Toronto home sales post biggest jump since 2004

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Toronto home sales jumped the most in more than a decade last month, a sign that Canada's biggest housing market is rebounding from the chill brought on by tighter lending regulations and higher borrowing costs in the past few months.

Sales in June rose 2.4% from the same period a year ago, according to data released Thursday from the Toronto Real Estate Board. Seasonally adjusted sales climbed 18% from May, the biggest monthly gain since 2004.

Prices also stabilized. The average home price rose 2% from a year earlier to C$807,871 ($615,000), and increased 3.3% from May on a seasonally adjusted basis. The benchmark price, which measures the value of a typical home, was flat on the month.

The jump in sales and prices follow several months of declines, largely brought on by a wave of regulations instituted to calm a market that jumped to record heights and was fueled by speculative buying. Prices have started to stabilize in the past few months after peaking in April 2017.

"Homebuyers are starting to move back into the market, with sales trending up from last year's lows," board President Garry Bhaura said in a statement. "Market conditions appear to be tightening, with sales accounting for a greater share of listings, as new listing have dropped compared to last year."

New listings dropped 19% from a year ago to 15,922. Active listings rose 5.9% to 20,844 from 19,680 last year.

The benchmark, a weighted price that accounts for different home types, fell 4.8% from last year to C$772,100. On a monthly basis, the benchmark price remains flat.

"The expectation is to see improvement in sales over the next year," said Jason Mercer, TREB's director of market analysis and service channels. "Over the same period, however, it is likely that issues surrounding the supply of listings will persist. This suggests that competition between buyers could increase, exerting increased upward pressure on home prices."

The condo apartment segment continued to lead the growth, with the benchmark price jumping 7.5% to C$502,400 on the year, though the pace of growth is slowing. The benchmark price for detached homes fell 9.3% to C$931,600.

Bloomberg News
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