Toronto home sales fall again, prices down 15.5 percent from peak

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Toronto home sales plunged in September from a year earlier and prices were down 15.5 percent from their April peak, but sales and prices inched up from August, suggesting housing in Canada’s largest city may be stabilizing, data showed on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Construction equipment is parked at the bottom of a pit on the site of a new condominium complex off Redpath Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Sales fell 35.1 percent from September 2016, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said in a report. It was the sixth straight month of declining year-on-year sales after a years-long boom that sparked fears of a bubble.

The average selling price was up 2.6 percent compared with a year earlier, while new listings and days on the market both rose, TREB said. Market watchers have been waiting to see if buyers and sellers would come back to the market after taking to the sidelines during the traditionally slow summer months.

The average selling price for all home types combined was C$775,546 ($621,680), down 15.5 percent from a peak of C$918,285 in April.

The Ontario government introduced multiple measures in late April, including a foreign buyers tax, in a bid to cool the housing market in Toronto and the surrounding areas.

“The improvement in listings in September compared to a year earlier suggests that home owners are anticipating an uptick in sales activity as we move through the fall,” TREB President Tim

Syrianos said in a statement.

“As we move through the fourth quarter we could see some buyers moving off the sidelines, taking advantage of a better-supplied marketplace,” he added.

New listings rose 9.4 percent from a year earlier, while active listings were up 69.0 percent as properties sit on the market for longer.

The Bank of Canada has begun what most analysts believe will be a gradual process of raising interest rates from near historic lows, which has in turn boosted mortgage rates and other borrowing costs.

The central bank raised its key rate by a total of 50 basis points to 1.00 percent in two back-to-back moves in July and September, and some expect at least one more hike before the end of the year.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Cooney