There were no surprises in December. The year came to an end as expected. Higher borrowing costs and the new stress testing measures implemented at the beginning of the year are now a driving force in the Toronto housing landscape. The landscape is now one of moderating sales volumes and average sale prices, as was made evident in December’s resale data.
In December sales declined by more than 22 percent compared to last year. Last December 4,876 properties were reported sold by Toronto and area realtors. This year that number shrank to 3,781, the lowest number of December sales since the 2008 recession. December’s sales brought total sales for 2018 to 77,426, a decline of 16 percent from the 92,000 plus sales recorded in 2017, and more than 30 percent fewer than the 113,000 sales reported in 2016. In 2016 mortgage interest rates were half of what they are today, and borrowers did not have to qualify subject to rigid stress testing rules.