TRREB's March sales figures show "clear break" between pre- and post-COVID-19 periods

March home sales figures in the GTA driven by first two weeks of the month

TRREB's March sales figures show "clear break" between pre- and post-COVID-19 periods
Duffie Osental

The latest home sale figures released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) revealed a “clear break” in market activity in the GTA between the periods before and after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario.

According to TRREB, the overall March sales result was driven by the first two weeks of the month, which saw 4,643 sales reported in the period before the week beginning March 15 – accounting for 58% of total transactions and representing a 49% compared to the first 14 days of March 2019. However, only 3,369 sales were reported in the period beginning the week of March 15 – down by 15.9% compared to the same period in March 2019.

Read more: Coronavirus upends GTA condo market

Figures from TRREB also revealed that new listings were up by 3% year-over-year to 14,424 for March as a whole.  However, new listings dropped on a year-over-year basis during the second half of the month (beginning March 15) by 18.4%.

Meanwhile, the average selling price for March 2020 as a whole was $902,680 – up 14.5% per cent compared to March 2019.  However, the average selling price for sales reported between March 15 and March 31 was $862,563 – down from the first half of March 2020, but still up by 10.5% compared to the same period last year.

“Despite sales and listings trending lower in the second half of March, demand for ownership housing remained strong enough relative to listings to see the average selling price remain above last year’s levels, including during the last few days of the month,” said Jason Mercer, chief market analyst at TRREB. “As we move through April, we will have a clearer view on how social distancing measures and broader economic conditions will influence sales and ultimately the pace of price growth.”

“While COVID-19 has clearly had an impact on the housing market, the late March numbers still suggest that there is activity in the marketplace,” said John DiMichele, chief executive officer of TRREB. “TRREB continues to strongly recommend stopping in-person open houses and has provided its members with guidelines for social distancing.  TRREB’s professional development staff are working hard to educate its members via webinars on using technology in innovative ways to conduct business virtually.”