The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that December 2019 residential sales were up by 17.4% cent year-over-year to 4,399. Total sales for calendar year 2019 amounted to 87,825 – up by 12.6% compared to the decade low 78,015 sales reported in 2018. On an annual basis, 2019 sales were in line with the median annual sales result for the past decade.
We certainly saw a recovery in sales activity in 2019, particularly in the second half of the year. As anticipated, many home buyers who were initially on the sidelines moved back into the market place starting in the spring. Buyer confidence was buoyed by a strong regional economy and declining contract mortgage rates over the course of the year.
While sales were up in 2019, the number of new listings were down by 2.4 % year-over-year. For the past decade, annual new listings have been largely in a holding pattern between 150,000 and 160,000, despite the upward trend in home prices over the same period.
Over the last ten years, TREB has been drawing attention to the housing supply issue in Toronto. Increasingly, policy makers, research groups of varying scope and other interested parties have acknowledged that the lack of a diverse supply of ownership and rental housing continues to hamper housing affordability in Toronto. Taking 2019 as an example, we experienced a strong sales increase up against a decline in supply. Tighter market conditions translated into accelerating price growth. Expect further acceleration in 2020 if there is no relief on the supply front.
The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 7.3% on a year-over-year basis in December 2019. From June 2019 onward, the annual growth rate in the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark accelerated. The average selling price in December 2019 was $837,788 – up almost 12% year-over-year. For calendar year 2019, the average selling price was $819,319 – up by 4% compared to $787,856 in 2018.
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