Toronto’s Roller Coaster 2023 Housing Market Ended With 20 Year Low in Sales – Move Smartly

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The GTA’s housing market ended the year with the lowest number of home sales in over 20 years. 

The Market Now

In my Move Smartly report for last month, I discussed some early signs that Toronto’s housing may be turning a corner, and the latest statistics for December did reveal some signs of improvement over previous months.


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House sales were up 20% over the previous year, and the Months of Inventory (MOI), declined to 3 in December. The condo market did not see much of a rebound, with sales down slightly over last year and MOI relatively flat. 

A full breakdown of the monthly statistics for December 2023 can be found below. 

Overall, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA’s) housing market experienced a rollercoaster market in 2023. This time last year, most housing analysts (including this one) expected Toronto’s housing market in 2023 to be challenging due to the spike in interest rates over the previous twelve months. 

But Toronto’s housing market surprised everyone when the first half of the year saw an increase in the number of homes receiving multiple offers and average home prices. This surge in demand during the first half of 2023 was partly due to the Bank of Canada signalling in January that they may be done raising interest rates. A signal that subsequently proved to be poorly timed and incorrect.

This signal, combined with a decline in fixed mortgage rates due to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US, pushed more buyers back into the market. 

But as buyers rushed back into the market, home sellers decided to move to the sidelines.

For much of the first half of 2023, new listings were approaching 20-year lows. The dearth of new listings contributed to the tight market conditions that saw home prices rise during the first half of 2023. 

But in June, the Bank of Canada decided to increase their policy rate again, signalling to buyers that rates are likely to stay higher for longer. This helped push fixed mortgage rates into the mid to high 6% range, which pushed many buyers back to the sidelines. The housing market went from fiercely competitive to a ghost town in just a few weeks.

Buyers disappeared.

This decline in the demand for homes pushed average home prices back down in the second half of 2023, erasing the gains from the year’s first half. 

The GTA’s housing market ended the year with the lowest number of home sales in over 20 years. 

Annual_Sales

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By the Numbers: December 2023

Houses

The average price for a house in the Toronto area was $1,310,068 in December, unchanged over the same month last year. Last month’s median house price was $1,101,000, also unchanged over last year.

House sales in December were up 20% over last year, while new house listings were down 10%. 

The number of houses available for sale at the end of the month, or active listings, was up 49% over last year. 

The current balance between supply and demand is reflected in the Months of Inventory (MOI), which is a measure of inventory relative to the number of sales each month. In December, the MOI for houses fell to 3.

 

Condos

The average price for a condo in the Toronto Area was $708,109 in December, which is unchanged over last year. The median price for a condo in December was $640,000, also unchanged over last year.    
    
Condo sales in December were down 3% over last year, and new condo listings were up 3% over last year. The number of active condo listings was up 54% over last year. The MOI decreased slightly to 5.2. 

Browse detailed monthly statistics for December 2023 for the entire Toronto area market, including house, condo and regional breakdowns below. 

 

Monthly Statistics

 

House Statistics

House sales (low-rise freehold detached, semi-detached, townhouse, etc.) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in December 2023 were up 20% compared to the same month last year.

11_Houses_Sales

New house listings in December were down 10% over last year.

12_Houses_NewListings

The number of houses available for sale (“active listings”) was up 49% in December compared to the same month last year.

13_Houses_ActiveListings

The Months of Inventory ratio (MOI) looks at the number of homes available for sale in a given month divided by the number of homes sold in that month. It answers the following question: If no more homes came on the market for sale, how long would it take for all the existing homes on the market to sell, given the current level of demand? The higher the MOI, the cooler the market is. A balanced market (a market where prices are neither rising nor falling) is one where MOI is between four to six months. The lower the MOI, the more rapidly we would expect prices to rise.  

While the current level of MOI gives us clues into how competitive the market is on-the-ground today, the direction it is moving in also gives us some clues into where the market may be heading. 

The MOI for houses dipped to 3 in December, down from 4 MOI in October. 

14_Houses_MOI

The share of houses selling for more than the owner’s list price decreased to 19% in December.

15_Houses_OverAsking

The average price for a house in December was $1,310,068 in December 2023, unchanged compared to the same month last year. 

16_Houses_Price

The median house price in December was $1,101,000, unchanged over last year.

The median is calculated by ordering all the sale prices in a given month and then selecting the price that is at the midpoint of that list such that half of all home sales are above that price and half are below that price. Economists often prefer the median price over the average because it is less sensitive to big increases in the sale of high-end or low-end homes in a given month which can skew the average price.

 

Condo Statistics

Condo (condominiums, including condo apartments, condo townhouses, etc.) sales in the Toronto area in December 2023 were down 3% over the same month last year.21_Condo_Sales

New condo listings were up 3% in December over last year.

22_Condo_NewListings

The number of condos available for sale at the end of the month, or active listings, was up 54% over last year.

23_Condo_ActiveListings

Condo months of inventory decreased slightly to 5.2 MOI in December. 

24_Condo_MOI

The share of condos selling for over the asking price declined to 13% in December.    

25_Condo_OverAsk

The average price for a condo in December was $708,109, down 2% over last year. The median price for a condo in December was $640,000, down 1% over last year.

26_Condo_Price

Regional Trends

Houses 

All five regions saw sales increases in December over last year. Four of the five regions saw a new listings decline in December while the MOI was up in all five regions over last year. 
Average house prices were up in Halton, Peel and Toronto and down in York and Durham regions. 

31_Houses_Regional

 

Condos

Condo sales were down in Peel, Toronto and York, while Durham saw sales increase over last year. Average prices were down in York, Toronto and Halton and flat in Peel and Durham. The MOI is above last year’s level, indicating a cooler market for condos this year.

32_Condos_Regional

Browse Real-Time Market Trends on Movesmartly.com:

See Market Performance by Neighbourhood Map, All Toronto and the GTA

Greater Toronto Area Market Trends

City of Toronto Market Trends

York Region Market Trends

Halton Region Market Trends

Peel Region Market Trends

Durham Region Market Trends

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Top Image Credit: Getty/iStock

John Pasalis is President of Realosophy RealtyA specialist in real estate data analysis, John’s research focuses on unlocking micro trends in the Greater Toronto Area real estate market. His research has been utilized by the Bank of Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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