May Showers Rain on Toronto’s Real Estate Parade

It’s crazy what can happen in just a couple of weeks, especially when you’re talking about the Toronto housing market. After months of drops and declines, April actually saw a small increase in sales, giving real estate agents, sellers, and buyers across the city hope once again. However just two weeks later, here we are. In the middle of May and once again seeing sharp declines. The real question is, can we really be that pessimistic about it?

During the first two weeks of May of this year, Toronto home sales sank by 9.7 per cent when compared with last year during the same time period. That drop was most sharply seen in the centre of the city, where home sales fell by 11.4 per cent, compared with 8.6 per cent in the surrounding area.

Condo sales were the group to see the most in declines, by a total of 13 per cent. Detached homes on the other hand, fell by 7.5 per cent.

Toronto sellers and agents aren’t any strangers to hearing about dips in the market, especially since last summer. But these latest stats seem to bring even more discouragement, as the first two weeks of April saw a drop of less than 1 per cent year over year, which seemed to breathe hope into a fading market.

But those that think this is the beginning of the end should take heart that prices are still going up, and that the market seems to be supporting those price increases.

During the first two weeks of May this year, prices rose to $543,838, an increase of 5.4 per cent from a year earlier.

“Despite fewer sales this year compared to last, competition between buyers in most segments of the market remained strong enough to promote annual rates of price growth above the rate of inflation,” said Ann Hannah, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, when they released the latest figures for sales around the city.

Of course the mortgage rules that were put into place nearly a year ago are still largely blamed for the slowing in the market. Those rules were instated so that households could start to curb their debt. And Hannah says that it’s working. Not so much in the way of home sales, but in the fact that those obtaining mortgages in the GTA today are largely able to afford them.

Hannah continued on to say, “A household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford the mortgage payments associated with the purchase of an average priced home.”