GTA home prices up 28% from last year as supply remains hampered: TRREB

There was no relief for Greater Toronto Area homebuyers last month as the average home price crept up nearly 28 per cent when compared with last year as a lack of supply continued to hamper the market.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate board revealed Thursday that the average selling price for a home in the region surpassed $1.3 million last month, up from just above $1 million last February and more than $1.2 million in January of this year.

The average price of a detached home hit more than $1.7 million last month, with semi-detached properties at $1.3 million, townhouses at $1.1 million and condos nearing $800,000.

The Ontario board laid much of the blame for the soaring prices on demand greatly outpacing supply and thus, fueling a market where bidding wars, few sellers and a frenzied atmosphere have been the norm.

However, the board said it detected signs in February that the region is making a “modest move” toward a “slightly more balanced” market.

Those traces of an easing came in the form of new listings, which are still down from a year ago, but by a marginally lesser annual rate than sales.

New listings for the month totalled 14,147, an almost seven per cent drop from 15,146 last February.

Meanwhile, 9,097 homes changed hands last month compared with 10,929 last February and 5,622 in January of this year.

That means February home sales were down compared with the all-time record set in 2021, but still eked out the second highest sales rate for the month.

TRREB had forecast sales would be lower this year because many people rushed to purchase homes last year or in the early weeks of 2022 in a bid to get ahead of looming interest rate hikes.

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada hiked its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 per cent from 0.25, where it has sat for the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and served as an incentive to cash-strapped buyers.

The rise will increase the cost of loans, including variable-rate mortgages.

TRREB believes the rate hike will have a “moderating effect” on home sales, but will be countered by substantial immigration levels and a continued lack of supply.

It does not see home prices abating in the near-term.

“Because inventory remains exceptionally low, it will take some time for the pace of price growth to slow,” said Jason Mercer, the board’s chief market analyst, in a press release.

“Look for a more moderate pace of price growth in the second half of 2022 as higher borrowing costs result in some households putting their home purchase on hold temporarily as they resituate themselves in the market.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2022.

Leave a Comment