toronto-condo-construction Photo: James Bombales

Toronto’s resale condo market is seeing sales and prices drop at a higher rate than other housing types, according to April data released last week by the region’s real estate board.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR) analyzed the preliminary TRREB data published last week and concluded that the city’s condo market also appears to be worse affected by the pandemic downturn than other areas of the GTA.

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TRREB made the unusual move of publishing market activity data from the first 17 days of April in an effort to provide guidance on how the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown is affecting housing across the Toronto region. Typically the board only releases data in the first week of each month for the previous month.

Toronto condo sales were down 72 percent in the period covered by the data release when compared to the same stretch a year earlier. Meantime, the average condo sale price fell 9.1 percent, the largest price decline measured in the GTA across all housing types.

In commentary published late last week titled “Condos in the 416 most vulnerable to COVID-19 shocks,” CUR researchers noted that the market “appears to be weakening faster than most forecasters had expected.”

“Certain markets are more vulnerable than others to the downturn resulting from pandemic lockdowns,” CUR said in its commentary. “Demand for condo-apartments in the city of Toronto relies heavily on rental demand and immigration, so it is not surprising to see this market weaken faster than others.”

However, researchers were quick to point out that housing data tends to be volatile and “two weeks do not make a trend.” CUR said that another factor to consider when evaluating the preliminary April sales and pricing data is the fact that Easter fell within the first 17 days of the month in 2020, but fell later last year, meaning any holiday slowdown would have materialized in the 2020 data but not in 2019’s.

The research team said the full month of data — set for a May 1st release by TRREB — will be far more telling of the scale of the slowdown and trends to look for in the months ahead.

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