toronto-home-sales-skyline Photo: Graham/Flickr

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is drawing attention to plummeting listings as home sales across the Greater Toronto Area broke another monthly record in May.

“Whether we’re talking about existing homeowners or people looking to purchase for the first time, there is no shortage of buyers in the marketplace today,” says Mark McLean, TREB’s president, in a statement.

“So, while the record number of home sales through the first five months of 2016 is not necessarily surprising, it does sometimes mask the larger story in the GTA: the shortage of listings, which has resulted in strong upward pressure on home price,” he continues.

Through the board’s multiple-listing-service (MLS) system, a total of 12,870 homes changed hands across the GTA in May, an all-time high for the month.

In the wake of this frenzied activity, there were 12,931 active for-sale listings on the market at the end of the month, down 30.4 per cent from what was available to house hunters a year earlier.

Detached home sales represented the largest share of all transactions in May. Some 6,500 of these standalone abodes changed hands across the GTA, representing an 11.8 per cent increase over May 2015.

Meantime, a total of 3,056 condo unit sales were reported through TREB’s MLS, the second-highest total for a housing type and a 21.9 per cent increase from the year before.

As McLean suggests, prices are surging as inventory levels fall. The average sale price of a home — including detached and semi-detached houses, townhouses — and condos soared 15.7 per cent in 12 months to $751,908 in May.

Low-rise homes continue to see the most rapid price appreciation in the GTA, with detached homes leading in gains.

For detached homes in the GTA this may, the average selling price was $986,691, up 18.9 per cent from a year earlier.

That number skyrockets to $1,285,693 when only looking at Toronto proper, where detached home prices soared 15.2 per cent over the year ending in May.

The mean price of a 905 detached home is a more-affordable $891,870, but prices rose at a faster rate there than in Toronto, surging 21.2 per cent compared to May last year.

Semi-detached dwellings had an average price of $670,074, which is 11.9 per cent higher than it was in May 2015, and townhouses sold for $553,370 on average, or 15.8 per cent more than during the same time last year.

“Widespread competition between buyers of singles, semis and townhouses across the GTA has underpinned the robust annual rates of price growth experienced so far this year,” explains Jason Mercer, TREB’s market analysis director, in the same statement.

However, he notes how competition is not solely limited to the low-rise market, as the GTA’s average condo price hit $413,925 in May, having climbed 5.9 per cent in one year. (In Toronto it rose 5 per cent year over year to $442,520, and in the 905 it hit $347,431, up 8.7 per cent.)

“It is also important to understand that tighter market conditions for condominium apartments have resulted in price growth well above the rate of inflation in this market segment as well,” says Mercer.

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