Toronto's real estate market may have been quiet in April as the coronavirus pandemic put the typically busy spring season into slow motion, with home sales, prices, and new listings all down when compared to the previous year.

That said, not all hopeful buyers completely shied away from the market.

1,036 properties in Toronto changed hands in April — a -67.8% change year-over-year, according to data released Tuesday by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). In the uncertainty of the market homeowners were also hesitant to sell, with active listings in Canada's largest city falling to just 2,223 in April, a -61.2% drop year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the average selling price in Toronto was also down in April, hitting a mark of $881,424, a -2.5% drop on a year-over-year basis. Though the semi-detached and townhouse market segments both experienced average price growths, increasing 4% and 3.5%, respectively. The condominium apartment and detached segments, on the other hand, experienced year-over-year average price declines, dropping 4% and 7.8%, respectively.

READ: 80% of Real Estate Agents Expect Business to Return to Normal Within 12 Months: Survey

“The necessary social distancing and economic impacts associated with COVID-19 clearly impacted home sales and listings throughout April 2020," said Michael Collins, President of TRREB.

Mr. Collins says realtors have been able to still facilitate some transactions on behalf of buyers and sellers through "innovative techniques" such as virtual open houses.

"TRREB has also provided a live stream virtual open house option on Member listings featured on our public websites, and I would expect the use of these innovative techniques to increase as some level of social distancing remains in place for the foreseeable future,” added Collins.

home salesTRREB April 2020

John DiMichele, TRREB CEO, noted that this is an unprecedented time and that past recessions and recoveries do not necessarily provide the best guide as to how the housing market will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while Toronto's real estate market is experiencing an overall downfall right now, things are expected to improve. At this time, industry experts believe a market crash is unlikely and that Toronto home prices could increase, while 80% of real estate agents expect business to return to normal within 12 months.

"A key factor for the housing market recovery will be a broader reopening of the economy, which will result in an improving employment picture and a resurgence in consumer confidence," says DiMichele. "To this end, it is reassuring that the province is taking measured and carefully monitored steps towards safely opening up some parts of the economy."

Conflicting reports from CIBC and TD Bank are projecting very different outcomes for Canadian housing prices over the next year, further suggesting the unpredictability of the current market.

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