Toronto Real Estate Prices Rise Despite Weakest January Sales Since 2009

Greater Toronto real estate agents have been dropping anecdotal evidence the market is firming. It might be true, according to the latest composite benchmark prices presented by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). Home prices generally fell across the region, except in the most dense part—the actual City of Toronto. In the City, the price of a typical home actually climbed. One month isn’t enough to declare that a trend has changed, but it likely has the central bank sweating bullets. 

Greater Toronto Real Estate Prices Fell, Just Not In The City

Greater Toronto real estate prices seem to have found a floor in some regions. The TRREB-wide composite benchmark fell 0.2% (-$2,500) to $1,078,900 in January. However, in the City of Toronto, the benchmark price climbed by 0.5% (+$5,100) to reach $1,067,000 in the month. While one month doesn’t make a trend, the data comes after Oakville-Milton single-family homes made a big jump higher in December. Not exactly the cooling expectations the Bank of Canada (BoC) had in mind for the market when it announced a pause. 

Greater Toronto Real Estate Are Off The Peak

The composite benchmark price of a home across Greater Toronto.

Source: TRREB; Better Dwelling.

Greater Toronto Real Estate Prices Are Still Down Significantly

Might not want to read too much into a single-month increase with prices still down significantly from last year. TRREB home prices are down 14.2% (-$178,400) from a year ago, while the City of Toronto is 10.2% (-$120,700) lower. For those curious, the rate of decline is still decelerating despite the month’s increase due to a base effect. Prices in January failed to rise as much as last year. 

Greater Toronto Real Estate Price Growth Is Decelerating

The 12-month percent change for the composite benchmark price of a home across Greater Toronto.

Source: TRREB; Better Dwelling.

Greater Toronto Home Sales Had The Worst January Since 2009 

Greater Toronto residential real estate sales through the MLS are getting weaker. Sales across TRREB fell 44.6% to 3,100 homes in January. Being roughly cut in half is as bad as it sounds, it was the fewest homes sold since 2009.  

Greater Toronto Real Estate Sales

The number of existing-homes sold across Greater Toronto through the TRREB, the local real estate board.  

Source: TRREB; Better Dwelling.

Greater Toronto Inventory More Than Doubled, “Balanced”

At the same time, inventory pressures are still releasing. The number of active listings for sale jumped 124.6% to 9,299 homes in January. New listings showed a mild drop of 3.7%, and fell to 7,688 units over the same period. However, the drop was much smaller than that of sales, meaning less pressure on prices. 

The result is the sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) is MUCH lower than last year. This is the indicator that determines if a market is a “buyers” or “sellers” market. The SNLR fell from 70% this time last year to 40% last month. That’s right, at the cusp of the 40%-to-60% range where the ratio is considered balanced, and priced right for the market. 

So what’s happening? Once again, one month doesn’t make a trend, but there’s a few conditions that may be attracting buyers. The interest rate on a 5-year fixed rate mortgage is falling, meaning the market expects interest rates to fall relatively soon. At the same time, the Bank of Canada (BoC) is signaling the end of rate hikes, leading many antsy buyers to see this as close to the bottom. 

The softening expectations are likely to be a big concern for the BoC in the coming months. Rising rates were supposed to throttle expectations for 18 to 24 months. Now with the general public reading into every move the central bank makes, their expectations are softening before inflation issues have been resolved. If it wasn’t just an anomaly, the BoC has a big problem on its hands. 

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  • Ray 1 year ago

    I think they’re all full of BS.
    I know so many agents that are looking for a new job. There’s plenty of customers but the money supply has been cutoff. Without the banks there’s no business. They’re only lending to people with a really high down payment and they have to prove without a shadow of a doubt thier income.

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