Greater Toronto home sales up 1.9 per cent from a year ago as supply falls

TORONTO — The Toronto Real Estate Board says the housing market is becoming "tighter" as the number of new listings across the Greater Toronto Area dropped in September, while home sale prices climbed compared with a year ago.

"As the GTA population continues to grow, the real challenge in the housing market will be supply rather than demand," said TREB president Garry Bhaura in a statement Wednesday.

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The board says home sales last month in its region climbed 1.9 per cent compared with a year ago, with the average selling price up 2.9 per cent to $796,786 from $774,489 a year earlier.

Sales through its multiple-listings system totalled 6,455, up from 6,334 in the same month last year.

The MLS HPI composite benchmark price jumped by two per cent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, new listings totalled 15,920, down 3.1 per cent compared with 16,433 in September 2017.

Bhaura said although it was "healthy" to see sales and prices up from last year's lows, market conditions have unfolded differently across various communities.

"With sales up year-over-year and new listings down, market conditions became tighter. Many buyers may have found it more difficult to find a home meeting their needs," said the board, which represents more than 50,000 realtors across the region.

TREB said price growth has also become stronger for higher-density properties such as condos, townhouses and semi-detached houses because they have become more affordable options for homebuyers.

BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri said in a note to investors that the GTA market remains soft but "continues to stabilize" after plunging earlier this year following the introduction of tighter mortgage rules as well as a foreign buyers tax and speculation fees on vacant homes.

"The market should remain on a steady footing in coming months as healthy demographic demand tempers the downward pull from rising interest rates," Guatieri wrote.

Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version credited the wrong economist in the quote

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