TORONTO — Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area climbed significantly in July in a divergence from the latest numbers in Vancouver.
Residential home sales were up 18.6 per cent in the GTA for the month compared with last July, the Toronto Real Estate Board said Friday.
The average selling price of the 6,961 homes that changed hands during the month rose 4.8 per cent on an annual basis to $782,129.
July’s climb follows a 2.4 per cent increase in June sales compared with a year earlier after a steep sales drop of 22.2 per cent in May.
“The positive results over the last two months are encouraging,” said TREB president Garry Bhaura.
The results from Toronto show a trend towards stabilization and a more balanced market, said TD Economist Rishi Sondhi.
“It’s improving. It still has a ways to go to get back to the levels it was at before, but overall the market appears to be healthy.”
Results from Toronto are a contrast to Metro Vancouver, where the real estate board said Thursday that home sales tumbled to their lowest level in 18 years.
The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board said 2,070 properties changed hands in July in a 30 per cent plunge compared to the same month last year.
The general divergence in markets comes after the B.C. government pushed forward with further measures to cool the housing market in February while Ontario has held off, said Sondhi.
“The market’s still sort of contending with those measures as well, and that’s causing sort of a wedge, year to date.”
Toronto’s housing market is stabilizing following the shock from the federal government’s tighter mortgage rules that came into force in January, said Scotiabank Economics vice-president Derek Holt.
“This fits our broad narrative that the second half of 2018 would begin to witness stronger housing figures as the transitory shock from tightened macroprudential rules ebbs,” he said in a note.
Sondhi said TD also expects the market to improve later in the year, but said sales growth will be tempered by rising interest rates and the continued effects of the tighter mortgage rules.
The Toronto real estate board also reported 13,868 new listings during the month, including 4,511 in Toronto alone, but the overall GTA figure was down by 1.8 per cent year-over-year.
The city recorded 2,574 sales in July at an average price of $824,336, while in the rest of the GTA, the 4,387 properties sold last month fetched an average price of $757,365.
Detached homes sold in Toronto were the most expensive, with an average price of $1.35 million. The average detached home price in the rest of the GTA was $907,347.
TREB said while the MLS home price index composite benchmark during the month was down slightly compared to July 2017, the annual growth rate “looks to be trending toward positive territory in the near future.”
The Ottawa Real Estate Board said Friday that sales in the city were up 5.9 per cent for July compared to last year with 1,614 homes sold, above the five-year average of 1,501 sales for July.
The Canadian Press