Home prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) saw a slight dip in August as sales remained relatively flat compared to the month prior, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reported on Wednesday.

August saw a total of 5,294 sales across the GTA, just 44 more than were seen in July. Compared to the same time last year, however, August 2023 showed a 5.2% decline. Detached and semi-detached homes, specifically, were responsible for the overall decline, with sales down 12% and 14.4%, respectively, for the housing types. Townhomes and condos, which tend to be the more affordable housing types, saw sales increases of 0.6% and 7.6%, respectively.

At play in the sales decline were higher borrowing costs, continued uncertainty about the economy and the Bank of Canada, and a constrained supply of listings, TRREB says.

New listings fell 10% from July to August, hitting 12,296 last month. However, a change in this measure can be seen in the opposite direction when looking on an annual scale, with new listings up 16.2% compared to the same time last year. Although this increase has provided some relief on the supply front, TRREB notes that looking at all of 2023 thus far, "listings are still down substantially compared to the same period last year."

Average home prices similarly saw a month-over-month decline — albeit a small one — slipping 1.6% to $1,082,496. This, however, is a 2.5% increase compared to August 2022.

“More balanced market conditions this summer compared to the tighter spring market resulted in selling prices hovering at last year’s levels and dipping slightly compared to July," said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. "As interest rates continued to increase in May, after a pause in the winter and early spring, many buyers have had to adjust their offers in order to qualify for higher monthly payments. Not all sellers have chosen to take lower than expected selling prices, resulting in fewer sales."

Interestingly, condo apartments, which made up nearly a third of August's sales, were the only housing type to see an overall price decline in the GTA. Detached, semi-detached, and townhomes all saw prices increase 2.8%, 6.9%, and 3,9%, respectively.

TRREB President Paul Baron said that buyers and sellers should continue to brace themselves for some turbulence in the housing market as Canada's economic condition and further rate announcements play out.

“Looking forward, we know there will be solid demand for housing – both ownership and rental – in the GTA and broader Greater Golden Horseshoe. Record immigration levels alone will assure this," Baron said. "In the short term, we will likely continue to see some volatility in terms of sales and home prices, as buyers and sellers wait for more certainty on the direction of borrowing costs and the overall economy."

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