TORONTO — Prospective homebuyers in the Greater Toronto Area found dramatically fewer homes on the market last month than they did a year ago, pushing sales down and prices up.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board said Wednesday that 9,783 homes in the region changed hands last month, down nearly seven per cent from a record 10,503 in October 2020.
Despite the fall, the result was still the second highest level for the month of October even as the number of new listings fell by about a third compared with a year ago.
TRREB interpreted the numbers as a sign of tightening conditions in a market that is already among Canada's most expensive and prone to some of the country's most fierce bidding wars.
The board said every housing type was impacted by the heated conditions, which included fewer people putting their homes up for sale than last year, when a pandemic buying frenzy was on the horizon.
"Everybody who wanted to break out of their space last year, got that itch and did it, so now there's fewer people that want to break out of their space," Davelle Morrison, a Toronto broker with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., said.
"People are just kind of sitting pretty."
TRREB's data showed new listings decreased to 11,740 in October, a more than 34 per cent drop from 17,806 during the same month last year.
Active listings for last month totalled 7,750 compared with 17,313 in October 2020.
Morrison doesn't expect listings to pick up much in the coming months or be as plentiful as they were last year, when health officials tried to deter people from December gatherings.
Like in pre-pandemic years, she thinks people will put off home sales and purchases as the December holidays near and invitations to parties and family gatherings arrive.
"People are going to turn their focus back to Christmas...so it's a good opportunity for buyers to buy in December," Morrison said.
"But I still think that we're going to see the usual January and the New Year's resolutions, where people decide they have to go buy a place."
Price relief is unlikely for those on the hunt for a home, though many are still benefiting from lower interest rates that were introduced to quell the impacts of the pandemic on the economy.
The average home price of a home sold soared by almost 20 per cent to nearly $1.2 million in October, up from $968,535 in the same month last year, TRREB said.
Detached homes averaged more than $1.5 million and semi-detached rang in at nearly $1.2 million, while townhouses hit $957,103 and condos reached $703,698.
That amounted to year-over-year price growth of almost 28 per cent for detached housing, 24 per cent for semi-detached properties, 28 per cent for townhouses and 13 per cent for condos.
"There's a lot of showing activity and there's a lot of people out there trying to find condos," said Morrison.
"Condos are becoming so popular simply just because they're more affordable than houses in Toronto."
Meanwhile, TRREB president Kevin Crigger said the climb in prices across every housing type highlights the market's immediate need for more supply.
“The only sustainable way to address housing affordability in the GTA is to deal with the persistent mismatch between demand and supply," he said, in a release.
"Demand isn’t going away."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2021.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press