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GTA REALTORS® Release April 2019 Stats

May 6, 2019 -- Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS®                                                                              reported a substantial year-over-year increase in home sales in April 2019. The number of residential transactions                                                                                       jumped by 16.8 per cent to 9,042 compared to 7,744 in April 2018. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales                                                                                               were up 11.3 per cent compared to March 2019.

New listings were also up year-over-year by eight per cent. However, the annual growth rate for new listings was much                                                                                 lower than that reported for sales. This suggests that market conditions continued to tighten which points toward an                                                                                acceleration in price growth.

"The strong year-over-year growth in sales is obviously a good news story and likely represents some catchup from a                                                                                      slow start to the year. TREB's sales outlook for 2019 anticipates an increase relative to 2018. It should be noted, how-                                                                                    ever, that growth in new listings is not keeping pace with sales. 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," said Mr. Bhaura.

The year-over-year rate of price growth generally edged up in April relative to the first three months of the year. The                                                                                    MLS® HPI Composite benchmark was up by 3.2 per cent – the highest rate of growth in more than a year. The average                                                                              selling price was up by 1.9 per cent to $820,148, representing the strongest annual rate of growth so far in 2019. On a                                                                         preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was also up by 1.1 per cent compared to March 2019.

Price growth continued to be driven by the condominium apartment segment and higher-density low-rise segments.                                                                                      The average price for detached houses dipped year-over-year, specifically in regions surrounding the City of Toronto.                                                                                      The detached market segment, with the highest price point on average, has arguably been hardest hit by measures                                                                                       such as the OSFI stress test.

"While sales were up year-over-year in April, it is important to note that they remain well-below April levels for much                                                                                          of the past decade. Many potential home buyers arguably remain on the sidelines as they reassess their options in                                                                                          light of the OSFI-mandated two percentage point stress test on mortgages. Longer term borrowing costs have tren-                                                                                       ded lower this year and the outlook for short-term rates, for which the Bank of Canada holds the lever, is flat to down                                                                                      this year. Unfortunately, against this backdrop, we have seen no movement toward flexibility in the OSFI stress test,"                                                                                      said Jason Mercer, TREB's Chief Market Analyst.