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Toronto and Vancouver housing markets picked up in May despite COVID-19

Jessy Bains
·2 mins read

Toronto’s real estate market picked up steam in May, although it’s still far slower than before COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) says 4,606 properties changed hands in the Greater Toronto Area last month, which was 53.7 per cent lower compared to May 2019.

But compared to last month, when sales fell 67.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis, sales are up 55.2 per cent.

The city of Toronto or the ‘416’ area accounted for 1,491 sales — while 3,115 sales came from the rest of the GTA or the ‘905’ area.

“Providing we continue to see a gradual re-opening of the economy, it is very possible that home sales will continue to improve in the coming months,” said Michael Collins, TRREB’s President, in a release.

Far fewer homeowners have been willing to list during the pandemic. Despite the big declines in sales, low inventory levels have kept prices stable.

TRREB says the average selling price of all types of homes combined was up three per cent compared to May 2019 to $863,599.

“If current market conditions are sustained during the gradual re-opening of the GTA economy, a moderate pace of year-over-year price growth could continue as we move through the spring and summer months,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst, in a release.

Similar story in Vancouver

Sales are also down compared to last year in Vancouver. In May, 1,485 homes were sold. That’s a 43.7 per cent decrease compared to May 2019.

But like Toronto, sales rose compared to the previous month. Vancouver home sales were up 33.9 per cent month-over-month.

“Home buyers and sellers are adapting today, becoming more comfortable operating with the physical distancing requirements that are in place in the market,” said Colette Gerber, REBGV chair, in a release.

The average price of a home in Metro Vancouver is $1,028,400 — up 2.9 per cent compared to May 2019.

Gerber took something of a shot at forecasters calling for steep home price declines.

“While we’re seeing a variety of long-term projections for the market, it’s critical to understand the facts and trends as they emerge,” she said.

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

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