GTA Real Estate 2010-2019 – A decade in Review

GTA Real Estate 2010-2019 – A decade in Review

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We’ve now entered a new decade so it seems like a good time to look back at Greater Toronto Area real estate to see how things have changed in the last ten years.

Without looking at the statistics, it’s clear that there have been some seismic shifts in the Greater Toronto Area real estate market since the start of 2010. Over the last decade, there have been headlines galore about the hot market, prices rising quickly, and huge demand. But how different is the market today compared to the start of the 2010s? We looked back through the numbers to see just how much the Greater Toronto Area real estate has changed.

Average Home Price in the Greater Toronto Area

According to statistics published by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) at the time, in January 2010 the average sale price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area was $409,058. In the final month of the decade, December 2019, that average sale price had risen to $837,788 – an incredible 104.8% increase. Interestingly, that December 2019 figure is actually 8.8% lower than the highest average price of the decade, $918,184, which was recorded in April 2017.

Looking at the TREB report from January 2010, the average price for specific property types is not available. However, the median price is presented and from this we can gauge the way that the Greater Toronto Area real estate market has changed in the last decade:

Property TypeJan 2010Dec 2019Increase
Condo Townhouse$272,000$566,000108.1%
Condo Apartment$270,000$550,000103.7%
Co-op Apartment$178,500$420,294135.5%
Detached Condo$272,500$675,000147.7%

In that first month of the decade, only 147 homes sold for more than $1m and 2,795 sold for $300,000 or less. In comparison, 888 homes sold for more than $1m in December 2019 and only 45 properties sold for under $300,000.

One major effect of this change in the composition of the market is the dramatic increase in the total dollar volume of home sales. In 2010, the dollar volume of property sales was $38,120,657,381. At the end of the decade, in 2019, the dollar volume had nearly doubled to $72,302,604,914. That massive increase was a huge boon for both the Ontario government and the City of Toronto because it resulted in a bumper increase in land transfer tax revenues. However, the total of 2019 wasn’t the peak.

In fact, the highest dollar volume came in 2016, when a high number of transactions saw the total rise over the $80 billion mark to $82,972,765,672. Taking a closer look, the months with the highest dollar volume of property sales were March 2017 ($11,069,381,891) and April 2017 ($10,708,804,074), which is perhaps unsurprising considering this is when prices hit their peak during the decade.

Looking at year-over-year changes in the average price, the strength of the GTA real estate market is highlighted by the fact that only six months out of 120 recorded decreases. In contrast, 31 months saw increases of over 10% and that led to an average yearly price increase of 7.9%, indicating a very strong and healthy market.

Supply and Demand

Although there has been much talk of the high demand and low supply in recent years, the number of sales and new listings are remarkably similar at the start and end of the decade. In 2010, there were 154,090 new listings and 88,209 sales. In 2019, there were slightly less new listings (152,711) and almost exactly the same number of sales (88,223).

However, in-between, there were periods of much greater demand and far more restricted supply. For example, in 2016 there were 113,725 sales, compared to the decade average of 92,521 per year. As far as new listings are concerned, 2011 recorded the lowest towel of the decade (148,014), 2017 had the highest total (179,049), and the yearly average for the decade was 157,965.

Interestingly, the month with the highest number of new listings from 2010 to 2019 was May 2017, immediately after the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan was announced. It shows the immediate effect that government intervention had on the market, with many sellers hoping to get ahead of any anticipated changes.

In terms of active listings (the number of listings active in the TREB system at the end of the month) the three months with the highest total were all in 2010: May 2010 (25,414 active listings), June 2010 (23,923 active listings) and April 2010 (22,951 active listings). Looking at the lower end of the table, there were only nine months in the entire decade with fewer than 10,000 active listings. In order from highest total to lowest, these were:

  • January 2016 – 9,966
  • August 2016 – 9,949
  • December 2015 – 9,137
  • November 2016 – 8,639
  • March 2017 – 7,865
  • December 2019 – 7,406
  • February 2017 – 5,400
  • January 2017 – 5,034
  • December 2016 – 4,746

These numbers are quite eye opening because it is clear straight away that all but one of those months fell within a short period between December 2015 and March 2017. It is no coincidence that this was the time when home prices in the Greater Toronto Area really began to accelerate – rising by as much as 33.2% year-over-year in March 2017 – immediately after a three-month period with record lows for active listings. Interestingly, the one month that falls outside of that period is December 2019, the final month of the decade. With declining listings at the end of 2019 there are indications that the market is heating up again and this could be one of the clearest signs.

What does all this tell us about the Toronto real estate market? Well, 2010 to 2019 was a very good decade for homeowners. Prices climbed steadily at first then an increase in demand and decrease in supply saw process skyrocket in the second part of the decade. That created huge amounts of equity and wealth for many homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area and, with supply and demand starting to have an effect again, the growth in home prices looks like it will continue in early months of the new decade.

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