Slipping sales figures for the Greater Toronto Area appear to be stabilizing, with the latest report from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) showing little year-over-year difference in the volume of local home sales recorded in March, with just one fewer unit sold. Similarly, the 7,187 residential sales recorded last month represent just a 1% drop in sales measured quarterly.

TREB market report, GTA housing, home prices, Toronto condosToronto skyline from Regent Park, image by Forum contributor skycandy

Along with flat March and Q1 sales versus the stronger numbers seen in 2018, new listings have declined in even greater numbers. New listings in March dropped by 5.1% measured year-over-year, while Q1 new listings were down by 1.5%. TREB is partially attributing market conditions to the OSFI stress test's impact on a homebuyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage.

“TREB is still arguing that the stress test provisions and mortgage lending guidelines generally, including allowable amortization periods for insured mortgages, should be reviewed. The supply of listings in the GTA also remains a problem. Bringing a greater diversity of ownership and rental housing online, including ‘missing middle’ home types, should be a priority of all levels of government. TREB is happy to be taking part in the City of Toronto’s consultations for the Housing TO – 2020-2030 Action Plan, and will certainly be raising the supply issue during these discussions,” reads a statement issued by TREB President Garry Bhaura.

March saw an increase in the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark, rising 2.6% year-over-year, while the average price for March sales was up by half a percentage point to $788,335. Similarly, the quarterly average selling price was up by 1.1% year-over-year.

“Market conditions have remained tight enough to support a moderate pace of price growth.  Despite sales being markedly lower than the record levels of 2016 and early 2017, the supply of listings has also receded.  This means that in many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, we continue to see competition between buyers for available listings, which provides a level of support for home prices,” reads a statement issued by Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

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