The big picture for home sales activity through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) in March depicts a strong year-over-year (y-o-y) sales increase of 12.3 per cent with 8,012 homes changing hands compared to 7,132 sales the year prior. New listings across the region rose three percent y-o-y to 14,424 and the average home price increased 14.5 per cent y-o-y to $902,680.
In the City of Toronto specifically, there were 2,771 home sales, marking a 12 per cent increase since February, and a 9 per cent increase y-o-y. Home prices remained flat since February, but increased 19 per cent annually to $987,787.
However, despite an overall increase in sales activity across the region, March was characterized by two distinct periods – the period before and the period after all three levels of government introduced emergency health and economic measures to contain COVID-19. These measures included social distancing protocols, economic relief packages, two emergency Bank of Canada rate cuts, as well as a number of initiatives targeting homeowners and renters.
Traditional Spring Market Conditions Depicted Across the GTA in Early March
In their latest monthly release, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) noted that sales were “clearly driven by the first two weeks of the month,” before emergency measures were introduced and when buyers and sellers were still gearing up for what was expected to be a busy spring market. Leading up to March 15, there were 4,643 transactions across TRREB, which is a 49 per cent increase compared to the same two week period the year prior. These transactions accounted for 58 per cent of all monthly transactions in the region in March.
GTA in Buyers’ Market Territory After COVID-19 Measures
With a growing number of home buyers and sellers choosing to stay out of the market in response to growing COVID-19 concerns and the resulting government measures, the region experienced a rapid change in market conditions over the latter half of the month. There were 3,369 sales reported from March 15 – 31, in what TRREB characterized as the “post-COVID period,” which is 15.9 per cent lower than the same period last year.
The slowdown in housing activity was most pronounced following Ontario’s emergency declaration on March 17, and resulted in a distinct shift in sales-to-new-listings (SNLR) ratios in favour of buyers’ market conditions across virtually all home types in the region. There were just under half the number of sales across all home types (a 53 per cent drop) in the two weeks following the emergency declaration. This, coupled with a 30 per cent dip in new listings for semi-detached and detached houses and a 26 per cent drop in new listings for the condo market, transformed the GTA from a balanced to a buyers’ market in just two weeks.
Prices Stable Across the Toronto Region Since February; Up Since 2019
At the high level, the average home price remains stable across the region at $902,680 compared to $910,290 last month and still depicts a y-o-y increase of 14 per cent. That being said, TRREB reported that prices experienced a decline in the second half of the month, when the sale price of $862,563 for the period between March 15-31.
Detached and semi-detached house prices across TRREB were up 12 and 13 per cent y-o-y at $1,107,870 and $889,480 respectively. Condo apartment prices were up 18 per cent to $658,791. Compared to the previous month, prices across all housing types remained flat or experienced a slight decline, with condo apartments most impacted by a 3 per cent drop in prices compared to February.
The City of Toronto experienced a similar trend – home prices for all housing types were up y-o-y. Detached house prices rose 16 per cent to $1,465,826 y-o-y, but remained flat compared to February 2020. Semi-detached house prices are down 4 per cent since February to $1,155,457 but up 13 per cent annually. Condo townhouses were most impacted by a 7 per cent monthly drop to $728,250 but up 12 per cent y-o-y. Condo apartments experienced the highest annual growth rate at 18 per cent increasing to $712,746 but average prices remained flat since last month.
Check out the infographics below to see how sales and prices have increased across all home types in for TRREB and the City of Toronto in March:
Note: Comments and stats highlighting the region as a whole are a reference to the areas covered by TRREB, which include: Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region, Toronto, Dufferin County and Simcoe County.
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