Photo: James Bombales

With 113,040 homes sold, 2016 was quite the year for resale activity in the GTA. But how did 2017 compare?

According to data released today by the Toronto Real Estate Board, there were 92,394 GTA home sales in 2017, down 18.3 per cent from 2016’s record high.

The total comes from a combination of sky-high sales in the first quarter of the year, followed by a cooling market in the second and third quarters, after the announcement of the province’s Fair Housing Plan, complete with a foreign buyer tax.

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“Much of the sales volatility in 2017 was brought about by government policy decisions,” TREB president Tim Syrianos writes, in a statement. “Research from TREB, the provincial government and Statistics Canada showed that foreign home buying was not a major driver of sales in the GTA.”

In December, a joint report from Statistics Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that foreign buyers accounted for less than 5 per cent of housing sales in the GTA.

According to Syrianos, though foreign buyers were not to blame for high prices, the tax still had a noticeable effect on the market. “The Ontario Fair Housing Plan had a marked psychological impact on the marketplace,” he writes.

But 2017 has 2016 beat in one department — prices. The average selling price of a home was up 12.7 from 2016 to $822,681.

“It is interesting to note that home price growth in the second half of 2017 differed substantially depending on market segment,” writes TREB director of market analysis, Jason Mercer, in a statement. “The detached market segment — the most expensive on average — experienced the slowest pace of growth as many buyers looked to less expensive options. Conversely, the condominium apartment segment experienced double-digit growth, as condos account for a growing share of transactions.”

The average price of a GTA condo was up 14.4 per cent from 2016, to $503,968, while the average price of a detached home was down 2.5 per cent, to $989,870.

Both the drop in sales and the rise in prices match forecasts from the Canadian Real Estate Association and Royal LePage from the beginning of 2017. Both organizations predicted that further regulation would cause the market to balance out in the second half of the year, while tight market conditions in Toronto would cause prices to rise.

“Forward momentum and supporting fundamentals in the [GTA] are strong,” wrote Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper, at the time.

TREB will provide a look ahead into 2018 later this month, when releases its Market Year in Review and Outlook Report.

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