Real Insight: Behind the Numbers
A deeper look into the GTA housing market
as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) for 2018/2019, I’m excited to use this column to help break down the numbers behind the GTA real estate market.
We saw continued positive signs in the market in July 2018, with strong growth in both the number of home sales and the average selling price compared to July 2017.
At 6,961, July sales were up by more than 18 per cent compared to the same month last year. The average price for these sales was $782,129, up by almost 5 per cent compared to July 2017.
These are certainly encouraging figures for the health of the real estate market, which is a key economic engine, and point to initial signs that some people who had moved to the sidelines due to the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, as well as changes to mortgage lending guidelines, have begun to re-enter the market.
Prioritizing Housing Policy Issues
Starting with the recent provincial election and looking forward to the upcoming municipal elections this fall, the TREB has been busy working with elected officials and candidates to ensure that homeownership and housing affordability are a priority on the agendas of policymakers at all levels.
In order to truly make strides in terms of housing affordability, governments must prioritize increasing housing supply, especially the missing middle housing options (home types that bridge the gap between detached houses and condominium apartments), and reducing tax burdens, such as land transfer taxes.
On the latter point, we have clear evidence that residents agree. In a recent poll of 1,200 GTA residents conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in May 2018, 77 per cent of respondents said they supported reducing the provincial land transfer tax, while 68 per cent supported repealing it. Similarly, 76 per cent supported reducing the Toronto municipal land transfer tax, while 69 per cent supported repealing it. Most residents are opposed to land transfer taxes because they are a barrier to homeownership and discourage individuals and families from right-sizing, further constraining the supply of homes available for purchase.
We look forward to working with all elected officials to help provide effective solutions to housing affordability issues such as these and will continue to speak out for homebuyers, sellers and renters.
I also look forward to keeping you informed and updated on activity impacting the GTA’s housing market in the coming months.
GARRY BHAURA is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the greater toronto area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. if commercial property is what interests you, contact a treB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.