Sellers aren’t panicking in Toronto’s weakened housing market

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In the face of a correction in Toronto’s housing market, sellers aren’t panicking.

Even with transactions at their lowest level since the 2009 recession, sellers in Canada’s largest city have avoided listing their homes en masse in what could be a sign of confidence the market will come back. According to data released Tuesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association, new listings in Toronto fell 8.6 per cent in April from a month earlier and are down nearly 30 per cent from a year ago.

According to data by the Canadian Real Estate Association, new listings in Toronto fell 8.6 per cent in April from a month earlier and are down nearly 30 per cent from a year ago.
According to data by the Canadian Real Estate Association, new listings in Toronto fell 8.6 per cent in April from a month earlier and are down nearly 30 per cent from a year ago.  (GRAEME ROY / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

The drop has left the sales-to-listings ratio — a key gauge of a real estate market’s health — relatively stable in the face of a sharp drop in sales, which may explain why prices in Toronto continue to hold steady. Prices are up 3.1 per cent since the beginning of 2018, even as transactions plunged.

“The market is actually surprisingly relatively balanced,” said John Pasalis, president of Toronto-based brokerage firm Realosophy Realty Inc. “When you’re comparing yourself to a bubble, sales can fall 40 per cent and inventory can rise and your market is still balanced.”

It’s still been a rough year for Toronto’s realtors, after federal regulators tightened mortgage qualification rules on Jan. 1 to quell a surge in prices early last year. The market is also facing a new foreign buyers tax and other measures to curb demand.

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