The real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) remained in a sluggish state throughout November, experiencing monthly sales figures reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis. Back in 2008, only 3,640 properties were sold in November within the Toronto real estate board. Fast forward to this year, and we observe 4,236 homes changing hands in November, marking a 16% increase from the sales volume in 2008.
While this might seem like an improvement, it’s essential to consider the demographic shift. In 2008, the population stood at 5.309 million, and today it has risen by 20% to 6.372 million. When factoring in this population growth, the per capita sales figure is technically worse than one of the lowest months during the 2008 recession.
Looking ahead, the prospect appears gloomy. Historically, December and January witness the lowest sales, and it’s highly likely that the real estate market will reach lows comparable to 2008 in the coming months, completing its cyclical bottom in sales volume.
Although price recovery may take a few years, the positive aspect is that volume usually begins to rebound after hitting the bottom. This suggests that the real estate industry might anticipate a much-needed growth in earnings. Assessing the entire year of real estate sales, it is conceivable that we will conclude 2023 with sales figures as low as those in 2001. Considering population growth since then, there is a substantial possibility of witnessing a record-low number of homes sold per capita.
On the supply side, while the market has experienced oversupply in recent times, both new listings and active listings have started their typical seasonal downtrend. Although this hasn’t been adequate to shift the market balance back towards a sellers’ market, it does maintain a buyer-friendly market as we enter the slowest months of the year. The real test for market dynamics will likely come in the spring, as new listings and active inventory reach their lowest levels in December and January.
Unsurprisingly, the sustained negative state of the market has exerted downward pressure on house prices in the GTA. All metrics for house prices witnessed a decline in November, and the market now sits approximately 20% below its peak values in 2022.
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