No matter what is said in the history books about 2016, it proved overall to be a great year for real estate in Canada.
Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market than ever before. As prices rose in the first half of the year, public debate waged about what was fuelling demand and what should be done to stop it. This led to multiple government interventions into the market. The long-term effects of these actions won’t be fully understood for some time.
Ontario – Record Sales in 2016
Toronto, January 5, 2017 – Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Larry Cerqua announced that 2016 was a second consecutive record year for home sales. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 113,133 home sales through TREB's MLS® System – up by 11.8% compared to 2015. The calendar year 2016 result included 5,338 sales in December – an annual increase of 8.6%.
The strongest annual rate of sales growth in 2016 was experienced for condominium apartments followed by detached homes.
"A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region's population continued to grow in 2016," said Mr. Cerqua.
The annual rate of growth for the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System Home Price Index (HPI) in the TREB market area accelerated throughout 2016 – from 10.7% in January 2016 to 21% in December 2016. The overall average selling price for calendar year 2016 was $729,922 – up 17.3% compared to 2015. The pace of the annual rate of growth for the average selling price also picked up throughout the year, including a climb of 20% in December.
"Price growth accelerated throughout 2016 as the supply of listings remained very constrained. Active listings at the end of December were at their lowest point in a decade-and-a-half. Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost 4.0%. In 2016, we saw policy changes and policy debates pointed at the demand side of the market. If we want to see a sustained moderation in the pace of price growth, what we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.