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Toronto home sales slump, prices rise

Tags: Real Estate

Toronto's housing market shows no sign of warming up as summer nears, with May home sales falling nearly 10 percent year-over-year, but prices moved up more than five percent.

The number of sales in the first two weeks of May were down 9.7 percent from the same time last year in the Greater Toronto Area, falling to just under 4,500, according to data released by the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Sales in the city proper were down a steeper 11.4 percent, compared to an 8.6-percent decline for the surrounding regions.

The sharpest decline in sales came in the townhouse market in the city centre, which were down more than 20 percent. Condo sales were also down sharply, falling more than 13 percent from the same time last year.

Sales of detached homes, meanwhile, were down 7.5 percent.

The average selling price, on the other hand, increased 5.4 percent in the first two weeks of May to $543,838, compared with the same time last year. Prices increased the most for single family homes, rising 5.6 percent.

"Despite fewer sales this year compared to last, competition between buyers in most segments of the market remained strong enough to promote annual rates of price growth above the rate of inflation, " Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah said in a statement..

While many commentators believe the country's housing market, particularly condo markets in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, is on verge of a downturn, Hannah maintains that a household in the GTA earning an average income "can comfortably afford the mortgage payments associated with the purchase of an average priced home."

National data released on Wednesday showed home sales across the country were up 0.6 percent from the previous month, but were down 3.1 percent from the same period last year.

Some economists said the data underscored their belief that the country is not headed for a U.S.-style housing crash.

"Realizing that it may be a tad premature for victory laps, but evidence continues to mount that the Canadian housing market seems to have pulled off the fabled soft landing," BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter said in a note to clients.

But Porter added that the 10.1-percent decline in home sales since the beginning of the year may be "more representative" of the current slowdown in the housing market. CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24