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Toronto home sales up in February from last year as consumers eye rate cuts



Toronto's real estate market witnessed a significant surge in home sales and listings during February, signaling a positive trajectory for the housing sector. According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, sales in the Greater Toronto area rose by 17.9% compared to the same month last year, reaching a total of 5,607 homes. Adjusting for the leap day, this figure remains robust at a 12.3% increase.


Several factors contributed to this notable uptick in sales, as outlined by Jennifer Pearce, the president of the real estate board. A combination of population growth, a resilient economy, and the prospect of a halt in interest rate hikes played pivotal roles in stimulating consumer interest. Pearce highlighted the current resurgence in sales activity, emphasizing that consumers are anticipating imminent rate cuts. Moreover, a growing number of homebuyers have adapted to elevated mortgage rates over the past two years, indicating a degree of market resilience.


However, it's crucial to note that on a seasonally adjusted basis, February sales experienced a 12% decline from January. This reversal marks a departure from the preceding two months, where double-digit growth suggested a resurgent market. The real estate board clarified that monthly figures can exhibit volatility when the market is on the brink of a transition.


In parallel to the surge in sales, new listings increased by an impressive 33.5% in February compared to the same period last year, totaling 11,396. This influx of new listings underscores the ongoing demand for real estate in the Greater Toronto area.


The average selling price also demonstrated a positive trend, rising by 1.1% from the previous year to reach $1.11 million. This increase mirrored the uptick observed from January, portraying a sustained momentum in the market. Despite the slight dip in month-over-month figures, the real estate board remains optimistic about future demand, anticipating a further increase as the year progresses.


Jason Mercer, the chief market analyst, provided insights into the board's expectations for the remainder of 2024. He predicts an influx of buyers re-entering the market, adjusting their housing preferences to accommodate higher borrowing costs. Furthermore, Mercer foresees lower interest rates in the second half of the year, acting as a catalyst to further boost demand for ownership housing.


In summary, the Greater Toronto real estate market exhibited resilience and growth in February, driven by factors such as population expansion, economic stability, and consumer optimism regarding potential rate cuts. While a slight month-over-month decline occurred, the overall trajectory appears positive, with expectations of continued demand and adjustments in the housing market throughout the year.


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