GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note
Sales of new homes in the GTA in January showed a moderate increase from last year, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports.
A total of 1,362 new homes were sold in January 2019, up 14 per cent from those sold in January of last year, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call this a strong start to the year,” David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO, told HOMES Publishing. “Yes, January is historically a slow month for new home sales, and we are encouraged by the modest improvement from January 2019 over 2018. However, low new home sales numbers continue to indicate that more needs to be done to make homeownership easier for new homebuyers.”
January’s sales of new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses),with 420 single-family homes sold, were still low from a historical perspective, down 53 per cent from the 10-year average. Sales of new condominiums, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units,were only five per cent lower than the 10-year average, with 942 units sold.
“This year is starting off on a positive note,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The improvement in new home sales over last January is consistent with our outlook for somewhat higher annual sales in the GTA this year, following the drop in 2018.”
Benchmark prices of new homes continued recent trends, with the benchmark price of single-family homes moderating slightly to $1.13 million in January from December 2018, down 8.1 per cent over the last 12 months. The condo benchmark price increased from last month to $803,638, up 12.5 per cent over the last 12 months.
With little new product coming into the housing market in January, remaining inventory decreased slightly from last month, to 15,530 units comprised of 10,364 condo units and 5,166 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.
Government needs to act
“It looks like the market is starting to return to typical levels after a particularly difficult year,” adds Wilkes. “With the spring budget coming up, we are calling on the federal government to take steps to make it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the housing market.”
Wilkes says the federal government should look at reintroducing the 30-year amortization periods for first-time buyers and adjusting the stress test, now that interest rates have risen.
“We must also continue to look at ways to increase supply,” he told HOMES. “We continue to call on municipal and provincial governments to remove barriers to bringing new housing and employment lands to market to meet the demand for much needed places to live and work across the GTA.”
January new home sales by municipality
Source: Altus Group