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GTA home market in state of flux thanks to Ontario Fair Housing Plan

Posted on July 6, 2017
Homes in a suburban GTA neighbourhood

Premier Kathleen Wynne wanted change when she put the Ontario Fair Housing Plan into effect, and change has certainly followed—though at this point, with the housing market now in a state of flux, it's not exactly clear how much of a lasting change that will be.

 

What we know for sure is that, for the second straight month since the Ontario Fair Housing Pan became active on April 20, both sales and prices of GTA homes have dropped. From April to May, sales fell by 12 per cent, and then dropped an additional 21.6 per cent from May to June. Though prices are still up overall from last year in the region, they too dropped in a monthly capacity, slipping six per cent from April to May, and 8.1 more in the May-June period.

 

This newfound uncertainy is hardly an unexpected consequence of the Ontario government's cooling actions.

 

"We are in a period of flux that often follows major government policy announcements pointed at the housing market," said Tim Syrianos, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

 

The recent precedent, of course, for these sorts of measures is Vancouver, which instituted its own colling measures last year.

 

"[The GTA] could see a bit of a whipsaw like we did in Vancouver where we experience a pullback now, but a lot of buyers move back into the marketplace over the next year or so," said Jason Mercer, director of market analysis at TREB.

 

There is one thing that has gone up since the Ontario Fair Housing Plan came into effect though: listings. In the May-June sample listings went up by 15.9 per cent, and this past may, they were up 48.9 per cent on a year-by-year basis. As Syrianos notes, the reason for that uptick may be due to a pressure to sell now.

 

"We have existing homeowners who are listing their home because they feel price growth may have peaked. The end result has been a better supplied market and a moderating annual pace of price growth," said Syrianos.

 

If this increased supply holds steady, it could prove key to sustaining some sort of comfortable balance in the housing market for both buyers and sellers, and avoid continuing to feed the bubble that had emerged. Only time will tell if it works out that way.

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