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Toronto area real estate market off to a good start for the year

Breaking down the market in January

The year has gotten off to a good start with sales, listings and price all up on a year-over-year basis. This is encouraging, especially when the inclement weather experienced in the GTA is considered.

There were 4,009 home sales in January 2019, up 0.6 per cent and listings were up 10.5 per cent with 9,456 homes listed on TREB’s MLS in January. While the average selling price was up by 1.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis, after preliminary seasonal adjustment the average selling price edged lower when compared to the previous month.

One trend to keep an eye on as we move through the year is stronger prices for higher-density low-rise (e.g., condo townhomes, duplexes, etc.) and condominium apartment home types.

As the market experiences increasing affordability pressures, it is likely that many of those looking to buy a home will prefer to purchase these often lower-priced home types. Much of the affordability pressure we are seeing in the GTA has been driven by the OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions)-mandated two percentage point mortgage stress test, a provision TREB is urging the government to revisit with an eye toward more flexibility.

Market Year in Review and Outlook report

On Feb. 6, TREB released its Market Year in Review and Outlook report. While you can download a copy of the report from, I want to highlight some of the exciting contents and groundbreaking research contained in this year’s issue.

The report takes an in-depth look at the market in 2018 and provides a forecast for 2019. The analysis is punctuated by TREB-commissioned Ipsos surveys of existing homeowners and intending buyers and helps to predict what 2019 will look like in terms of sales and price while also shining the spotlight on issues ranging from preferred home types to the impact of the new mortgage qualification guidelines on buying intentions. The report also breaks down the rental market, the commercial market, and the new homes and residential land sectors.

This year’s report focused on envisioning housing options and supply for livable communities and features TREB-commissioned research on transit-supportive development from the Pembina Institute and a study on missing middle housing from Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Policy and Land Development.

The effects of transit-supportive development are highlighted by two real-life case studies — at Long Branch and Pickering GO stations — and show that housing built within a 10-minute walk of a transit station, and in areas that feature a balanced mix of housing, jobs, shopping and services, can result in potential housing and transportation savings ranging from 10 to 56 per cent for individuals, families and retirees.

The Ryerson University Centre’s research offers some workable ideas on how to create more missing middle housing, which could fill the gaps in the types of homes needed and positively impact affordability. The study shows that there is plenty of opportunity to build this type of housing and that doing so could result in savings of between 20 to 49 per cent.




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