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In short, it was a balancing act.

Despite a decline in sales to round out the opening half of 2019, Toronto’s housing market has generally been busier this year than last, suggests a new report from Central 1 Credit Union.

“Notwithstanding this month’s slowdown in activity over the first six months of 2019, sales and new listings remained up from the same period last year by 7.2 per cent and 1.0 per cent,” writes Edgard Navarrete, a regional economist for the credit union, in an Ontario Economic Briefing.

The slowdown Navarrete was referring to was a 3.9 percent month-over-month decline in sales this June, when 7,121 homes changed hands. New listings

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While the market still managed to surpass the sales tally observed in the first half of 2018 — double-digit annual gains from April to June helped to this end — home sales in the second quarter were still well short of the long-run average.

That’s a troubling development, says Navarrete, who points out that second-quarter activity is 7 percent below the average recorded for this period between 2010 and 2019.

“Typically, the second quarter is a period of brisk activity. Slowing activity relative to the longer-term trend is a concerning situation,” Navarrete continues.

However, home prices have continued their ascent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average price of a Toronto area home was $808,942 in June, up 1.8 percent from May, when prices grew 2.7 percent on a month-over-month basis.

A pullback in new listings — a 5 percent decline occurred from May to June — has kept the market in balanced territory even as demand wanes somewhat.

The sales-to-new listings ratio, a common gauge of market balance, was 57.3 percent in June, suggesting that for every 100 new listings that appear, roughly 57 homes are sold.

Typically, ratios between 40 and 60 percent reflect a balanced market, with anything above that range a seller’s market and anything below a buyer’s market.

“Despite a bit of tightening according to this [sales-to-new listings] metric the overall market remained well within a balanced market,” Navarrete concludes.

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