While the pace of daily life might feel slow to some right now, the local real estate market continues to be busy -- albeit at a slower pace than last year. In July, housing demand dropped year-over-year, but home sales remained above average for the season, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

Last month, the board reported 9,390 home sales, which is well above the average for this time of year, though still below (14.9%) the record set last July, when 11,033 properties exchanged hands amid the pandemic. The board says July’s sales were down by 2% compared to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Demand for ownership housing has remained strong despite a pandemic-related lull in population growth. Of specific note is the condominium apartment market, which has seen a marked turnaround in 2021, with sales up compared to last year. First-time buyers, many of whom were slower to benefit from the initial recovery phase, remain very active in the marketplace,” said TRREB president Kevin Crigger.

The board also said market conditions tightened relative to July 2020, with home sales accounting for a greater share of new listings than the previous year. The sellers’ market conditions sustained a double-digit annual rate of price growth.

READ:GTA Condo Sales Soared to Third-Highest Level on Record in Q2-2021

New listings for all homes in Toronto were down 26% year-over-year, from 6,963 last year to 5,108 in July, while in the 905 area, there was a notable 33% year-over-year decline from 11,156 listings to 7,443.

According to the board, the average price for a home (including condos, townhouses, semis, and detached) in the Greater Toronto Area in July was $1,062,256, a 12.6% year-over-year increase.

This comes as the average price for a home in Toronto dipped from $1,017,744 in July last year to $1,016,580 last month, marking an 11% drop. However, in the 905 area, the average price for a home rose from $908,212 to $1,086,650 -- a 19% increase.

Once again, the detached market led the way in price growth, driven by sales in the suburban 905 regions surrounding Toronto. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average price was up by 0.9% compared to June.

The board said the average price for a detached home in the 905 area last month reached $1,346,186 and $1,633,649 in Toronto.

TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer noted that the annual price growth rate has moderated since the early spring but has remained in the double digits.

"This means that many households are still competing very hard to reach a deal on a home. This strong upward pressure on home prices will be sustained in the absence of more supply, especially as we see a resurgence in population growth moving into 2022,” said Mercer.

According to Statistics Canada, population growth was the lowest in 2020 (0.4%) since 1945 (in number) and 1916 (in percent) -- both periods in which Canada was at war -- because of the pandemic.

As a result, TRREB CEO John DiMichele says that there is now a huge backlog of people seeking citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada, many of which will ultimately call the GTA home.

"This means ownership and rental market conditions will remain tight with upward pressure on prices for the foreseeable future. Policymakers at all levels must pursue a coordinated effort to bring on a greater diversity of supply in major metropolitan areas,” added DiMichele.