Contrasting a cautious Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) quarterly report on Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home sales released at the end of April, the new TREB monthly report on the housing market shows that April itself saw substantial year-over-year growth in several categories. The most significant increase recorded was the strong jump in home transactions, rising 16.8% year-over-year from the 7,744 sales recorded in April 2018 to 9,042 in April 2019. Adjusted seasonally, sales increased by 11.3% over the previous month.

Toronto skyline, image by Forum contributor Keyz

An 8% increase in new listings, while a marked improvement over 2018, was significantly lower than the increase reported in sales, pointing to an ever increasing tightening of market conditions. “The strong year-over-year growth in sales is obviously a good news story and likely represents some catch-up from a slow start to the year. TREB’s sales outlook for 2019 anticipates an increase relative to 2018.  It should be noted, however, that growth in new listings is not keeping pace with sales," reads a statement issued by TREB President Garry Bhaura. "This points to the ongoing housing supply issue in the GTA. In this regard TREB welcomes the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan announced last week to reduce red tape and improve the mix of housing types. TREB provided input on the Plan through submissions and participation on working groups.” 

Price growth remains a hot topic, as an increasing number of would-be homeowners are being priced out of the market as home prices climb higher. Price growth increased in April relative to the first three months of 2019, with the MLS HPI Composite benchmark rising 3.2%, and average selling prices up 1.9% to $820,148, with a seasonally adjusted 1.1% increase compared to March.

The condominium sales market isn't the only area of housing subject to inflating prices. Toronto's condominium apartment rental market remains tight, with year-to-date (January 2019 through April 2019) condo rental transactions for one- and two-bedroom apartments up by 10.2% and 9.7% respectively compared to the same period in 2018. One-bedroom average rents rose by 7.3% to $2,150, while two-bedroom apartment rents were up by 4.1% to $2,815.

“The supply of ownership and rental housing is of paramount importance to the GTA, from the perspective of affordability and economic competitiveness of the region, insofar as talented people are more likely to move to the region if they can easily find housing that meets their needs within their budgets," reads a statement from TREB CEO, John DiMichele. "With this in mind, it is also important to think about housing supply through the lens of public transportation. TREB has been highlighting the important links between housing and transportation for a number of years, including through research conducted for TREB by CANCEA and the Pembina Institute dealing with transportation infrastructure’s impact on affordability and transit supportive development respectively. TREB will continue research in these areas moving forward.”

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