Toronto home prices are flattening out but practically nobody is selling
Rising interest rates are letting the air out of the Greater Toronto Area's bloated housing market, but while housing prices stabilized in October, sellers appear to be in a holding pattern, and it's showing in the numbers as new listings took a historic tumble in October.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reports a levelling off in home prices across the region in October, but this positive statistic was accompanied by a worrying drop in new listings at or near historic lows as sellers recoil from the market.
TRREB refers to this slide as a "continued housing market transition to a higher borrowing cost environment," but it's clear in both the language and the numbers that experts are biting their nails in anticipation of a proverbial storm now visible on the horizon in the face of persistent lack of inventory and rising interest rates.
Just under 5,000 sales were reported in the region last month. Though the figure is similar to that of the previous month, it represents a staggering 49.1 per cent death spiral compared with the previous October.
Market conditions have sellers stepping back from the madness, resulting in an 11.6 per cent decline in listings year-over-year in October, a low not seen in that month since 2010 at the dawn of the current housing boom.
"With new listings at or near historic lows, a moderate uptick in demand from current levels would result in a noticeable tightening in the resale housing market in short order. Obviously, there is still a lot of short-term economic uncertainty," said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.
But Crigger isn't all doom and gloom, predicting that "In the medium-to-long-term, however, the demand for housing will rebound. Public policy initiatives like the recently introduced provincial More Homes Built Faster Act and strong mayor provisions will help ensure we see more homes being built to affordably meet the needs of new households."
Average GTA home prices — which had peaked at an astonishing $1,285,794 in February 2022 — declined almost every subsequent month until October, where it appears to have stabilized at $1,089,502 This is just $10 above the September average selling price of $1,098,492, but marks a 5.7 per cent drop year-over-year.
"Home prices in the GTA have found support in recent months because price declines in the spring and summer mitigated the impact of higher borrowing costs on average monthly mortgage payments," said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.
Crigger says that "The Bank of Canada's most recent messaging suggests that they are reaching the end of their tightening cycle. Bond yields dipped as a result, suggesting that fixed mortgage rates may trend lower moving forward, which would help affordability."
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