The 2018 GTA real estate market continued its slow start in February with 5,175 sales being reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). This is down 34.9% from last year’s record, and represents the 9th lowest total for a February in the past decade. As sellers continue to come to terms with the impacts of the Fair Housing Plan, and as buyers navigate newly implemented mortgage stress tests and higher borrowing costs, TREB expects this pace to continue in the short-term.
Sales volume was down for all major housing types in both the 416 and 905, with single detached showing the largest decline, down 41.2% year-over-year. Average sales prices followed suit, with the exception of condo apartments which were up 10.1% year-over-year to $529,782. Furthermore, though down 2.9% as a category, the average price of townhouses in the 416 was up 15.5% from last February to $776,642,
as buyers continue to seek out modestly priced housing options in the city. The average sales price for single detached homes in Toronto dropped 18.6% to $1,282,240.
While average price points are part of the story, they are not a true indicator of property value. For a more accurate gauge on changes to real estate value, TREB offers the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark, which underscores changes in the value of comparable home sales. For February, the HPI was up 3.2% for the GTA and up 9.5% for the City of Toronto, driven largely by inflation in the condo sector. Within the 416, the HPI was down 1.5% for detached homes, but up 2.4% for semis, up 13.1% for towns, and up 20.9% for condos. This discrepancy between the HPI and the average sales price suggests that in 2018, we are seeing a higher percentage of more modestly priced homes being sold than in the previous year, as opposed to a decrease in real property value.