Photo: James Bombales

Following a summer of slumping sales numbers, the GTA housing market seemed to have balanced out in recent months. But new data suggests that it could now be headed towards buyers market territory.

According to new data from Toronto-based real estate website Zoocasa, mid-November sales numbers are falling, while listings rise.

“Sales-to-new-listings ratios fell all across all home types in the GTA and the city of Toronto, with the exception of the condo market,” reads the report.

A sales-to-new-listings ratio of between 40 to 60 per cent is considered a balanced market. While the GTA condo and semi-detached home markets remained balanced with ratios of 45 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, the detached homes market dipped to 34 per cent, indicating a buyers market.

Sales of detached homes were down 33 per cent year-over-year in the GTA, and 36 per cent in Toronto. A rush of new listings meant that inventory rose 47 per cent and 26 per cent in the GTA and Toronto, respectively.

“This slower activity and more buyer choice has cooled competition for detached houses,” reads the report.

Not everyone agrees that Toronto is on the threshold of becoming a buyers market. According to Property.ca Leslieville partner Ara Mamourian, while it’s true that detached homes aren’t selling as well as they used to, the rest of the market remains competitive.

“It’s true that detached homes, which are expensive, are sitting on the market a little bit longer,” Mamourian tells BuzzBuzzNews. “Their listings are definitely up. But they’re still selling relatively quickly, and they’re still receiving multiple offers.”

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Mamourian says semi-detached houses and townhouses are selling quickly, as buyers rush to make a deal before new mortgage rules come into effect on January 1.

The new rules will require uninsured borrowers to qualify against the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate, or at their contract mortgage rate plus an additional 2 per cent.

“People want to make sure everything is set for December 15 at the latest,” says Mamourian. “So they’re looking to buy sooner than later.”

The GTA condo market remains more competitive — sales were down in November year-over-year, but up from their numbers in October.

“A number of recent reports from local GTA real estate boards indicate that while the market in general has slowed from extremely hot 2016 activity, condos are seeing the greatest demand and price growth, as the most buyer competition is present at the most affordable end of the market,” reads the report.

“What will be interesting to see is what kind of property type buyers are interested in come the new year,” says Mamourian. “Maybe if the new rules mean they can’t afford a semi-detached home, they’ll start looking at condos.”

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