Home ownership dreams in Toronto further out of reach than ever

A sold home is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.
A sold home is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Home ownership in Toronto is drifting further and further out of reach for many residents of the city, new statistics show, with the average price across all types of residential properties now hovering at nearly $750,000.

Putting even a 10 per cent down payment on that price tag would cost a new homeowner $75,000. (Under new mortgage rules that came into effect earlier this year, the minimum down payment on such a house would be $50,000.)

At the same time last year, the average price of a GTA home sat at $639,309, meaning there was a nearly 17 per cent increase year-over-year.

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The new figures, released by the Toronto Real Estate Board on Wednesday, show that sales grew by 7.5 per cent between 2015 and 2016, but the number of new listings was down by 3.8 per cent.

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In other words, demand is far outstripping supply, and it’s getting harder to afford a home in Canada’s largest urban centre as a result.

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Expert weighs in on whether Canada’s booming housing market will bust

In a release, Toronto Real Estate Board president Larry Cerqua said the city is facing an “interesting” housing situation.

“There is no doubt that demand is at a record level, but would-be home buyers continue to face an uphill battle against a constrained supply of listings, which has perpetuated strong price growth,” said Cerqua.

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“As the federal, provincial and local levels of government discuss housing policy in the coming months, issues affecting the lack of supply in the GTA should be of paramount importance.”

It’s the same story in Vancouver, where the housing market remains all but closed to anyone without hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on a down payment.

Real estate board figures in that city show the benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver has climbed exponentially. It was $917,800 in June, a 32 per cent jump since June 2015.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s real estate is ‘fuelled by a money laundering bubble,’ says market analyst

The federal government has taken notice, announcing a provincial working group in Ontario to examine how to cool the housing market in Toronto. It has also promised to look at whether foreign investment is driving the white-hot markets in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, the provincial government recently announced that it was putting the province’s real-estate industry under government oversight.


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