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Sales of Toronto homes down 70% compared to same time last year

With the Canadian economy on the path to recession and much of the population now in their fifth week out of work, it's not exactly the most prudent time to make any major financial commitments.

And with strict social distancing measures in place and a deadly infectious disease going around, moving house likewise seems unwise, for obvious reasons.

So, it may come as little surprise that house sales are down across Toronto despite the city's notoriously unwavering and unkind (unless you're a seller) real estate market, but what may be somewhat surprising is the extent to which they're down — as well as the fact that prices are remaining stable.

The number of real estate transactions in Toronto was already trending downward this month, but the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has now confirmed some rather staggering numbers for home sales in the GTA: they're down 69 per cent from the same time last year.

The group's mid-month market update, released on April 22, also indicates that property listings in the area are down 63.7 per cent, with "uncertainty about market conditions due to COVID-19" being a key factor.

With many residents in a state of financial precarity or uncertainty at best, and given the moratorium on key aspects of the process of buying and selling a home — such as open houses — buyers seems to be holding off until the pandemic is over.

Unfortunately for anyone who was hoping that a market disrupted by the health crisis would mean more affordable property, listing prices have stayed relatively stable (read: overpriced) in Toronto, with the average price of real estate falling only 1.5 per cent since last year.

There has also been no difference between listing prices and selling prices, meaning people are essentially getting what they want for their houses.

TRREB agrees with other market experts who predict the pandemic will have little effect on real estate in Canada long-term, saying it expects this drop in sales to be temporary, "until we experience a meaningful and sustained decline in the number of cases" of the novel coronavirus.

"However, once recovery begins, it will likely accelerate in earnest as buyers seek to satisfy pentup demand that will build up over the course of the spring and at least part of the summer."

If there's anything that won't be hindered by something as drastic as a global pandemic, it's the value of Toronto real estate.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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