Mid-month transactions up 3% and house prices on par with last year’s

It may be only halfway through the month of May, but Toronto realtors are seeing the first mid-month rise in activity since the market went into a deep freeze last year.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 4,561 transactions in the first two weeks of the month, up 3 per cent compared with May 2008.

The average price, meanwhile, was almost the same as last year’s, down by less than one half of 1 per cent at $399,811.

“More sales and fewer listings resulted in tighter market conditions, which pushed the average selling price back up to last year’s level,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s senior manager of market analysis.

It remains to be seen whether sales will continue on an upward path to finish the month in positive territory. But the spring market has been remarkable in its resilience during the recession.

One big reason is the low interest rates, which have made houses much more affordable.

“Historical lows in mortgage rates are expected over the next two years. This will help to buoy Canada’s housing sector in the short term as the economy goes through a downturn,” the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a report this week.

Read the full article by Tony Wong “Realtors making merry in May” in the Toronto Star (May 21, 2009)

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