Prices and sales increased modestly in March as compared with February, in line with the normal seasonal trend, and continued to track year-ago results very closely.
For condominium properties, prices were 2% higher than last year, while prices for freehold properties were 2% lower, so the overall average for all property types was virtually unchanged. The reverse was true of sales volumes: condo sales were 6% lower this year while freehold sales were 4% higher. There was also a pronounced “March Break Effect” for both condo and freehold prices this year – there is often a lull in the market during March, especially when the winter has been particularly unpleasant as it has this year. Prices for condos actually fell in March vs February, for example. Typically, when we have seen this sort of March slowdown in the past, it has presaged an especially strong April and May.
Digging a little deeper into the data, the behaviour of the market in the ‘prime’ areas of west, central and east Toronto continues to be different than the GTA as a whole. While prices and sales were both relatively flat across the GTA as compared with 2018, prices in the prime areas were up about 2% and sales were down about 20%. There are few homes for sale in these neighbourhoods, and we have seen a number of eye-popping bidding war results recently.
The inventory of homes for sale is falling slowly across the GTA for all property types, and is tracking last year very closely.
Overall, except for “hot pockets” in prime Toronto neighbourhoods, the GTA market remains in a healthy balance. Now that interest rates are trending gently downward, we should see fairly robust activity for the rest of the spring and, barring black, orange or red swan developments elsewhere in the world, for the rest of the year as well.