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“Purchasing a Home… Easier Said Than Done”: Prices Up as Supply Falls in September

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September kicked off the busy fall real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with an uptick in sales relative to August, while the average selling price was up both month-over-month and year-over-year.

According to the latest data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), 9,046 homes exchanged hands throughout the region, up nearly 5% from August to mark the third-highest September on record.

Despite being a notable month, sales were down 18% from the September 2020 record, primarily due to the lower number of new listings, which plummeted 34% year-over-year to 13,483. However, the board says a resurgence in the condo market played a factor in the higher share of listings sold.

“Demand has remained incredibly robust throughout September with many qualified buyers who would buy a home tomorrow provided they could find a suitable property. With new listings in September down by one-third compared to last year, purchasing a home for many is easier said than done,” said Kevin Crigger, TRREB President.

READ: ‘High Degree of Vulnerability’ in Toronto’s Housing Market: CMHC

With new listings down, demand for low-rise market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses, drove average prices higher.

The board says the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up 19.1% year-over-year in September, while the average selling price for all home types combined in the GTA was up by 18.3% year-over-year to $1,136,280.

Competition between buyers for condo apartments has also continued to pick up markedly over the past year, which, Jason Mercer, TRREB Chief Market Analyst says, has led to an acceleration in price growth over the past few months as first-time buyers re-entered the ownership market — a trend that’s expected to continue.

In September, 2,664 condo and apartment sales were in the GTA (up 13% year-over-year), as average selling prices swelled 11.6% to $708,521. Toronto lead condo sales, accounting for 1,792 total transactions, a 16% year-over-year increase, as average prices rose 8.5% to $744,730.

Crigger says the “lack of housing supply and choice has reached a “critical juncture” and that the “bandaid policies to artificially suppress demand have not been effective.”

“This is not an issue that can be solved by one level of government alone. There needs to be collaboration federally, provincially, and locally on a solution,” said Crigger.

With the recent federal election behind us, housing affordability and a lack of adequate supply remain hot topics for Canadians. However, with Ontario provincial and municipal elections on the horizon in 2022, more needs to be done to address the housing crisis from both levels of the government.

“Much of the heavy lifting required to bring more housing online, from a policy perspective, happens at the provincial and local levels,” said John DiMichele, TRREB CEO, adding that these lower levels of government need to be on the same page.

“This should be an important topic for debate during the upcoming [provincial] elections,” said DiMichele.

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