Sales of homes in the Greater Toronto Area and the average sale price were both down in 2018 when compared to the previous year, according to a report released today.
The report by the Toronto Real Estate Board showed that a total of 77,426 homes were sold in the GTA – a 16.1% decline form the 92,263 sales reported in 2017. Similarly, the report showed that there was a big decline in the number of sales in December 2018 when compared with December 2017 – dropping 22.5% from 4,876 to 3,781.
In addition to a drop in sales activity, there was also a drop in the average price, although not quite as steep. The average price for homes sold in the GTA in 2018 was $787,300, which is 4.3% less than the average price in 2017. Prices didn’t drop in all areas, however, with the TREB news release noting that “Home prices were up very slightly in the City of Toronto and down in the surrounding GTA regions.”
Meanwhile, the average price of a GTA home in December actually increased year-over-year, rising 2.1% from $734,847 to $750,180. That year-over-year increase was repeated in almost all areas of the GTA, with the one exception being York Region which saw a 1.8% decline in the average sale price.
The TREB report stated that there were 155,823 new listings in the GTA, marking a 12.7% drop compared to the previous year. However, it should be noted that 2017 was something of an outlier for new listings, seeing far more than any other year during the last decade. This drop is actually more of a return to the norm, with the total sitting ever so slightly higher than the ten-year average of 155,733.
TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels, Jason Mercer, alluded to this fact and noted some of the issues facing GTA home buyers: “After spiking in 2017, new listings receded markedly in 2018. In many neighbourhoods, despite fewer sales from a historic perspective, some buyers still struggled to find a home meeting their needs. The result was a resumption of a moderate year-over-year pace of home price growth in the second half of the year.”
Looking at different home types, the TREB report for 2019 showed a repeat of the recent patterns we have seen, with better results in the more affordable segments of the market. The average price of a detached house in the GTA was down 8.14% in 2018, dropping to $1,009,535 from $1,098,951 in 2017. Semi-detached houses and townhouses also saw price drops in 2018 when compared to the previous year, but the drops were less significant at 0.25% and 2.79%.
In contrast, there was a significant increase in the average price of a condo apartment. In 2017, the average was $512,478 but that rose to $552,423 in 2018 – a 7.79% gain in one year. With most of the condo activity focused in the City of Toronto, this also helps to explain why Toronto saw slight increases in average sale price while other areas saw decreases.