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Toronto home sales slump to 23-year low in 2023

Published 01/04/2024, 05:03 AM
Updated 01/04/2024, 05:05 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A for sale sign is displayed outside a home in Toronto, Ontario in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 13, 2021.  REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Greater Toronto Area home sales fell last year to the lowest level in more than two decades despite an uptick in December, as high borrowing costs made the market less affordable, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) data showed on Thursday.

Home sales in Canada's largest metropolitan area were 65,982 in 2023, down 12.1% from the previous year and the lowest level since 2000. The average selling price also declined, falling 5.4% to C$1,126,604 ($843,771).

"High borrowing costs coupled with unrealistic federal mortgage qualification standards resulted in an unaffordable home ownership market for many households in 2023," TRREB President Jennifer Pearce said in a statement.

"With that said, relief seems to be on the horizon. Borrowing costs are expected to trend lower in 2024. Lower mortgage rates coupled with a relatively resilient economy should see a rebound in home sales this year."

The Bank of Canada has opened the door to cutting interest rates in 2024 if inflation comes down as predicted. Its benchmark rate has been on hold since July at a 22-year high of 5%.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A for sale sign is displayed outside a home in Toronto, Ontario in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 13, 2021.  REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

Seasonally adjusted sales rose 21.3% in December from November to 6,052 homes, marking the first increase since May. The average price was up 2.5% to C$1,130,263 ($846,512), reversing almost all of the previous month's decline.

($1 = 1.3352 Canadian dollars)

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