GTA turns as condo starts highest in 13 years
August 15, 2018
Greater Toronto’s brief housing slump appears to be ending as resales surged 6 per cent in July while condominium starts hit a 13-year high.
The downturn was triggered earlier this year as a number of government policies, from the federal mortgage stress test to a provincial foreign-home buyer tax kicked in across the Toronto region.
By March, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home sales had plunged 44 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
“Historically, the impact of policy changes is swift but short-lived, and it seems that the housing market is once again finding its footing. We expect that resale activity hit its trough in Q2 and will begin to gradually recover thereafter,” TD economist Ksenia Bushmeneva noted in predicting a turnaround in the second half of this year.
National resale activity in the first half of 2018 fell 14 per cent from 2017, while Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area saw drops of 25.5 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. Sales activity in the GTA picked up in June and July.
Metro Vancouver remains down 30 per cent from last year.
The GTA is also seeing an increase in construction of new multi-family units, primarily condominium apartments, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
In July, Toronto regional condominium apartment starts were the highest for the month since 2005. The majority of condominium starts were in the City of Toronto (60 per cent), with the remainder taking place in Mississauga (19 per cent), Vaughan (11 per cent), and Oakville (10 per cent), CMHC reported.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted pace of housing starts hit 219,988 units in July.
“The July trend remains well-above historical averages, reflecting elevated levels of multi-unit starts in most major markets that has more-than-offset declining single starts,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist.