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Sideline buyers expected to make moves

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market “unfolded as expected” as it moved from 2022 into 2023, with January sales and average selling prices comparable to the previous month.

But on a year-over-year basis, sales and prices were both down substantially, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TREEB). “Home prices declined over the past year as homebuyers sought to mitigate the impact of substantially higher borrowing costs,” Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer reports.

GTA realtors reported 3,100 sales in January. That’s just 10 fewer than the previous month but down 44.6 per cent from the previous year. The average selling price for January was $1,038,668. That’s slightly lower than the average selling price in December 2022 and down 16.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) began hiking interest rates last March in a bid to combat inflation. “While short-term borrowing costs increased again in January, negotiated medium-term mortgage rates, like the five-year fixed rate, have actually started to trend lower compared to the end of last year,” Mercer says. “The expectation is that this trend will continue, further helping with affordability as we move through 2023.”

In York Region, the average selling price of all home types last month was $1,285,583. Here’s the breakdown by municipality: Aurora ($1,498,266), East Gwillimbury ($1,395,875), Georgina ($778,076), King ($2,035,000), Markham ($1,265,937), Newmarket ($1,169,702), Richmond Hill ($1,299,748), Vaughan ($1,328,746) and Stouffville ($1,345,880).

“Home sales and selling prices appear to have found some support in recent months,” says TRREB President Paul Baron. “This coupled with the BoC announcement that interest rate hikes are likely on hold for the foreseeable future will prompt some buyers to move off the sidelines in the coming months. Record population growth and tight labour market conditions will continue to support housing demand moving forward.”

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