Montreal, Toronto are islands of stability
October 9, 2018
Canada’s two largest cities are bucking a national trend with Toronto prices recovering from a first-half downturn and Montreal posting years-high price and sales increases in September.
The City of Toronto had a less spectacular sales month, with transactions down 1.6 per cent from September of last year, but composite benchmark home prices rallied 10 per cent from August and were up 6.7 per cent from a year earlier to $864,275. The city also saw a 45 per cent surge in new listings from August—a trend of higher inventory being seen across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) said the 3,220 sales in September represent a nine-year high for the month. The median price of a detached house in the region rose 7 per cent year-over-year to $336,000, while condominium prices increased 4 per cent to $263,000.
GMREB president Nathalie Begin says Greater Montreal home sales have been increasing for 43 months straight.
Across the GTA, sales activity was up 1.9 per cent in September compared to the same month last year, with a total of 6,455 homes changing hands, reports the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). Sales were down 5 per cent from August, which is traditionally a slow month for sales.
The average home price was $796,786—up 2.9 per cent and 4.1 per cent yearly and monthly, respectively—while the benchmark price rose 2 per cent, reflecting a greater proportion of more expensive detached homes sold.
The GTA is, however, swamped with inventory. September new listings reached 15,920 units, up nearly 31 per cent from August.
TREB remains confident in the market recovery. TREB president Garry Bhuara conceded that high borrowing costs and “tougher mortgage qualification rules” have sidelined some buyers, but said most households remain positive about the long-term investment potential of owning, “As the GTA population continues to grow, the real challenge in the housing market will be supply rather than demand,” he said.