GTA Regional Comparison for 2018

The housing troubles that started in the summer of 2017, more or less continued right through 2018 for the GTA. Aside from the condo markets continued strength, TREB did not have many good news stories to tell last year. Sales were down again, and prices only improved slightly, leaving the housing market feeling uneasy heading into 2019.

Looking at the GTA as a whole, the numbers tell the story of an entire region struggling since it experienced massive prices gains that more or less ended in the spring of 2017. However, breaking down the GTA by the major regions that make up its housing market, shows that there are modest discrepancies between how each region fared in 2018. While no region completely broke away from the GTA’s overall performance, that does not mean that all experienced the year in exactly the same way.

annual sales 2018Source: TREB, Six Housing Sense

In 2018 sales across TREB dropped 16% from 2017 totals, falling to 77,426. Overall, the sales decline was fairly evenly distributed across all GTA regions, with no one region performing much better or worse than any other. As it did in 2017, York Region experienced the largest year-over-year reduction, as sales dropped 21%. Halton, on the other hand, had sales slightly outperform the TREB average, falling only 13%. Comparing sales totals to 2016 is where we see greater disparity. Halton and York again find themselves in the same leading and trailing positions, with Halton sales declining just 21% over the last two years, while York’s have nearly been slashed in half, shrinking by 46%.

ye benchmark priceSource: TREB, Six Housing Sense

Looking at the year end (December) composite benchmark price for each region, the city of Toronto led the GTA with a gain of 6% year-over-year. This increase is nearly entirely attributed to Toronto’s large share of condos, as the city’s detached benchmark price only increased 1% in 2018. Again, York region fared the worst, as it finished the year down 4%, with only the region of Simcoe also finishing in the negative. 2018 offered only modest gains for the GTA overall, ending the year by slightly beating inflation with 3%.

2018 total spendSource: TREB, Six Housing Sense

Consistent across all TREB regions in 2018 was that the total amount spent on housing decreased from the 2017 totals. The modest price gains realized in most regions could not compensate for the significant drop in sales last year. In the end, total spend dropped from $76 billion in 2017 to just under $61 billion in 2018. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, no where was this more felt than in York region. Total spend fell nearly $5 billion from the previous year, and now sits just above half of the total amount realized in 2016. In comparison all other regions ended around the TREB overall decrease of 20%, with Toronto performing the best down just 15% and Durham finishing second last with a 24% reduction.

A major takeaway from the regional comparison results is that no one region has been able to meaningfully separate themselves from the general area. Even the city of Toronto very much follows the overall patterns experienced in the GTA. Moving into 2019 we will monitor to see how sales totals and prices trend, while watching to see if any city versus suburbs performance discrepancies emerge.

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