Toronto real estate. Toronto existing home market slows in August

Real Estate Agent with Right at Home Realty Inc., Brokerage

As the Canadian real estate market continues to move from a hot seller's market to more balanced conditions, agents are finding it harder to reconcile the expectations of buyers and sellers.

This in-between kind of period where people seem to be waiting to see what will happen.

Toronto existing home sales fell by 29 per cent in the first two weeks of August compared with the same time last year.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 2,732 sales in the first half of the month according to a report released Tuesday.

Buyers are most concerned about the potential for prices to fall. The TD Bank said on Monday that they expect average national house prices to fall by 10 per cent over the next year.

Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association said sales were down by 30 per cent in a separate report Monday. The uncertainty is a real concern for people putting their homes on the market today.

Still, prices continue to go up, although at a slower pace. The average price for August mid-month transactions was $412,934, up eight per cent compared with $383,796 last year.

One reason is that new listings, at 4,770, were also down eight per cent during the first half of the month.

"We have seen a sufficient number of buyers relative to sellers over the summer months to support year over year price growth in the GTA," said Jason Mercer, TREB's senior manager of market analysis.

Analysts say many sales were pulled forward in the last 12 months because of impending mortgage regulations and new taxes, including the HST that came into effect on July 1.

Strong sales in the second half of 2009 meant that comparisons to this year are much more dramatic, says the board.

"Throughout the better part of last year, the number of monthly sales was well above the expected long term trend," said TREB president Bill Johnston. "It makes sense that the number of transactions has dipped over the past few months in comparison to last year's record results."

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