Toronto housing market heats up again as sales surge 37% in January

All signs are pointing to a tightening Toronto housing market for 2024 after a year of soaring interest rates and a more than two-decade low in home sales.

In January, home sales were up by 37 per cent compared to the same period the year before, according to a report by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) on Tuesday. There were 4,223 sales in January, up from 3,083 in January 2023. New listings also increased by 6 per cent year-over-year to 8,312, resulting in a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 50 per cent — putting the GTA squarely back into a balanced market.

Sales and new listings were both also up month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis, though sales increased more than listings, which the report said points to tightening market conditions relative to 2023.

Sales were up across all property types in the GTA, with townhouses leading the way with a 54.5 per cent year-over-year increase and semi-detached homes with a 42.9 per cent increase. The average price for all property types marginally increased, with the exception of condo apartments, which saw a 0.6 per cent decline in price.

The average selling price overall was still down by about 1 per cent year-over-year to $1,026,703, and the average price also trended lower month-over-month — but the report noted that this won’t be the case for long.

“Once the Bank of Canada actually starts cutting its policy rate, likely in the second half of 2024, expect home sales to pick up even further. There will be more competition between buyers in 2024 as demand picks up and the supply of listings remains constrained,” TRREB chief market analyst Jason Mercer said. “The end result will be upward pressure on selling prices over the next two years.”

With the anticipation of receding inflation rates and lower interest rates, TRREB president Jennifer Pearce predicts an increase in home buyers’ confidence to move back into the market. “First-time buyers currently facing high average rents would benefit from lower mortgage rates, making the move to homeownership more affordable,” she said.

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