Photo: James Bombales

After starting the year on a cold note, the GTA housing market showed signs of thawing in March, as sales jumped up 28 per cent month-over-month.

Still, according to data released today by the Toronto Real Estate Board, sales were down a whopping 39.5 per cent from their peak in March 2017, and down 17.6 per cent relative to the average March sales for the last 10 years.

“TREB stated in its recent Market Outlook report that sales would be down from the record pace set in Q1 of 2017,” writes TREB president Tim Syrianos, in a statement. “The effects of the Fair Housing Plan, the new [mortgage stress test] and generally higher borrowing costs have prompted some buyers to put their purchasing decision on hold. Home sales are expected to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of the year.”

BuzzBuzzNews has rounded up 7 stats to show what March had in store for the market:

1. Home sales were down 35.7 per cent last month from their peak in December of 2017. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, sales were 24.2 per cent lower this quarter than in the fourth quarter of 2017.

2. New listings were also down, dropping 7.4 per cent in March, bringing the Q1 listings decline to a total 36.3 per cent.

3. The drop in listings pushed the sales-to-new listings ratio up to 46.2 per cent from 45.9 per cent in February. A ratio of between 40 and 60 per cent is considered balanced territory, with readings above and below indicating sellers and buyers markets, respectively.

4. “All in all, the TREB numbers have come in largely as expected…with the March data cementing the notion that the entirety of the [new mortgage rules]-related pull-forward into [December] has been given up in the first quarter of the year,” writes TD senior economist Michael Dolega, in a recent note.

5. The MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was down 0.5 per cent, the first monthly decline since October. The HPI is down 1.5 per cent from its peak in March 2017.

6. Despite the dip in the HPI, the price of an average single family home rose by 1.1 per cent, the first gain in three months.

7. “Right now, when comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory versus this year with inventory levels ranging between two and three months,” writes TREB director of market analysis Jason Mercer. “It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak.”

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