BUSINESS

Average Greater Toronto House Now Back Below $1 Million

All the same, affordability may not be coming back anytime soon.

08/28/2017 13:40 EDT | Updated 08/28/2017 13:44 EDT
peterspiro via Getty Images
A row of Victorian houses in Toronto's inner city. The average price of a detached home in Greater Toronto has fallen back below $1 million, according to preliminary data from the city's real estate board.

What goes up must come down, the saying goes. But in Toronto's housing market, it may not come down enough to satisfy strained homebuyers.

With a real estate slowdown gripping the city, Greater Toronto's average house price has fallen back below $1 million.

The average price of a detached home in Toronto and its suburbs fell to $974,212 in the first two weeks of August, according to data from the city's real estate board, obtained and published by the Financial Post on Monday.

The average price has fallen 19 per cent, or about $230,000, since the peak reached this March.

The province of Ontario introduced new housing rules in April, designed to cool the market, including a 15-per-cent foreign buyers' tax. Legislation was also brought in to expand rent controls.

In the City of Toronto itself, single-family homes still average above the million-dollar mark, clocking in at $1.2 million in the first three weeks of August, down from a peak of $1.56 million in March.

No price crash in the cards: TD Bank


But if you're a prospective homeowner waiting for affordability to return to Canada's largest metro area, you could be disappointed, experts say.

A new report from TD Bank forecasts a "soft landing" for the city's housing market.

Although a price crash in the housing market is possible — for instance if unemployment were to spike — there are few signs of one on the horizon, TD Bank said in a new forecast Monday.

Mortgage delinquencies are near record lows, job growth has been very strong over the past year and the economy is humming along.

"A critical feature of a market crash is missing in this cycle," economists Beata Caranci and Diana Petramala wrote.

Ordinarily, house prices come down when buyers find it more difficult to afford their homes. But in Toronto, the sudden spike in new supply this spring has more to do with speculators leaving the market, the TD economists asserted.

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As a result of all this, "prices are likely to only reset back to levels that existed prior to a year of exorbitant gains. ... We expect a reset in home prices that would return the average price back to mid-to-late 2016 levels."

Those are hardly affordable levels. Last year, Toronto clocked its worst home affordability levels on record.

"First-time homebuyers sitting on the sidelines waiting for higher interest rates to trigger a market crash may be holding their breath for a while," the TD economists wrote.

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