Housing in Toronto is set to get more affordable in the coming months

Multiple forecasts for the Toronto area housing market are now calling for greater affordability as the city moves into 2024, a relief for prospective buyers, sellers and realtors alike.

The latest report from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) says that November marked a continuation of the trends that have worried experts over the course of 2023: a stiff decline in sales numbers compared to the same time last year, even though there were substantially more listings available.

Of course, this has been due to high borrowing costs and “uncertain economic conditions,” the group says, which somehow haven’t caused prices to budge much, if at all, for most housing types and areas.

But, even if prices themselves won’t become more affordable, the interest rate situation will, making the cost of buying more realistic for many who’ve been sidelined by this year’s rate hikes.

“It does appear relief is on the horizon. Bond yields, which underpin fixed rate mortgages ,have been trending lower and an increasing number of forecasters are anticipating Bank of Canada rate cuts in the first half of 2024,” TRREB wrote in its latest Market Watch report.

“Lower rates will help alleviate affordability issues for existing homeowners and those looking to enter the market.”

Crunching the numbers for November, the board found that there were six per cent fewer homes changing hands across the GTA than the same time last year, but 1.7 per cent more than October on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The average selling price in the region was essentially the same year-over-year, edging up slightly, 0.3, per cent to hit $1,082,179. Month-over-month, meanwhile, this figure fell about 2.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

toronto real estate

How last month’s housing stats measure up to the same time last year. Graphs from TRREB.

There were a whopping 16.5 per cent more new listings this November than last, and an even more drastic 40.7 per cent more active listings, but the sales-to-new-listings ratio plummeted 10 per cent in the same time frame, from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.

And, concerningly, the number of the days that most homes sat on the market for was up 18.2 per cent year-over-year, from 33 in November 2022 to 39 last year (13.6 per cent if seasonally adjusted).

“We know the demand for homes, both rental and ownership, will grow for years to come. We have seen some productive policy decisions recently that should help with housing affordability,” TRREB executives add.

They do note that even though affordability will increase, prices will eventually rise again as the population grows and less intimidating rates bring more people to the market.

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