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Realtors in Toronto urge governments to expand housing supply in COVID-19 relief plan

Click to play video 'Toronto home prices rising, bidding wars declining' Toronto home prices rising, bidding wars declining
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto’s real estate market has made a major comeback after a brief lull due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but homebuyers can take comfort in knowing bidding wars are not as common as those once were. Caryn Lieberman reports.

TORONTO – As home prices rise, a group of Toronto realtors say governments should focus economic recovery plans on housing supply and be careful of stoking too much demand.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says many people are going forward with their plans to buy homes, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

As the economy swings up, that could lead to housing price inflation, TRREB’s report to lawmakers said.

Read more: Toronto home sales rising, bidding wars declining amid coronavirus pandemic

Even though the number of home sales fell during the pandemic, prices were stable because buyers and sellers pulled back in equal measure, TRREB estimated. If listings lag, it could crunch supply, said TRREB, assuming that the spread of COVID-19 continues to be contained.

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Rather than focus stimulus measures on boosting home owners, the group of 56,000 realtors suggested that improving the supply of homes will keep prices affordable for buyers.

Read more: Coronavirus: When is the right time to put your house up for sale in Ontario?

Among TRREB’s recommendations is that the city should speed up plans to add duplexes and low-rise apartment housing to neighbourhoods with single-family homes.