toronto home prices

Toronto homes are getting cheaper but experts can't seem to agree where it ends

Home buyers in the Greater Toronto Area are finally seeing some relief from the runaway housing prices that have kept the region near the top of the list of the most expensive places to buy in Canada for years now.

Stressed by factors such as increased lending costs and an historic inflation spike, the GTA housing market is now recording consecutive declines in home prices, marking what could be the start of a long-anticipated 'correction' of the market.

That's according to Royal LePage's latest House Price Survey, released Wednesday, highlighting the continued downward trend of average home prices in the region.

Despite a 12.8 per cent year-over-year spike in the GTA-wide aggregate home price during the second quarter of 2022, rising to $1,167,000, an 8.1 per cent quarterly decline from record-high Q1 prices marks the first quarterly decline in the region since the first quarter of 2018.

Overall prices may be trending lower on a quarter-over-quarter basis, but the cost of single-family detached homes and even condominiums in the GTA saw huge gains over the same period in 2021.

Single-family home median prices shot up by 10.5 per cent to $1,437,600 in the second quarter, while median condo prices jumped by 17.3 per cent year-over-year to $738,800.

And that's just the region-wide situation.

In the 416 proper, aggregate home prices soared by 11.7 per cent year-over-year to $1,245,600, with single-family homes rising 9.3 per cent to $1,694,900 and condos climbing 6.8 per cent to $742,600. It sounds high, but it's much lower than the initial forecast.

Royal LePage Real Estate Services' COO Karen Yolevski says that "The city of Toronto and the greater region, along with many secondary cities in the Golden Horseshoe, have seen housing demand slow in recent months as many buyers take a step back in an attempt to time the market."

Yolevski states that buyer behaviour has "shifted" with would-be purchasers "in a wait-and-see pattern, assessing the impact of further expected interest rate hikes and rising inflation."

It may be a trend of things to come, but it could also be a return to more predictable market conditions.

Summer slowdowns were common in the before times, and after a few years of extreme turbulence, Yolevski says that "the real estate market is experiencing a more normal summer slowdown in activity."

Yolevski expects prices to remain flat through the rest of the year, with a projected year-over-year price growth of three per cent in the fourth quarter, a downgrade of the previous forecast due to aggressive interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada.

Just days earlier, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reported a massive 41 per cent decline in home sales for June 2022 and another consecutive month-over-month drop in home prices.

These reports both underscore how data can be spun in different ways. Sure, Toronto home prices are more expensive than they were this time last year (which could feed a doom and gloom narrative), but they're trending cheaper than in previous months.

Only time will tell whether this proves a return to summer seasonal declines or an indication prices may slip further.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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