TORONTO, ONTARIO, March 5, 2019 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Gurcharan (Garry)
Bhaura announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,025 homes sold through
TREB’s MLS® System in February 2019. This sales total was down by 2.4 per cent on a year-overyear
basis. Sales were also down compared to January 2019 following preliminary seasonal
“The OSFI mandated mortgage stress test has left some buyers on the sidelines who have
struggled to qualify for the type of home they want to buy. The stress test should be reviewed
and consideration should be given to bringing back 30 year amortizations for federally insured
mortgages. There is a federal budget and election on the horizon. It will be interesting to see
what policy measures are announced to help with home ownership affordability,” said Mr.
Despite sales being down year-over-year, new listings actually declined by a greater annual rate.
This suggests that market conditions became tighter compared to last year. Tighter market
conditions continued to support year-over-year average price growth.
Both the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark and the average selling price were up
modestly on a year-over-year basis in February 2019. The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark was
up by 2.4 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price for all home types combined was up
by 1.6 per cent over the same period. Price growth was driven by the condominium apartment
segment and higher density low-rise home types. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis the
average selling price was down compared to January 2019.
“Home sales reported through TREB’s MLS® System have a substantial impact on the Canadian
economy. A study conducted by Altus for TREB found that, on average, each home sale reported
through TREB resulted in $68,000 in spin-off expenditures accruing to the economy. With sales
substantially lower than the 2016 record peak over the last two years, we have experienced a hit
to the economy in the billions of dollars, in the GTA alone. This hit has also translated into lower
government revenues and, if sustained, could impact the employment picture as well,” said Jason
Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels.
The rental market continued to operate in a high demand, low inventory environment during the
first two months of 2019. Strong competition between renters resulted in average rents for onebedroom
and two-bedroom apartments leased through TREB’s MLS® System increasing wellabove
the rate of inflation on a year-over-year basis for the January-February period. The average
one-bedroom rent was up by 8.1 per cent to $2,145. The average two-bedroom rent was up by
7.4 per cent to $2,810.
“With vacancy rates hovering in the one per cent range and average rents increasing in the high
single digits, it is clear that signing a lease for a rental unit is not an easy proposition in the GTA.
While some rent control provisions have been relaxed by the new provincial government, policy
makers need to look at further initiatives to encourage rather than discourage investment in
rental apartments. A recent Ipsos survey conducted for TREB found that almost one-quarter of
investment property owners are very likely to list their property for sale this year, which is
concerning in an already tight rental market,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.