Toronto region home sales dropped from 2021 highs.Photo: Spiroview Inc. / Adobe Stock

Toronto region home sales fell from their all-time 2021 record in February, but last month still represents the second-best results for the month of February in the region’s history.

In a news release, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) announced that February property sales had fallen on a yearly basis, as did the number of new listings, but to a lesser extent. These trends may signal a “modest move,” towards balanced market conditions in the Greater Toronto Area. Although sales and new properties trended downward, annual prices continued to rise in the double-digit range as a result of low inventory levels and hot buyer demand.

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“Demand for ownership housing remains strong throughout the GTA, and while we are marginally off the record pace seen last year, any buyer looking in this market is not likely to feel it with competition remaining the norm,” said TRREB’s president, Kevin Crigger, in the release.

“Many households sped up their home purchase and entered into a transaction in 2021, which is one reason the number of sales were forecasted to be lower this year and a trending towards higher borrowing cost will have a moderating effect on home sales,” he added.

Here’s the full breakdown of the latest information from TRREB.

February home sales fall nearly 17 per cent from 2021

Last month, 9,097 sales took place through TRREB’s MLS system, a 16.8 per cent drop from the number of transactions that occurred in February 2021 when 10,929 homes were bought and sold.

The 905 segment of the GTA accounted for the majority of the properties sold in February, with 5,857 residences exchanging hands, while the 416 reported 3,240 sales in the same month.

Detached homes recorded 3,928 February sales, the most among the other property types in the region, followed by condo apartments with 2,772 sales.

New home supply falls as prices high run upwards of $1.3 million

In total, there were 14,147 new listings added to the Toronto region market in February, a drop from the 15,146 homes that came online during the same time last year.

According to TRREB, the listing supply for low-rise property types such as detached, semi-detached and townhomes was down annually. However, new listings for condominium apartments, especially in Toronto, were up on a year-over-year basis.

The average selling price for all GTA home types combined grew by 27.7 per cent annually to $1,334,544 in February. Meanwhile, the MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark climbed 35.9 per cent yearly last month. Durham Region saw its MLS HPI rise the most, up 47.35 per cent annually.

Semi-detached homes in the 905 region experienced the most price growth in February, rising 37.5 per cent year-over-year to an average price of $1,282,386. Detached properties in the 416 area currently cost the most compared to other property types with an average price of $2,073,989, up 23 per cent from February 2021.

“We have seen a slight balancing in the market so far this year, with sales dipping more than new listings. However, because inventory remains exceptionally low, it will take some time for the pace of price growth to slow,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s chief market analyst, in the release.

“Look for a more moderate pace of price growth in the second half of 2022 as higher borrowing costs result in some households putting their home purchase on hold temporarily as they resituate themselves in the market,” he added.

As local elections loom, housing policies are a key campaign component

With municipal and provincial elections slated for this year, TRREB CEO John DiMichele noted in February’s market release that housing affordability will “be top of mind.”

Those looking to enter political office this year will have to focus on policies that will support the creation of Ontario’s housing supply, noted DiMichele, which will account for the province’s current deficit and expected future population growth.

“History has shown that tax based policies pointed at foreign buying and speculative activity, which seem to be the political preference, have had very little impact on the market simply because this type of activity accounts for a small share of overall market activity,” he said.

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