Why Toronto housing is 'still a hot market' despite year-over-year plunge in February
Canada's largest housing market couldn't shake a winter sales chill in February, with another month of double-digit declines in the wake of the latest wave of regulatory changes.
Sales across the Greater Toronto Area plummeted 34.9 per cent year-over-year last month as 5,175 properties traded hands.
The overall average selling price was $767,818, marking a 12.4 per cent decline from the previous year but representing an uptick from January when the average price was $736,783.
In a sign the market is still recalibrating, houses stayed on the market for 25 days on average in February -- 92 per cent more than last year, while active listings surged 147 per cent year-over-year.
Buyers and sellers have been jockeying for position in the GTA for the better part of a year amid government intervention and tighter borrowing conditions. The Ontario government introduced a 16-point plan last April, including a tax on foreign buyers, that was designed to improve affordability. Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate three times since last summer and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions' new stress test for uninsured mortgages came into effect in January.
"Prospective home buyers are still coming to terms with the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, and some have also had to reevaluate their plans due to the new OFSI-mandated mortgage stress test guidelines and generally higher borrowing costs," said TREB President Tim Syrianos.
As usual the headline numbers masked the market's underlying dynamics. Sales of detached properties plunged 41 per cent in February, compared to a 31-per-cent sales decline for condos, which bucked the price trend by rising more than 10 per cent year-over-year to $529,782.