Toronto Overtakes Vancouver as Most Costly Actual Property Market

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The Greater Toronto Area has just become the most expensive real estate market in the country.

While not a particularly envious title to hold, Toronto has unseated Vancouver, which for decades had been Canada’s priciest place to buy a home.

The benchmark MLS Home Price Index for Toronto reached $1.26 million in January—a 4.3%, or $52,000, jump from December—overtaking Greater Vancouver’s benchmark price of $1.255 million.

“It’s a stunning development though not entirely surprising considering how hot the Toronto-area market has become, especially since the fall,” noted RBC economist Robert Hogue. “Competition between buyers is as fierce as ever. Intense bidding wars have pushed prices to new heights both in level ($1.260 million for the composite MLS HPI benchmark) and rate of increase (33.3%).”

Hogue added that he doesn’t see any material change in this trend in the near-term, until forthcoming interest rate hikes “gradually cool things down” by later this year.

“The housing crisis in Toronto hit a new level in January,” analyst Ben Rabidoux wrote in his monthly Edge Realty Analytics report.

“We’ve now surpassed 2017 peak price acceleration levels,” he added. “Back then, these prices forced regulators and policy-makers to tighten mortgage underwriting and implement a foreign buyer tax. The difference then was that it was almost entirely a Toronto story.”

Now, home prices across the province are seeing gains of between 25% and 50%, he noted.

Here’s a look at the January statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:

Greater Toronto Area

Sales: 5,636

  • -18.2% (YoY)
  • -6.5% month-over-month (MoM)

MLS Home Price Index: $1,259,900

New Listings: 4,140

“Immigration into Canada and the GTA is expected to be at or near record levels in 2022. All of these
people will require a place to live,” said TRREB President Kevin Crigger. “On top of this, job creation in average to above-average income sectors is expected to remain strong, further buoying consumer confidence to make a large-ticket purchase of a home. Unfortunately, the supply of listings will remain constrained, sustaining strong competition between buyers and double-digit growth in selling prices.”

Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)

Greater Vancouver Area

December Sales: 2,285

MLS Home Price Index for all property types: $1,255,200

New Listings: 4,170

“Our listing inventory on MLS is less than half of what would be optimal to begin the year,” said REBGV economist Keith Stewart. “As a result, hopeful home buyers have limited choice in the market today. This trend is causing fierce competition for a scarce number of homes for sale, which, in turn, increases prices.”

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)

Montreal Census Metropolitan Area

Home Sales: 2,836

Median Price (single-family detached): $525,000

Average Price (condo): $381,000

New Listings: 4,899

“The combination of the return of tighter health restrictions due to the Omicron wave, the expected upward movement in interest rates which are already seen in 5-year fixed mortgage rates, and the arrival of new opportunities at the start of the year has once again made the acquisition of a new property a priority for experienced buyers and investors,” said Charles Brant, QPAREB Director of Market Analysis.

Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)

Calgary

December Sales: 2,009

Benchmark Price (all housing types): $472,300

New Listings: 2,476

“Expected gains in lending rates are contributing to persistently strong demand in the housing market, as purchasers are eager to get ahead of any increases,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. 

“We did see more listings this month, but it did little to change the market balance or take any pressure off prices. This was expected, as these conditions should persist for several more months.”

Source: Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)

Ottawa

December Sales: 936

Average Price (single-family detached): $771,739

New Listings: 600

“Average prices continue to rise steadily with the lack of inventory pushing prices to levels previously unseen. We only need to observe the number of homes now selling over $1M for a clear demonstration,” said OREB President Penny Torontow. “In 2020, they represented 3% of residential sales, in 2021, they held 9% of the market’s resales, and now in 2022, that number reflects close to 14% of detached home sales.”

Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)

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