Canada housing market: GTA home sales fall in July but prices remain high

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A woman walks towards a
A woman walks towards a "for sale" sign of a home that has been sold in Toronto, Canada (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Fewer homes traded hands in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in July. But demand remains strong and prices remain out of reach for many first-time buyers.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) says 9,390 homes were sold during the month, down 14.9 per cent compared to July 2020. Sales were down 2 per cent compared to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Compared to the March peak, sales fell 40 per cent and price growth has slowed. But prices, as measured by the MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark, were up 18.1 per cent compared to July 2020 and flat compared to the previous month.

The biggest year-over-year gains were in Brock (39 per cent), Georgina (37 per cent), and East Gwillimbury (37 per cent).

"The annual rate of price growth has moderated since the early spring, but has remained in the double digits. This means that many households are still competing very hard to reach a deal on a home," said TRREB chief market analyst Jason Mercer.

"This strong upward pressure on home prices will be sustained in the absence of more supply, especially as we see a resurgence in population growth moving into 2022."

Also See: The latest real estate news for housing prices, mortgage rates, markets, luxury properties and more at Yahoo Finance Canada.

What it will take for home prices to fall

Low mortgage rates, along with limited supply for sale, have helped push prices higher. New listings were down 30 per cent.

TRREB expects the tight market means prices won't come down until supply is added.

"There is a huge backlog of people seeking citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada. A large share of these newcomers will ultimately choose to call the GTA home. This means ownership and rental market conditions will remain tight with upward pressure on prices for the foreseeable future," said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

"Policymakers at all levels must pursue a coordinated effort to bring on a greater diversity of supply in major metropolitan areas."

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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