Toronto home sales down 49% from last year, new listings hit October 2010 low

TORONTO — The sales slump in the Greater Toronto Area deepened last month with half the number of transactions compared with a year earlier and new listings dropping to a level not seen in more than a decade, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says.

The continued cooling of the once-scorching market was evident in October sales, which dropped by 49.1 per cent year over year to 4,961, and was little changed from September.

The board attributed much of the sales decline to a lack of inventory, which brokers have said is combining with higher interest rates and inflation to keep buyers out of the market.

Sellers are holding off listing properties because they fear they won’t make as much as they would have 10 or 12 months ago when the market was moving at a torrid pace.

BMO Capital Markets chief economist Robert Kavcic characterized it as a “market in a standoff.”

“On one hand, buyers simply can’t pay or qualify for prices that existed six months ago; but sellers’ hands aren’t being forced,” he wrote in a note to investors.

The result is new listings down 11.6 per cent year over year to 11,749 — a level not seen since October 2010.

Read the full October 2022 Market Watch Report

Despina Zanganas, a Toronto Realtor with PSR Brokerage, said it’s causing her and other real estate agents to feel “a little frustrated.”

“My clients are taking their time to find the right property because there’s just not that much to choose from,” she said.

“My seller clients are just holding off on their listings because they’re really concerned that their property is going to sit on the market and they don’t want to lose any money.”

She’s not dealing with any first-time homebuyers right now because they’ve seen their purchasing power dissipate and said most of her clients still in the market are “less sensitive” to the interest rate hikes.

But TRREB’s president, Kevin Crigger, warned that even a moderate uptick in demand from current levels would trigger “a noticeable tightening” in the resale housing market “in short order.”

With fewer homes to choose from and sellers holding off on listing properties, the composite benchmark was down by 1.3 per cent year over year to $1,098,200.

The average selling price was $1,089,428, down 5.7 per cent from a year earlier, but up 0.2 per cent from September.

Average prices fell the most in the detached category, where they dropped 11 per cent year over year to $1,372,438. Semi-detached properties declined by 6.2 per cent to $1,079,393 and townhouses decreased 3.9 per cent to $919,903.

However, condos were an outlier, rising 1.8 per cent since the same time last year to $716,515.

Overall, the board found the composite benchmark and average selling price have “flattened” in recent months after steeper drops in the spring and early summer.

Crigger’s remarks came a day after the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported the composite benchmark price for Metro Vancouver sat at $1,148,900 last month, up 2.1 per cent from October 2021, but down 0.6 per cent from September and 9.2 per cent over the last six months.

The market’s home sales continued to plunge in October, falling 45.5 per cent from the year before even as they increased 12.8 per cent from September.

Last month, sales totalled 1,903 and were 33.3 per cent below the 10-year October sales average.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.

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