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July home sales plummet in York Region
August 4, 2017
By Adam Martin-Robbins

York Region’s once red-hot real estate market has experienced a considerable cool down so far this summer, according to the latest Toronto Real Estate Board report.

Home sales in York Region and across the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), on a year-over-year basis, plummeted in July. And while prices remain higher than at this time last year, they’ve been on a downward slide the last few months.

There were 5,921 home sales across the GTA in July. That’s down 40.4 per cent from 9,929 in the same month last year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

As for housing prices in the GTA, the average selling price for in July reached $746, 218 for all home types, up five per cent from $710, 471 in July 2016. But that represents a drop of 4.6 per cent compared to June 2017.

This continues a trend that began after the provincial government introduced a number of measures, including a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax, under its so-called Fair Housing Plan to try and rein in runaway home prices.

Since April, when the measures were put in place, the average home price in York Region has dropped by 21 per cent to $951,557 and the number of home sales plummeted by 61 per cent to just 804, according to TREB.

“A recent release from the Ontario government confirmed TREB’s own research which found that foreign buyers represented a small proportion of overall home buying activity in the GTA. Clearly, the year-over-year decline we experienced in July had more to do with psychology, with would-be home buyers on the sidelines waiting to see how market conditions evolve,” Toronto Real Estate Board president Tim Syrianos said in a news release.

But a true measure of the impact of the government’s plan will likely have to wait until summer is over.

“Summer market statistics are often not the best indicators of housing market conditions. We generally see an uptick in sales following Labour Day, as a greater cross-section of would-be buyers and sellers start to consider listing and/or purchasing a home. As we move through the fall, we should start to get a better sense of the impacts of the Fair Housing Plan and higher borrowing costs,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.

Zoocasa CEO Lauren Haw said there are a couple of factors at play right now.

"What we’re seeing in the Toronto real-estate market right now is the result of two factors. We have to take into account that we’re in the height of summer, when we do traditionally see a slowdown, as well as the fact that sellers are still waiting to see what happens following the regulatory measures imposed by the government in the spring. Buyers are waiting to see what happens in the early fall, when the real estate market traditionally sees an upswing,” she said in a news release.

“Another consideration is the high-amount of inventory we have available - buyers are becoming pickier about the quality of units that they want. Good homes are selling quickly, sometimes still in multiples. The less-than-ideal properties are sitting on the market at unrealistic prices. This demonstrates a perfectly balanced market."