Is Toronto's red-hot market waning?

by Ephraim Vecina25 Sep 2018

Toronto’s home sales activity last month was the third weakest nationwide, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The city saw its sales-to-new-listings ratio decline to 48.8 in August, down from 59.3 during the same time last year.

Only Calgary (47.9) and Edmonton (45.8) had slower activity last month, Better Dwelling reported.

It’s not only sales that are seemingly winding down in Toronto. Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also suggested that the city’s housing starts have fallen due to steady price growth and supply shortages.

“The demand is still there but the two main things being reflected in the numbers are, one, price point: It will cost over a million dollars to buy a single detached home and that’s keeping more buyers away,” CMHC manager of market analysis (Toronto) Dana Senagama said.

“Secondly, there’s just not enough land or space out there to build these big subdivisions and we’re not seeing much activity. Both of those, and the B-20 rules that came into effect on January 1, have also made it less affordable for many homebuyers who previously might have been able to qualify. There isn’t one reason; it’s a combination of reasons.”

Read more: Condo values in these Toronto neighborhoods soared recently

The CREA report further found that the country’s hottest housing markets in terms of sales activity last month were actually in major Ontario markets outside Toronto.

In particular, Southern Ontario exhibited the highest ratios across Canada, with London showing a nationwide-high 77.1, and Windsor (76.5) and Ottawa (68.4) closely behind.

Markets east of Toronto are posting the fastest rates of growth in this ratio. As of August, Halifax reached 63, representing a 12.7% year-over-year increase. Montreal’s was at 67.2, up by 11.07% compared to the same time last year. Ottawa had a ratio of 68.4, up 10.68% annually.

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