March may have been the calm before the storm in the Toronto real estate market. While residential transactions were down by about 17.6 percent relative to average March sales for the last 10 years, mid-to-late spring typically signals the start of a busy real estate season – and this year doesn’t look to be any different.
“The effects of the Fair Housing Plan, the new OSFI-mandated stress test and generally higher borrowing costs have prompted some buyers to put their purchasing decision on hold,” says Tim Syrianos, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. “Home sales are expected to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of this year.”
The overall average selling price was also down compared to March 2017, but there’s more to the dip than meets the eye. Detached home sales typically represent the highest selling points in the market, and they declined at a greater rate than other housing types. It’s also important to note that the number of sales of detached homes with prices of over $2 million was about half of what was reported in March 2017.
But, compared with February 2018, prices were up 2.2 per cent, signaling that growth is on the horizon. Says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, “In the second half of the year, expect to see the annual rate of price growth improve compared to Q1, as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings.”