Toronto and Vancouverís stealthy housing boom
April 11 2023
The two biggest housing markets in Canada are in midst of a stealthy housing boom that is running below the radar of media and even real estate boards.
In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), housing sales are up a stunning 122 per cent through the first quarter of this year and the average home price soared by more than $43,000 in a single month from February to March.
In March 2023, 6,819 homes sold in the GTA compared to 3,100 in January 2023.
Greater Vancouver’ housing sales doubled over the last two weeks of March and the total of 2,535 sales was up 38 per cent from a month earlier and a startling 146 per cent higher from the 1,030 transactions in January 2023.
The composite benchmark home price increased 3% from the end of January—blowing past official Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver forecasts of a 1 per cent to 2 per cent price increase for all of 2023.
Yet the major media housing headlines in both markets was that sales had plunged because they were below the pace in March of 2022; down 36 per cent in Greater Toronto and 42 per cent lower in Greater Vancouver.
But, as Vancouver real estate broker Kevin Skipworth of Dexter Realty Associates notes, it is misleading, even useless, to compare the first quarter of 2023 with the same period last year.
“Comparing the current market with 2022 is meaningless,” Skipworth said. “The first quarter of 2022 was still in a once-in-a-century pandemic and the Bank of Canada had just started eight straight mortgage rate increases that spooked buyers and sellers alike.”
Pointing to easing mortgage rates as of March 30, the lowest rates in Canada were for five-year fixed-rate mortgages at 4.29 per cent for insured mortgages and 4.59 per cent for uninsured home loans, according to a survey by Rate.com. and multiple offers, Skipworth said the first quarter set the tone for a strong buying season.
“Buyers who have come back into the market already know the score,” he said. “They are seeing multiple offers on prime properties and benchmark prices that have been rising an average of $15,000 a month so far this year.”