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House & Condo Sales In The GTA Have Plummeted 50% Over The Last 2 Weeks

Ontario's state of emergency is having a huge impact on real estate.

With everyone staying indoors, one of the things this change is affecting is housing. Since Ontario called a state of emergency on March 17, Toronto home sales have fallen by more than 50%. That's according to a new report based on Toronto Real Estate Board data.

Housing market activity has slowed dramatically with Ontario in emergency mode, at least according to a report from real estate site Zoocasa released Wednesday, April 1. 

According to the report, with COVID-19 looming over the province, the number of sales of detached homes and semis in the GTA dropped by a massive 53% between March 17-30.

To put that into numbers, there were 1,153 home sales in the GTA during that period, down from 2,435 from March 1-16, per the report.

Sales of condos also fell by over 50% from 1,541 to 729 when comparing the same two periods. The sales-to-new-listings ratio of condos dropped from 55% to 40%.

A big factor in the drastic fall in sales is likely that far fewer home are listing on the market right now with the province effectively on semi-lockdown.

For detached homes and semis, the amount of new listings is down 30%, from 4,503 to 3,140. For condos, that reduction is similar at 26%.

But, as Zoocasa told Narcity in an email, that is not being matched by any drastic fall in home prices. Not right now, anyway.

"However, prices are not rising for the first time in a long time," Narcity was told.

Zoocasa detailed an example in Toronto's C01 neighbourhood, which includes downtown, the entertainment district, CityPlace, King West, and Trinity-Bellwoods.

In that expensive region, the average price of condos sold between March 17-20 was very similar to that of the month of February, at $842,199. February's average prices had risen 7% compared to January.

So, basically, they seem to be holding pretty steady at the moment.

It's worth noting that real estate agents must now follow strict protocols to protect themselves and homebuyers.

With, essentially, a blanket ban on open houses in force right now, technology is replacing in-person meetings and showings, according to The Globe and Mail.

And, according to RBC Bank analyst Robert Hogue, social distancing has played and will continue to play a role in Canada's housing market.

"Canada's housing market will slow to a crawl this spring as Canadians follow social distancing orders in order to combat the spread of COVID-19," Hogue suggests.

Hogue shares that RBC is expecting that the market's recovery will come in stages and could take up to a year.

For now, certainly, COVID-19 is having its effect on housing in the GTA.