Across the GTA housing market, the month of November was characterized by low affordability with the shadow of high borrowing costs looming overhead. The resounding theme of the monthly report from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) was clear: since the commencement of interest rate hikes last spring, the negative trend in sales has continued, measured by a markedly lower rate compared to this time last year. 

The same was true for new listings, which were measured at concerning lows based on comparisons to monthly, yearly, and historic rates. Interestingly, selling prices have remained consistent, hovering around the August average of $1.08 - 1.09 million, due to the sheer demand in the wake of slumping levels of new listings. 

Looking southeast at the Toronto Skyline on a cloudy day at sunset, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor thecharioteer

Adding the numbers to these observations, TRREB’s multiple listings service (MLS) reported a total of 4,544 sales. Compared to November of 2021, that total represents a staggering drop of 49%, but compared to the number of sales just a month prior the levels are similar, and a negative trend is often seen in the Fall. Meanwhile, the MLS reported that there were a total of 8,880 new listings in the month of November. 

“Increased borrowing costs represent a short-term shock to the housing market,” said TRREB President, Kevin Crigger. “Over the medium- to long-term, the demand for ownership housing will pick up strongly. This is because a huge share of record immigration will be pointed at the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) in the coming years, and all of these people will require a place to live, with the majority looking to buy.”

More buyers, however, does not necessarily translate to more sales, especially when new listings are at historically low levels. “The long-term problem for policymakers will not be inflation and borrowing costs, but rather ensuring we have enough housing to accommodate population growth,” Crigger said. 

The report goes on to say that a response to this urgent demand is happening, but not in the form of declining interest rates. The response from Toronto, and the rest of Ontario, is continued development. “We have seen a lot of progress this year on the housing supply and related governance files such as the More Homes Built Faster Act,” said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.  “This is obviously good news. However, we need these new policies to turn into results over the next year.” 

DiMichele went on to highlight the urgency of creating new housing at a faster rate, saying “the current market lull will soon be behind us, population growth will be accelerating, and we will have done nothing to account for our growing housing need.” As a result, DiMichele said, Ontario would face “enhanced unaffordability and reduced economic competitiveness.” 

Finally, the report concludes with an analysis of selling prices, with nothing positive to take away from the findings. The month of November saw the average price for all home types drop by 7.2% year-over-year. Breaking down this price drop for different types of listings, however, it becomes clear that the real blow was to the more expensive market segments: semi detached and detached houses. 

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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.