House Prices Continuing To Inch Back Up in Halton
While houses in Halton and surrounding cities are not quite as expensive as they were this time last year, prices in the GTA do appear to be inching back up month-over-month.
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently revealed that GTA realtors reported 7,792 sales through TREB’s MLS system in April 2018. The average selling price was $804,584, meaning that on a year-over-year basis, sales were down by 32.1 per cent and the average selling price was down by 12.4 per cent.
As for what’s prompting the year-over-year changes, TREB says prices have been impacted by both changes in market conditions as well as changes in the type and price point of homes being purchased.
TREB says detached home sales for $2 million or more accounted for 5.5 per cent of total detached sales in April 2018, versus 10 per cent in April 2017. The MLS home price index strips out the impact of changes in the mix of home sales from one year to the next. This is why the MLS HPI composite benchmark was down by only 5.2 per cent year-over-year versus 12.4 per cent for the average price.
“While average selling prices have not climbed back to last year’s record peak, April’s price level represents a substantial gain over the past decade,” says Tim Syrianos, TREB president.
“Recent polling conducted for TREB by Ipsos tells us that the great majority of buyers are purchasing a home within which to live. This means these buyers are treating home ownership as a long-term investment. A strong and diverse labour market and continued population growth based on immigration should continue to underpin long-term home price appreciation.”
TREB says the month-over-month change in sales and the average selling price was minimal, with sales decreasing 1.6 per cent and the average selling price decreasing by 0.2 per cent.
In terms of numbers specific to the entire GTA, a detached house in the 905 currently costs about $929,092 (up from $921,515 in February). A semi costs about $656,874 (slightly up from $651,967), towns are selling for $604,853 (a little down from $609,375) and condos are costing buyers about $457,014 (up from $449,967).
So while it’s tempting to believe the market is falling when comparing the numbers to last year, it’s important to look at month-over-month trends.
“The comparison of this year’s sales and price figures to last year’s record peak masks the fact that market conditions should support moderate increases in home prices as we move through the second half of the year, particularly for condominium apartments and higher density low-rise home types,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.
“Once we are past the current policy-based volatility, home owners should expect to see the resumption of a moderate and sustained pace of price growth in line with a strong local economy and steady population growth.”
TREB says that housing issues should be top of mind going into the provincial election.
“With a provincial election campaign about to begin, realtors hope that all of the provincial parties will make housing issues a priority. Home ownership is a worthwhile investment that benefits our economy, individual finances and quality of life,” said Syrianos
“In recent months and years, there has been significant intervention in housing markets by all levels of government, through regulatory changes and taxation. We believe the next step should be tax relief, especially from Land Transfer Taxes, both provincial and the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, and efforts to facilitate an increase in the supply of missing middle housing that fills the gap between single family homes and high rises. Furthermore, we believe that any attempt to increase the Toronto Land Transfer Tax should require approval from the provincial government, given the significance of Toronto’s economy to the Province and the connections between the Toronto real estate market and that of the broader GTA.”
It’ll be interesting what happens to housing policies in the coming months, especially if the Liberals lose control of the province.