Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) refused to budge in October as buyers kept to the sidelines amid a lack of both uncertainty and affordability.
Just 4,646 sales were recorded last month across the GTA, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), marking a change of just two sales from the month prior. On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, sales edged lower compared to September. Compared to the same time last year, sales were also down, falling 5.8%.
TRREB President Paul Baron notes that although record population growth has helped to keep housing demand strong, "more of that demand has been pointed at the rental market, as high borrowing costs and uncertainty on the direction of interest rates has seen many would-be home buyers remain on the sidelines in the short term."
"When mortgage rates start trending lower, home sales will pick up quickly,” Baron said.
All housing types took a hit, but townhouses saw the largest drop in sales by far, falling 11.5%. Detached homes followed with a 5.7% decline.
The number of new listings coming on the market continued to grow in October, up "noticeably" compared to the 12-year low seen in October 2022. On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, they actually fell slightly compared to the previous month.
Amidst all of this, the. benchmark price slid month over month while the average sale price remained at a similar level to September. Compared to September 2022, however, the average selling price climbed up 3.5%.
“Competition between buyers remained strong enough to keep the average selling price above last year’s level in October and above the cyclical lows experienced in the first quarter of this year," said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. "The Bank of Canada also noted this resilience in its October statement. However, home prices remain well below their record peak reached at the beginning of 2022, so lower home prices have mitigated the impact of higher borrowing costs to a certain degree."
Looking at housing types, condo apartments were the only kind to see prices drop across both Toronto and the 905 regions, seeing an overall dip of 1.2%.
Year to date, home prices and sales are still down across the board in the GTA. Semi-detached home sales have fallen a substantial 20.4%, with townhouses and detached homes following neck-in-neck at 14.5% and 13.3%, respectively. On the price front, semi-detached homes have seen the biggest dip of 6.1%, with detached home and condo apartment prices dropping 5.8% and 5.6%, respectively.