, the MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark – a measure of the value of homes sold – rose by 10.2%, reflecting the greater proportion of higher-priced houses in the sales mix. However, overall, market sales remain 9.4% below February 2017 levels, while prices have edged 3.9% higher in the three years since.
Higher Home Prices to Come as Supply Stagnates
Should the trend of short supply continue, that will only fuel price growth throughout the year, says Jason Mercer, TRREB’s chief market analyst – and could even top the forecast the board set at the beginning of 2020.
“TRREB’s current average price forecast is for 10% price growth to $900,000 in 2020. While this outlook represents a very robust pace of growth, it is possible that further tightening in the detached market could push the overall average selling price above TRREB’s baseline scenario,” he stated. “This could unfold if sales growth continues to outstrip listing growth to the degree it has so far in 2020.”
The supply-and-demand gap will just be the market’s new normal, according to TRREB President John DiMichele, who points to stronger purchasing power among buyers as the impetus behind the strengthening market, especially as mortgage rates remain low and the impacts of provincial measures introduced back in 2017 have largely subsided.
“Sales growth well in excess of listings growth is once again the norm. This is because the temporary effects of the 2017 Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the OSFI mortgage stress test have largely worn off,” he stated. “However, while these policies were running their course, the well-publicized housing supply problem in the GTA continued unabated. All levels of government have acknowledged the supply problem, but we need to very quickly move from policy briefs to shovels in the ground.”
Sellers’ Markets Prevail Across Entire GTA
Tight sellers’ market conditions were present across the total GTA in February, with the tightest competition noted in the City of Toronto. A total of 2,477 homes sold in the 416, up 32.8% – combined with just a 6.5% increase in new listings, the city’s SNLR sits at 70.3%, pushing the average home price to nearly a million at $989,218.
In the 905 markets, which include houses in Mississauga, Brampton, and Burlington, sales rose 53.3%, while new listings increased by 8.6%, leading to an SNLR of 67%, and average home price of $869,381, an increase of 16.9%.
Check out the infographics below to see how sales and prices have increased across all home types in the Greater Toronto Area and City of Toronto markets in February: