The Toronto Real Estate Board recorded 14% fewer sales in the first half of February compared to the same period last year. Anytime we see statistics like this it's important to ask what caused the decrease. Was the drop caused by a decrease in demand, a decrease in supply or a bit of both. I suspect this slow down has more to do with a decrease in supply (fewer homes for sale) than a decrease in demand. A decrease in supply would also explain why houses are selling faster than they were last year.
Here is the full press release from the Toronto Real Estate Board:
Resale home transactions in the Greater Toronto Area declined in the first two weeks of February, Toronto Real Estate Board President Maureen O’Neill announced today.
The first half of the month yielded 2,775 transactions, down 14 per cent from the 3,240 sales recorded in the same timeframe last year. The moderation in sales was more pronounced within the City of Toronto--down 18 per cent to 1,066 from last February’s 1,308—than in the 905 suburbs, which saw transactions off 11 per cent.
“It’s important to recognize that the mid-month report provides an indication of market conditions based on a very brief period,” said Ms. O’Neill.
“However, we believe the harsh winter weather we’ve experienced in the early part of the month has had a negative impact on both sales and inventory levels. If you can’t get buyers out to your open house, then you are less inclined to list. And fewer listings means less appealing product for the potential home-buyer. It’s a compound effect.”
Although sales eased, several positive factors were also noted. At $385,735, the average price in the GTA rose seven per cent compared to $358,533 recorded in mid-February 2007. Within the City of Toronto, the average rose 11 per cent to $434,657, although pockets within the East end (Agincourt, for example) rose at the more affordable pace of around five per cent. As well, properties are remaining on the market fewer days.
The average number of days on market is currently 31 versus 35 days at the same time last year.
Furthermore, a few neighborhoods both within and outside of the 416 area code saw increased sales over the first half of February, 2007.
In Ajax (E14) sales were up 11 per cent compared to mid-February 2007, based mainly on an increase in detached home sales.
In the West region, the W3 (York South) district saw a 41 per cent increase in transactions, driven by strong sales of semi-detached homes.
Central Richmond Hill (N04) also experienced a notable increase in sales compared to the same timeframe last year. Transactions were up 21 per cent, primarily due to an increase in attached row sales.
“We are optimistic that we will see a strong spring market because the economic fundamentals remain in place,” said Ms. O’Neill. “Prices are still particularly affordable in Toronto’s East end.”