While the month of May is historically one of the housing market’s busiest times of the year, new figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) indicate that trend did not hold as true in 2017.
Sales for all home types across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dipped substantially in May, down 20.3 per cent from the same time last year. Detached homes saw the biggest drop in year-over-year transactions, down 26.3 per cent, whereas the condo market faced a more modest 4.3 per cent fall.
Despite the decline in sales activity, TREB did report the average price of all home types last month was up $111,810 (or 14.8 per cent) when compared with a year earlier. However, after isolating 2017, May did not perform as strongly on the pricing front, experiencing a $56,881 month-to-month dip from April alone.
GTA Home Prices – May 2017
Following in April’s footsteps, May did see a significant double-digit jump in the number of homes for sale, which spelt good news for buyers who had a far bigger selection of properties while on the house hunt. In hard numbers, active listings were up 42 per cent year-over-year.
“Home buyers definitely benefitted from a better-supplied market in May, both in comparison to the same time last year and to the first four months of 2017,” said TREB President Larry Cerqua in an official statement. “It is too early to tell whether the increase in new listings was simply due to households reacting to the strong double-digit price growth – or if some of the increase was also a reaction to the Ontario government’s recently announced Fair Housing Plan.”
Regardless of the jump in properties on the market, Cerqua did stress that “inventory levels remain low” as a whole, pointing to the fact months of inventory still hovered below two months in May. Months of inventory (MOI) is a metric that measures how long it would take for all currently selling properties to get snatched up by buyers if no new homes were put for sale. Traditionally, if MOI is below four, conditions are recognized as those of a seller’s market.
In terms of which areas saw the most substantial dip in activity, TREB numbers clearly point to the York Region. The regional municipality, which encompasses popular home buying destinations like Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Markham, saw sales plunge 42 per cent. Durham, one of the GTA’s more affordable areas, saw only a nine per cent decrease in comparison.
Between the month-to-month drop in prices, the decrease in sales activity and increased listing supply, several industry insiders are signalling this may be the ideal window of time for prospective buyers who were previously turned off by the frenzied market to start viewing properties again.