It’s been a mixed up year for housing prices in Toronto

Real estate board report shows sales varied widely by time, place and type of home

Home sales and prices in the Toronto area were up, down or flat in 2017 — depending on what kind of home and what time of year you’re talking about. And on what neighbourhood you’re looking in.

That seems the only kind of general conclusion to be drawn from the latest figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

On Jan. 4, TREB reported 92,394 sales in the Greater Toronto Area for 2017, down 18.3 per cent compared from 2016, which had been a record year.

At the same time the averages selling price for the past year was reported as $822,681, up 12.7 per cent over the previous year.

Nor were the trends consistent through the year, with record sales in the first quarter followed by declines for two quarters and the pace picking up in the fourth quarter.

“Much of the sales volatility in 2017 was brought about by government policy decisions,” TREB president Tim Syrianos said in the board’s press release, citing the impact of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan and the prospect of the federal banking regulator’s new “stress test” for mortgages which took effect Jan. 1, 2018.

But not all kinds of homes were affected equally.

“It is interesting to note that home price growth in the second half of 2017 differed substantially depending on market segment,” said TREB director of market analysis Jason Mercer in the press release. “The detached market segment — the most expensive on average — experienced the slowest pace of growth as many buyers looked to less expensive options.  Conversely, the condominium apartment segment experienced double-digit growth, as condos accounted for a growing share of transactions.”

In the city of Toronto, prices of detached homes and townhouses were down slightly — 2.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively — in December over the previous year. Meanwhile prices of semi-detached houses and condominium apartments rose substantially: 11.5 per cent and 14.1 per cent respectively.

The picture becomes even murkier when local communities within Toronto are taken into account.

Prices averaging up to $4.2 million

Among areas showing the biggest gains in housing values, according to the TREB Market Watch report, were central downtown areas, Leaside, and parts of North Toronto.

The downtown area south of Bloor Street and west of Yonge street posted an average selling price of $1.4 million for detached homes in December, raising TREB’s housing price index for the area by 19.9 per cent in 2017.

The area that includes Leaside posted an average selling price of $1.8 million for detached homes in December, raising TREB’s housing price index for the area by 15.4 per cent for the year.

The area that includes the prestigious neighbourhoods of York Mills, Hoggs Hollow and Bridal Path saw the highest selling prices, as expected, with detached homes going for an average of $4.2 million in December and the price index rising nearly 6 per cent for 2017.

These contrast with the area that includes most of East York, north of Danforth Avenue, which saw detached house sales averaging about $1 million in December, raising the price index just 2.5 per cent.

They contrast even further with some suburban areas, found in North York and Scarborough, that experienced declines in the price index, down as much as 5.2 per cent.

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Posted: Jan 12 2018 10:03 am
Edition: Toronto