The repercussions of the COVID-pandemic continue to be felt in the housing market, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which saw record low new build home sales numbers in April, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
April marked the lowest month for total new home sales, as well as single-family and condominium apartment sales, since Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, started tracking in 2000.
In April, 771 new homes were sold, down 80% year-over-year and 78% below the 10-year average, according to BILD. Single-family homes — which includes detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses and excludes stacked townhouses — accounted for 301 of the new home sales, which was down 62% from last April and 79% below the 10-year average.
New condominium apartments — which includes units in low, medium, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units — made up the remaining 470 units sold and was down 85% from April 2019 and 78% below the 10-year average.
Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s Executive Vice President, Data Solutions, says the plunge in new home sales last month coincided with both builders and potential buyers stepping back from the heated activity of the first quarter as they adjusted to the new reality ushered in by COVID-19.
“Most planned new project launches were put on hold, sales programs for existing projects moved to virtual or by-appointment-only models, and short-term home-buying plans were disrupted by employment uncertainty, as well as the challenges of stay-at-home routines," said Arsenault.
According to BILD, the total remaining new home inventory decreased slightly from the previous month to 13,851 units, which included units in preconstruction projects, projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.
The benchmark prices for both new condominium apartments and new single-family homes increased slightly in April compared to the previous month. The benchmark price for new condo apartments is $984,369, up 29.8% over the past year, while the benchmark price for new single-family homes reached $1,117,955, down 0.2% over the last 12 months.
David Wilkes, BILD President and CEO, says as expected, April new home sales numbers reflected the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the GTA economy.
“The good news is, the residential and commercial building and development industry, along with the professional renovations industry, is positioned to play a significant role in the recovery of our region and Ontario," said Wilkes, adding, "in the coming weeks, we’ll be putting forward recommendations for all three levels of government that can accelerate the healing of our economy.”