Toronto's benchmark home price rose for the first time in 11 months after the Bank of Canada paused its campaign of interest rate hikes.

The price of a home in Canada's largest city rose 1.1 per cent to $1.09 million (US$803,000), in February on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to data released Friday by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. February's gain is the first month-over-month price increase since the central bank started raising borrowing costs in March 2022. 

The Canadian housing market slowed last year as the central bank embarked on its round of interest rate hikes, pressuring home sales and fueling a drop in prices. In January, the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark rate for the eighth time as policymakers signaled an intent to pause and assess the impact on the economy.

Even after February's bump, benchmark prices in Toronto are still down nearly 19 per cent from their peak last year.

There were some signs of buyer interest returning last month, with the number of sales in February rising 8.5 per cent from a month earlier to 5,224 transactions on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's the highest number since August, although it's still only about half of the transactions in February 2022.

New listings, meanwhile, were down 41 per cent from the same month a year earlier, the real estate board data show.

“Increased demand will run up against a constrained supply of listings and lead to increased competition between buyers,” Jason Mercer, the real estate board's chief market analyst, said in a statement. “This will eventually lead to renewed price growth in many segments of the market.”