Greater Toronto home sales rose 11.5 per cent last month compared with December 2022 as the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says it expects 2024 to bring a rebound in activity following a year plagued by unaffordability.

Last month's 3,444 sales pushed the annual total of homes that changed hands to 65,982, a 12.1 per cent decline compared with 2022, with many buyers sidelined last year due to high mortgage rates.

The average home price at the end of the year was $1,084,692, up 3.2 per cent from December 2022.

“High borrowing costs coupled with unrealistic federal mortgage qualification standards resulted in an unaffordable home ownership market for many households in 2023," said TRREB president Jennifer Pearce in a press release.

"With that said, relief seems to be on the horizon. Borrowing costs are expected to trend lower in 2024. Lower mortgage rates coupled with a relatively resilient economy should see a rebound in home sales this year."

Across the GTA, December sales rose on a yearly basis in all categories except for condo apartments, which saw a 1.4 per cent decline. Semi-detached homes led the way for gains in the region, with a 36.7 per cent increase in sales for the month, followed by townhouses at 19.8 per cent.

In the City of Toronto, there were 1,266 sales last month, a 10.1 per cent jump compared with the same time in 2022. Throughout the rest of the GTA, home sales rose 12.3 per cent to 2,178.

New listings fell 6.6 per cent to 3,886 in December compared with 4,161 during the same month a year earlier.

The board's chief market analyst Jason Mercer said those who were able to participate in the market last year benefitted from more choice, allowing many of them to negotiate lower selling prices.

"Assuming borrowing costs trend lower this year, look for tighter market conditions to prompt renewed price growth in the months ahead," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2024.