As many of you know, summer is traditionally a quiet time in the real estate market but after the provincial government introduced measures in the spring to cool down a market many believed was overheating, this past summer was less active than last.
Numerous news reports suggest the downturn may be ‘short lived.’
In April, the Ontario government introduced more than a dozen measures under the Fair Housing Plan to improve home affordability, including a 15% tax on foreign buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. After a period of adjustment, the average price of Toronto homes dropped in July from its peak.
At the same time, we’re continuing to see strong growth in new listings compared to last year. The influx of new listings, combined with the government initiative, means buyers have greater choice. That’s particularly welcome news for first-time buyers, many of whom were squeezed out of the marketplace by low inventory over the last year.
In Durham Region, the number of new listings in May increased to 3,271, up from 2,433 new listings the previous month and significantly higher than the 1,790 new listings in May 2016, Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) tells us. June saw the number of new listings in Durham drop to 2,639 but buyers had significantly greater choice than the previous year, when there were 1,755 new listings.
In July, 749 residential transactions took place – a 25% drop from the previous month, DRAR reports. The number of homes for sale dipped to 1,906 but, again, homebuyers benefitted from more choice than the previous year, when 1,459 homes were listed.
We also continue to see values that are higher than the previous year here in Durham. The average selling price in Durham reached $569,748 in July, a 7% decrease from the $615,064 average selling price in June but a 4% increase over the average of $547,496 during the same period in 2016.
In short: “The last few months are a clear indication that we have returned to a balanced market,” DRAR President Roger Bouma assures. He also predicts an uptick in activity after Labour Day and assures prospective buyers that Durham Region still offers some of the best real estate value in the Greater Toronto Area.
‘UPTICK IN ACTIVITY’
Unlike the frenzied seller’s market that led to the Fair Housing Plan, today’s more balanced market offers something for both buyers and sellers. Buyers can look at homes and make an offer to purchase without the pressure of multiple offers, which allows them time to make a decision and to include conditions in their offer. Not too long ago – in March and April – conditional offers were often rejected.
If a buyer loses out on a property, they can rest assured knowing another property will be available. Sellers, meanwhile, continue to appreciate an increase in their home equity over the last year. Like Toronto, Vancouver also experienced a real estate slowdown following the implementation of a tax on foreign buyers a year ago. There have been signs this year that the city’s housing market is heating up again, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) – our federal housing agency – reminds.
While none of us has a crystal ball and can accurately predict what’s on the horizon, the shift to a more balanced market is better for both buyers and sellers (most of whom are also buyers). Whether you’re interested in buying or selling, please know I am committed to looking out for your best interests and will be there for you every step, taking care of detail.