Early data suggests homebuyers in Canada’s largest city sat on the sidelines as they awaited new market cooling measures, but jumped backed into the market — albeit at a reduced rate — following the April 20 announcement
The Toronto Real Estate Board is set to release its April sales figures on Wednesday, the first set of numbers since the Ontario government announcement that included a 15 percent tax on non-residents aimed at foreign speculators in the housing market.
Data from TREB’s site indicates that between April 21 and 27 — after the provincial changes that also included tougher rent control rules and the ability to tax vacant homes in the city of Toronto — that 2,486 properties changed hands over the week, 1,702 freehold and 784 condominiums. That was up from the 2,094 properties — 1,370 freehold and 724 condominiums — that changed hands between April 14 and 20.
“It’s not a big surprise that sales were down when the rumors were there,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC. “Basically, you’ve got people doing nothing on rumors and then acting after the fact.”
Looking back to the week from April 7 to 13, there were 3,303 sales (2,242 freehold and 1061 condominiums) — essentially meaning the market pulled back sharply. But given such a short-period, which could be heavily influenced by even a change in weather — the preliminary statistics have to be viewed with skepticism.
Speculation of changes to regulate the market had been brewing ahead of a meeting between the federal finance minister, his Ontario counterpart and city of Toronto mayor John Tory on April 18. Ontario finance minister Charles Sousa indicated after that meeting that his government would be acting but didn’t say how at the time.
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