By Larry Cerqua, TREB President

The numbers for April’s GTA resale housing market are in and, with 33.6 per cent more new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System in April 2017 than in April 2016, the TREB market area experienced some relief on the listings front for the first time in a long time. While new listings were up for the month of April, sales were down by 3.2 per cent compared to last year. The average price continued to rise and is now at $920,791, up 24.5 per cent when compared to 2016.

One issue underlying the decline in sales was the fact that Easter fell in April in 2017 versus March in 2016, which resulted in fewer working days this year compared to last and, historically, most sales are entered into TREB’s MLS® System on working days.

It’s likely too soon to tell what is behind the growth in new listings, but the benefit in terms of more choice for consumers looking to buy a home in the GTA marketplace are clear. The longer term benefit of growth in new listings outpacing growth in sales, should this come to pass, will be more balanced market conditions. However, we’d need to see sustained growth in new listings over several months for this to result.

Also this month, TREB analyzed aggregated annual property sales and aggregated residential data provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to gain additional insight on foreign buyer ownership, domestic and foreign speculation and multiple ownership in the Greater Golden Horseshoe housing market.

In line with previous Member polling results undertaken by Ipsos for TREB, new insight suggests that foreign buyer influence in the GTA marketplace remains relatively low, with less than one per cent of buyers having a mailing address outside of Canada (mostly in the United States) and an average share of 2.3 per cent of foreign home buyers across the GGH over the period 2008 to April 2017, with the vast majority purchasing as a place to live. Similarly, over the same time period, the data shows that homes bought and sold by domestic and foreign buyers within a short period of time – within one year of the original transaction – accounted for a small share, less than 5 per cent in 2016 and approximately seven per cent between January and April 2017 of total transactions. Previously, Ipsos survey of TREB Members suggested a foreign buyer share of 4.9 per cent between the fall of 2015 and fall of 2016.

TREB is encouraged that all levels of government, including the Province of Ontario, are making the state of the housing market a priority, and TREB will continue to work with all levels of government on issues related to housing market policy. However, TREB strongly believes that public policy decisions with regard to the housing market should be evidence-based and supported by empirical data. And so, TREB will continue to collect information and provide insight about the GGH marketplace

Looking to buy or sell a home, or just want to better understand the GTA housing market? TREB Member REALTORS® are armed with the tools necessary to expertly guide you using their skills, experience and knowledge in helping you through one of the largest financial decisions you’ll ever make.

For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB Commercial Professional Member REALTOR® by visiting trebcommercial.com.

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