Photo: James Bombales

For prospective homebuyers waiting for the right time to make a move in Toronto’s hot housing market, now might be your opportunity.

A new report from Toronto brokerage Zoocasa found that, as of January 2018, five Toronto neighbourhoods — Willowdale, Leaside/Thorncliffe, Centennial Scarborough/West Hill, Eglinton West/Rockcliffe-Smythe and L’Amoreaux/Tam O’Shanter-Sullivan — transitioned from sellers’ to buyers’ markets.

This brought the total number of neighbourhoods in buyers’ territory to 14 in January, compared to eight a year ago.

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The Zoocasa report, published on Wednesday, defines a buyers’ market as a condition where homes become easier to buy as fewer properties listed for sale are being purchased.

Zoocasa Managing Editor Penelope Graham writes that Toronto’s housing market started to experience a shift from sellers’ to buyers’ territory in the second half of 2017, after the introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. The announcement of new mortgage regulations that took effect on January 1st, 2018 and interest rate hikes also played a role in the shift.

“Sales plunged by double digits while homeowners, panicked at the prospect of losing hard-won equity, listed en masse while prospective buyers stuck to the sidelines,” writes Graham.

“This surge of new inventory quickly overwhelmed slower sales activity, creating a market phenomenon that, just a year prior, would have been unfathomable in Toronto — a buyers’ market,” she adds.

Using the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) January 2018 data, Zoocasa determined buyers’ neighbourhoods, for houses and condos, by using the sales-to-new-listings ratio of an area — calculated by dividing the number of sales by the number of new listings.

According to Zoocasa, a ratio between 0 to 40 per cent indicates that fewer homes are being bought and is considered a buyers’ market. Conversely, a ratio above 60 per cent represents a sellers’ market. A ratio between 40 to 60 per cent reflects a balanced market.

When narrowed down into houses (including semi and detached), four Toronto districts flipped into a buyers’ market in January from a sellers’ market a year ago. As of January 2018, 11 Toronto neighbourhoods were considered a buyers’ market for houses compared to five a year ago.

In Toronto’s condo segment, only one neighbourhood switched into a buyers’ market last month. In total, four neighbourhoods were in buyers’ territory for condos in January, unchanged from a year earlier.

Check out our Facebook Hive interview with Penelope Graham, Managing Editor at Zoocasa, below:

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