Home prices in Toronto and surrounding suburbs soared by one-third in March, as buyers’ demand continued to outpace new listings on the market, according to a report Wednesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board.
The average price of a home sold in the Greater Toronto Area reached C$916,567 (US$682,910) last month, increasing 33.2% from C$688,011 (US$512,619) a year earlier and setting a new record.
The price surge swept across all property types, with condo apartments, townhouses, single-family homes all reporting similar growth rates.
The soaring prices are largely attributable to shortage of supply, according to the report. However, some, including Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, tend to blame foreign investors for pushing up home prices and urge the government to adopt curbing measures seen in Vancouver, including a 15% foreign buyers’ transfer tax and 1% empty-home tax.
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“It has been encouraging to see that policymakers have not implemented any knee-jerk policies regarding the GTA housing market…. Policymakers must remember that it is the interplay between the demand for and supply of listings that influences price growth,” said Larry Cerqua, president of the Board.
|Snapshot of Toronto Markets|
|March 2017||Y-O-Y change|
|Number of Sales||12,077||17.70%|
In March, the number of new listings grew 15.2% year-over-year to 17,051. Meanwhile, there were 12,077 residential sales recorded, a 17.7% increase from last March. As such, the growth rate of new listings was outnumbered by the rate of sales growth.
“A substantial period of months in which listings growth is greater than sales growth will be required to bring the GTA housing market back into balance,” said Jason Mercer, director of Market Analysis at the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Policymakers are debating how to rein in the hot property market. Toronto Mayor John Tory announced last week that he was contemplating an empty-home tax similar to the one implemented in Vancouver in January. Under Vancouver’s new rule, homeowners will be imposed a 1% tax on their homes’ value if they are unoccupied for more than six months per year.
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