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Greater Toronto home sales down in March but competition pushes prices up

Greater Toronto witnessed a dip in home sales during March, marking a 4.5% decrease compared to the previous year. However, despite this decline, the market remained vibrant with intense competition among buyers, ultimately resulting in a moderate year-over-year increase in the average home price.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), a total of 6,560 homes were sold in March, down from 6,868 homes sold during the same period last year. This drop in sales is partly attributed to the occurrence of the statutory Good Friday holiday in March rather than April, affecting the overall sales figures for the month.

Despite the decrease in sales volume, the average selling price experienced a notable uptick of 1.3% compared to last year, reaching $1,121,615. This increase in average selling price indicates sustained demand and competition within the Greater Toronto housing market.

Additionally, the TRREB reported a 15% increase in new listings compared to the same period last year. Jennifer Pearce, President of TRREB, suggests that this surge in new listings could be attributed to homeowners anticipating a potential improvement in market conditions as spring unfolds.

Looking at the broader picture, the first quarter of the year concluded with a significant 11.2% rise in sales compared to the previous year. Moreover, new listings also experienced a substantial increase of 18.3% during this three-month period.

Pearce emphasizes that the trajectory of borrowing costs could significantly impact the housing market dynamics in the upcoming months. If borrowing costs were to decrease later in the year, it is expected that sales activity would surge, and the increased demand would absorb new listings, thereby leading to tighter market conditions. Consequently, such tightening market conditions are likely to exert upward pressure on selling prices.

In summary, while Greater Toronto observed a decline in home sales in March, the market remained buoyant with heightened competition among buyers. The increase in average home prices, coupled with a surge in new listings, underscores the resilience and dynamism of the housing market in the region. Looking ahead, the interplay of various factors, particularly borrowing costs, will continue to shape the trajectory of the Greater Toronto housing market in the coming months.