As Tembo outlined in our previous blog post, several trends were beginning to emerge in the GTA real estate market which benefits buyers. The first was that prices were beginning to plateau, with increases not nearly as large as the preceding few months. Secondly, listings of new properties were rapidly increasing, quickly improving the historically low stock of housing. And third, sales were beginning to slow down, and in some cases, decline.
With early June data now available, many of these trends are continuing. In Oakville, for example, prices have dropped by 9% in the month of May with sales also dropping a whopping 43%. In the GTA, listings continue to increase even as sales are declining and prices are leveling out, also new data shows that housing stock is returning to historical averages after years of extremely tight supply.
The sales to new listings ratio, a measurement of the new number of overall sales compared to the number of new listings have also dropped below 40% for the first time in many years. This shows that supply is increasing and demand is falling. A 40% sales to listings ratio means that for every 100 new houses listed, 40 have sold. 40% is considered balanced and usually implies that prices will increase, but modestly in the single digits. With a drop below 40% appearing to now be the case, the market appears to have begun to shift steadily from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.
These trends are likely to continue. Supply will continue to increase and will most likely exceed historical trends soon. The huge demand for housing has incentivized builders and governments to stimulate housing construction. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently released data showing single family detached home completions in the city of Toronto increasing by almost 5,000 units. Many new condos and townhouses are also nearing completion or under construction. Supply will continue to increase.
The key question is what will happen to sales and demand. If sales trends continue, demand will begin to fall. The result of increased supply and cooling demand will be downward pressure on prices. In the end, the market could end up providing two factors buyers love; plenty of supply and lower prices.