In another sign that Canada’s residential real estate market is in trouble, home sales in the Greater Toronto Area, the country’s largest metropolitan region, fell 34.9% in February compared to the same month a year earlier, according to data from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).
Perhaps more worrisome, prices for residential homes also fell during February, with the average sales price for all housing types dropping 12.4% 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, said TREB in a news release.
The declines were blamed on buyers adjusting to new mortgage rules and government policy interventions. The board had previously warned that figures would be particularly stark in comparison to the opening months of 2017, when a booming market sent sales and prices skyrocketing in major Canadian cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. The market slowed considerably in the second half of 2017 following the implementation of the government measures – which included a 15% foreign buyers’ tax in the Toronto area.
“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 data released by TREB reaffirmed a split in the market between detached houses and more affordable condominium apartments. Prices for single detached family homes fell 17.2% in the GTA to just over $1 million – weighed down by an 18.6% decline to $1.28 million in the city of Toronto, and a 17.8% drop to $911,065 in the 905 region. The number of single detached houses in the GTA fell by 41.2%.
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% to $529,782. Sales of condominiums fell by 30.8% overall.