Market Watch – COVID-19 Weighing on The Housing Market
The Canadian real estate market is adjusting to tightened restrictions on doing business as properties continue to swap hands in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much of March’s activity began in the first two weeks of the month before the State of Emergency order was put into place. In fact, we had a head start on the spring market that was heating up earlier than expected, but activity seemed to fall off as physical distancing measures took effect.
We’ll need more time to pass to fully understand the impact that the pandemic is having on the housing market.
Ontario – Strong Increase in Sales For March 2020 As a Whole
Toronto, 5 April 2020 – Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Michael Collins announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,012 home sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in March 2020 – up by 12.3% compared to 7,132 sales reported in March 2019.
However, despite a strong increase in sales for March 2020 as a whole, there was a clear break in market activity between the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 periods. For the purposes of this release, the start of the post-COVID-19 period was the week beginning Sunday, March 15.
• The overall March sales result was clearly driven by the first two weeks of the month. There were 4,643 sales reported in the pre-COVID-19 period, accounting for 58% of total transactions and representing a 49% increase compared to the first 14 days of March 2019.
• There were 3,369 sales reported during the post-COVID-period – down by 15.9% compared to the same period in March 2019.
For March as a whole, new listings were up by three% year-over-year to 14,424. However, similar to sales, new listings dropped on a year-over-year basis during the second half of the month (beginning March 15) by 18.4%.
The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark price was up by 11.1% year-over-year in March 2020. The average selling price for March 2020 as a whole was $902,680 – up 14.5% compared to March 2019. The average selling price for sales reported between March 15 and March 31, was $862,563 – down from the first half of March 2020, but still up by 10.5% compared to the same period last year.