Buyers re-enter the GTA housing market in February – TRREB

By NextHome Staff
March 20, 2024

GTA home sales and new listings were up on an annual and monthly basis in February 2024, while selling prices also edged upward compared to a year earlier, according to the latest data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). Population growth and a resilient regional economy continued to support the overall demand for housing, while higher borrowing costs kept home sales below the February sales record reached in 2021.

Sales resurgence

“We have recently seen a resurgence in sales activity compared to last year,” says TRREB President Jennifer Pearce. “The market assumption is that the Bank of Canada has finished hiking rates. Consumers are now anticipating rate cuts in the near future. A growing number of homebuyers have also come to terms with elevated mortgage rates over the past two years. To minimize higher monthly payments, some buyers have likely saved up a larger down payment, chosen to purchase a less-expensive home type and/or looked to a different location in the GTA.”

Realtors reported 5,607 GTA home sales through TRREB’s MLS system in February 2024 – an increase of 17.9 per cent compared to February 2023. Even after accounting for the leap year effect, sales were up by 12.3 per cent year-over-year. New listings were up by an even greater annual rate than sales in February, pointing to increased choice for buyers. On a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis, February sales were lower following two consecutive monthly increases while new listings were flat. Monthly figures can be somewhat volatile, especially when the market is approaching a transition point.

Home selling prices in February 2024 remained similar to February 2023. The MLS Home Price Index Composite benchmark edged up by 0.4 per cent. The average selling price of $1.10 million increased by a modest 1.1 per cent. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, both the MLS HPI Composite and the average selling price edged upward.

Financial and social impacts

“As we move through 2024, an increasing number of buyers will re-enter the market with adjusted housing preferences to account for higher borrowing costs,” says TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. “In the second half of the year, lower interest rates will further boost demand for ownership housing. First-time buying activity will also be a contributing factor, as many renters look to trade high monthly rents for a long-term investment in which they can live and build equity.”

“Population growth has been at a record pace and with the anticipated lower borrowing costs, the demand for housing – both ownership and rental – will also increase over the next two years,” says TRREB CEO John DiMichele. “Unaffordable housing not only has a financial impact but also a social impact. Recent research conducted for TRREB by CANCEA in our 2024 Market Outlook and Year in Review report underscores the negative impact of unaffordable housing on peoples’ mental health and life satisfaction. It’s comforting to see that there has been some real building happening in the GTA and that the provincial government is rewarding those municipalities that are working to eliminate the red tape and meet those homeownership needs.”

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