Now that most of the province has entered into Stage 2 of the government’s gradual reopening of the economy, things are starting to return to ‘normal’, including activity in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market, which is now showing a steady recovery after sales plummeted in April as a result of COVID-19 emergency orders.
The data revealed that after reaching a low point in April, sales and new listings in all five GTA regions – including the City of Toronto, York, Halton, Peel, and Durham regions – recorded a steady recovery in May and June, with sales even exceeding 2019 levels in some parts of the area.
To get a better understanding of how market activity and housing competition conditions for detached homes evolved during Ontario’s state of emergency, Zoocasa tracked sales and new listing data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board on a biweekly basis and compared the figures to 2019 activity for the same timeframe.
The data revealed that in each GTA region the gap between 2020 and 2019 sales was widest between early April and early May, with sales dropping by as much as 75%.
In each region, the extensive sales gap started to close by the latter half of May as parts of the province began to reopen, and by mid-June, sales even outpaced 2019 levels for the same period in some GTA markets like Halton (22% y-o-y increase) and Durham Region (8% y-o-y increase).
The data revealed that new listings have also begun to recover to at least 75% of last year’s levels in each GTA region this month, following steep declines in listings between early April and early May.
Zoocasa also calculated the sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) – which is calculated by dividing the number of sales in a period by the number of new listings – in each market to get a sense of whether competition for detached houses was balanced or to identify regions where competition conditions favoured buyers or sellers.
Here in Toronto, the competition for detached properties remained balanced in June, as sales recovered to 87% of 2019 levels during the period of June 8-21 alone – which suggests that more home buyers are regaining confidence and returning to the market.
What’s more, Zoocasa says more sellers also began to list their homes during this time, with 862 new listings added during the period, which was 3% more than the number of detached homes listed between March 2-15 – the last two full weeks before the province declared a state of emergency.
The volume of new listings between June 8-21 reached 81% of 2019 levels; a striking contrast to the weeks between early April and early May when new listings were only at 30% of last year’s volume.
Since sales and new listings in Toronto rose at a very similar pace, the detached properties market was balanced in June with an SNLR of 47% for the period, compared to 45% for the same period last year. According to Zoocasa, a balanced market occurs when the SNLR is between 40-60% and indicates that there was enough available supply to meet buyer demand.
“Based on the recent traction we are seeing in the market, although demand is not quite at pre-emergency levels, it certainly feels as though we are heading back in that direction,” said Emma Pace, a Zoocasa agent in the City of Toronto.