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December home sales down 48% from last year as fall from 2021 record continues: TRREB

The Canadian Pres
December home sales down 48% from last year as fall from 2021 record continues: TRREB

TORONTO — The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) says December home sales amounted to almost half those seen a year ago as the area closed out 2022 with a “marked adjustment” away from 2021’s record levels.

The Ontario board revealed home sales in the final month of 2022 totalled 3,117 sales, down 48.2 per cent compared with December 2021, when the market moved at a torrid pace as COVID-19 scuttled holiday plans.

Last month’s sales figure was a 31 per cent drop from November 2022 and contributed to the market’s 75,140 sales across the entire year – a 38.2 per cent fall compared with the 2021 record of 121,639.

Paul Baron, TRREB’s president, attributed the slump, which began in the spring of 2022, to “aggressive” Bank of Canada interest rate hikes that he said further hampered housing affordability.

The country’s interest rate was repeatedly hiked through 2022 and now sits at 4.25 per cent – the highest it’s been since January 2008.

The hikes, which tend to spur mortgage rate increases, have weighed on buying power and forced many to rethink their housing decisions.

Last month’s new listings totalled 4,074, down 21.3 per cent compared with 5,177 in December 2021.

Potential buyers sat on the sidelines of the market for much of the second half of 2022 awaiting further price declines, while sellers held off listing properties unless they have to move because they wanted the sizzling sums their predecessors nabbed last year.

Last month’s average selling price of $1,051,216 was down by 9.2 per cent compared with the December 2021 average of $1,157,837, TRREB said. The composite benchmark was down 8.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis last month.

Yet the year still ended with an average selling price of $1,189,850, up 8.6 per cent compared with $1,095,333 in 2021.

TRREB said this growth was based on a strong start to the year, which eventually gave way to moderation in the spring and onward.

But Baron is already seeing signs of another shift.

“Home prices started levelling off in the late summer, suggesting the aggressive early market adjustment may be coming to an end,” he said, in a release.

TRREB’s figures come a day after Vancouver reported December in the British Columbian region brought a similar slashing of home sales and prices.

The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board said December’s sales totalled 1,295, about 20 per cent lower than they were in November and 38 per cent below the 10-year December sales average.

The figures contribute to the 28,903 sales made over 2022, 34 per cent lower than 2021’s total and seven per cent below 2020’s.

The market’s composite benchmark price now sits at $1,114,300, a three per cent decrease from December 2021 and a 1.5 per cent decrease, when compared with November 2022.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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