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“Lower Borrowing Costs” Spurring February Sales Boost: TREB

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TORONTO – Through the first half of February, the GTA’s temperatures may have been chilly but its real estate market certainly wasn’t – with a total of 3,120 transactions reflecting a 14.9 per cent year-over-year increase in sales activity.

The impressive total was revealed by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)’s Mid-Month Resale Housing Figures report released February 18 – which examined the first two-week period of sales activity since Canada’s major mortgage lenders adjusted their prime rates downward in late January.

According to TREB President Paul Etherington, the favourable mortgage lending rates may have been a key factor behind many GTA residents braving the cold to buy and sell.

“While home prices are higher compared to this time last year, borrowing costs are lower,” Etherington said. “Home buyers are still finding affordable options to meet their housing needs.”

Townhouses experienced the strongest year-over-year boost in sales activity, showing increases of 23.4 per cent in the 416 area, and 27.1 per cent in the 905. Detached homes also experienced an increase in sales activity, especially in the core – where the number of transactions increased by 25.3 per cent year-over-year.

Tight competition over limited inventory – “especially where low-rise home types are concerned,” according to TREB Director of Market Analysis Jason Mercer – helped push Toronto’s average selling price to $602,1110 for the two-week period – representing a 10.3 per cent increase over the same period in 2014.

For those wondering how Toronto’s market stacks up on a national scale, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently reported a national average selling price of $401,143, reflecting a year-over-year increase of just 3.1 per cent – the average’s smallest gain since April 2013.

“Comparing sales activity for January this year to sales one year earlier, there was a fairly even split between the number of markets where sales were up versus the number of markets where sales were down,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist, said in a statement.

“The decline in national sales largely reflects weakened activity in Calgary and Edmonton. If these two markets are removed from national totals, combined sales activity remained 1.9 per cent above year-ago levels.”

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