Toronto home prices fall in December, down 21% from peak

FILE PHOTO: A realtor's sign stands outside a house for sale in Toronto

TORONTO (Reuters) - Home prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) fell in December as higher borrowing costs weighed on the city's once-red-hot housing market, data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) showed on Thursday.

The average price of a GTA home fell to C$1.05 million ($778,816) in December, down 2.6% from November and down 9.2% from a year ago. Prices were about 21% below February's peak.

Sales tumbled 48.2% from a year ago, while new listings were down 21.3%.

"Following a very strong start to the year, home sales trended lower in the spring and summer of 2022, as aggressive Bank of Canada interest rate hikes further hampered housing affordability," TRREB President Paul Baron said in a statement.

The Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points since last March to 4.25%, its highest level since 2008.

For 2022, sales were down 38.2% compared to a record level in 2021, while the average selling price was up 8.6%.

($1 = 1.3482 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Stephen Coates)