January often sees a lull in the sales of houses and condos, with buyers less willing to traipse from viewing to viewing in the chilly weather. However, the latest monthly stats from the Toronto Real Estate Board—and new reports of bidding wars—suggest the new year has brought renewed vigour to the city’s lagging housing market. We unpack the latest intel below.
• In January, 4,375 GTA homes changed hands through MLS, a slight (1.3 per cent) decrease compared to January 2012. Realtors see that number as encouraging, since the GTA has seen double-digit decreases for the last few months. TREB president Ann Hannah said the statistics suggest buyers who were spooked by the mortgage regulations introduced over the summer are now ready to enter the market—a theory supported by mortgage broker reports of a surge in applications from prospective homebuyers since Christmas.
• TREB also reports that prices were up 4.3 per cent in January, bringing the average price of a GTA home to $482,648. (Within the city of Toronto, the average price of a home was $507,859.) The Toronto Star reports that first-time buyers are helping fuel demand, citing a two-bedroom home in East York that attracted eight competing offers and sold for $56,000 over the $469,000 asking price. A TREB analyst predicts prices will grow between three and five per cent this year.
• Despite the rosy numbers for houses, the condo resale market continues to struggle. The number of condo sales last month fell by 5.1 per cent compared to a year before, while the average price of a GTA condo fell by 1.2 per cent.