Some media are calling it a bear market; others say recent statistics point to a market in balance. But for frustrated GTA home buyers, current market conditions may be liberating.

GTA home sales in August 2017 dropped 34.8% year over year to 6,357, according to results released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). The average price of a home increased by only 3% to $732,292; according to a BNN report, this represents a decline of 20.5% over the peak price reached in April 2017 and satisfies the definition of a negative “bear market.”

Active listings were up by 65% in August 2017, compared to the same period last year, indicating there’s currently choice for potential buyers; however new listings declined by 6.7%, suggesting less choice in the future.

The double-digit decline in sales affected all housing types. Detached home sales in Toronto and the GTA combined fell by 41.6%, while overall sales of condos and townhomes dropped by 28% and 27.5% respectively.

While the average price of a detached home in Toronto ($1,191,052) declined by 1.2% and in the GTA by 0.1% ($906,592), prices for other home types continued to increase. Condo prices increased by 20.9% to $540,169 in 416 and 18.9% in 905 to $416,081.)

TREB believes buyers will “move from the sidelines,” but lack of inventory may limit choice and increase prices. Whether the future market is a bear or balanced may depend on this.