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Hamilton area bucks trend as GTA home sales plummet in May

Posted: June 23, 2017

Toronto sees drop of more than 20 per cent while listings in Hamilton-Burlington jump 41 per cent

NEWS Jun 06, 2017 by Alexandra Posadzki – Hamilton Spectator
“Home buyers definitely benefited from a better supplied market in May, both in comparison to the same time last year and to the first four months of 2017,” said Larry Cerqua, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. – Cole Burston, Bloomberg file photo

TORONTO — Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area plunged 20 per cent last month compared with a year ago, according to the latest data from the country’s largest real estate board.

But the GTA’s slide is in contrast to the continuing hot market in the Hamilton-Burlington area, which boasted 3,208 new listings in May, a whopping 41 per cent increase from the same month last year, and nearly 35 per cent higher than its 10-year average.

Moreover, the average number of days on the market in Hamilton-Burlington dropped from 20 in May 2016 to just 13 last month, and the average sale price jumped nearly 25 per cent from $435,481 to $543,333.

The GTA’s results, however, may be a sign that recent efforts by the Ontario government to cool the searing market are having the desired effect. However, some economists and Realtors say the impact of the measures, which include a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the rapidly growing Greater Golden Horseshoe region, could be short-lived.

“Certainly there are a lot of people sitting back right now wondering what’s happening with the new housing plan and kind of taking a breather just to see how it affects the market,” said Brian Elder, a sales representative with Royal LePage Real Estate Services in Toronto. “It definitely will pick up again. But to the degree it was before? I don’t know. I suspect it won’t get quite that heated.”

The average selling price for all properties in the Toronto region in May was $863,910, up from $752,100 the same month last year, the Toronto Real Estate Board said. But that was down from $919,614 in April, the first month-over-month drop this year.

The move came as listings rose 42.9 per cent from a year ago, when they were at a record low, according to the real estate board.

The number of detached homes sold fell by 26.3 per cent in the GTA year-over year as their average selling price rose 15.6 per cent to $1,141,041.

The data captures the first full month following Ontario’s announcement of 16 measures aimed at reining in house prices, including the tax on foreign buyers, expanded rent controls and legislation that would allow Toronto and other cities to tax vacant homes.