Toronto-area home prices, sales rise for a fifth-consecutive month

Toronto region home prices rose a fifth consecutive month in May — up 3.1 per cent on average year over year to $838,540 including all types of housing. The number of sales also grew substantially — showing a 19 per cent year over year increase.

But the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) warned that the 9,989 transactions last month remain below the decade-average and follow last May’s 15-year low.

A lack of listings — the number was up only 0.8 per cent compared to last May — could tip the market in favour of sellers and could push prices higher, said the board.

“If we continue to see growth in sales outstrip growth in new listings, price growth will accelerate,” TREB said in a release on Wednesday.

“Many households are not comfortable listing their homes for sale because they feel that there are no housing options available to better meet their needs,” said Jason Mercer, the board’s chief market analyst.

Condos continued to see the largest year over year price gains, up 5 per cent to a regionwide average of $590,876. Detached house prices grew by 0.3 per cent on average. Prices remained higher in the city of Toronto where the average condo sold for $642,891 and the average detached house was $1.39 million.

The market recovery appears to have taken hold in the 905-area communities outside Toronto. Only York and Durham regions showed some slight price declines in some housing categories. Peel Region saw the largest year over year price growth — up 5.6 per cent across all categories with condos there increasing 11 per cent and detached homes up 4 per cent year over year in May. That compares to an overall 4.71 per cent price gain in the city of Toronto and a 1.09 per cent decline in York Region.

The seasonally adjusted 2.8 per cent price gain in May was the largest month over month increase since June 2018.

Rents have also continued to climb, according to TREB. This year to date one-bedroom condo rents rose 7.2 per cent to $2,161 a month on average compared to January through May last year. Two-bedroom units rented for 4.5 per cent more — $2,837 on average — compared to the same period in 2018.

The real estate board continued to push housing as a priority issue in the upcoming federal election — encouraging all parties to provide positions on affordability, mortgage rules and amortization periods.

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski