Toronto Home Price Rally Triggers Rush of Listings in April

(Bloomberg) -- Toronto home prices continued surging in April, prompting a rush of new listings that hints the rally could soon be poised to slow.

Toronto’s benchmark home price index rose 5 percent last month, the second highest gain in data going back to 2005, a report Monday from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed. The record gain was a 6.2 percent advance in March, bringing year over year price increases to 32 percent.

What has changed over the past month is that soaring prices are finally beginning to bring sellers into the market, possibly anticipating a slowdown after Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa brought in a suite of measures including a foreign buyer tax on April 20.

“Home buyers and sellers both reacted to the recent Ontario government policy announcement aimed at cooling housing markets in and around Toronto,” Gregory Klump, the agency’s chief economist, said in the statement.

Another strain on the market is coming from troubles at Home Capital Group Inc., a mortgage lender that has suffered a share price plunge after a regulator opened hearings into its business practices.

New Listings

New listings climbed by 36 percent in the Greater Toronto Area to record levels, leading a 10 percent nationwide increase.

Nationally, prices rose by 3.2 percent on the month and by 20 percent from April 2016.

Vancouver, Canada’s priciest real estate market, is seeing a similar trend of rising prices and surging listings. Prices in that city were up 2.4 percent in April, and have gained 11.4 percent over the past 12 months, triggering a 12 percent increase in listings last month.

While prices rose, transactions declined nationally.

Existing home sales fell by 1.7 percent in April from the previous month and by 7.5 percent from a year earlier, the Ottawa-based group said in the statement. In Toronto, transactions were down 6.7 percent while gaining 16 percent in Vancouver.