GTA resale sales see drastic drop in March due to COVID-19
March 2020 resale home sales in the GTA were very much a tale of two markets – pre and post COVID-19.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reports that 8,012 home sales through TRREB’s MLS System in March 2020 – up 12.3 per cent compared to 7,132 sales reported in March 2019.
However, despite a strong increase in sales for March 2020 as a whole, there was a clear break in market activity between pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 (after March 15).
“The overall sales result for March was strong relative to last year, but the impact of COVID-19 was certainly evident in the number of sales reported in the second half of March,” says TRREB President Michael Collins. “Uncertainty surrounding the outbreak’s impact on the broader economy and the onset of the necessary social distancing measures resulted in the decline in sales since March 15. Sales figures for April will give us a better sense as to the trajectory of the market while all levels of government take the required action to contain the spread of COVID-19.”
“While COVID-19 has clearly had an impact on the housing market, the late March numbers still suggest that there is activity in the marketplace,” adds TRREB CEO John DiMichele. “TRREB continues to strongly recommend stopping in-person open houses and has provided its members with guidelines for social distancing. TRREB’s professional development staff are working hard to educate its members via webinars on using technology in innovative ways to conduct business virtually.”
“Despite sales and listings trending lower in the second half of March, demand for ownership housing remained strong enough relative to listings to see the average selling price remain above last year’s levels, including during the last few days of the month,” says Jason Mercer, TRREB’s chief market analyst. “As we move through April, we will have a clearer view on how social distancing measures and broader economic conditions will influence sales and ultimately the pace of price growth.”
The average selling price for March 2020 as a whole was $902,680 – up 14.5 per cent compared to March 2019. The average selling price for sales between March 15 and 31 was $862,563 – down from the first half of March, but still up 10.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.
TRREB is to release a forecast update in mid-April, after seeing 2020 started with a near-record pace for home sales in the first quarter and double-digit annual rates of price growth.