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Home sales in Greater Toronto Area plunge 37.3% last month: TREB

ALEXANDRA POSADZKI, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 6th, 2017

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A for sale sign displays a sold home in a development in Ottawa on July 6, 2015. Nearly one in five first-time homebuyers received help with a down payment from a family member, according to a survey conducted by the federal housing agency released Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Toronto Real Estate Board says the number of homes sold last month plunged 37.3 per cent compared with a year ago, even as the number of listings rose.

The board says 7,974 homes in the Greater Toronto Area changed hands in June while the number of new properties on the market climbed 15.9 per cent year-over-year to 19,614.

The average price for all properties was $793,915, up 6.3 per cent from the same month last year.

The data comes after the Ontario government introduced rules aimed at cooling Toronto’s housing market, where escalating prices have concerned policy-makers at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Ontario’s measures, which were retroactive to April 21, include a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, expanded rent controls and legislation allowing Toronto and other cities to tax vacant homes.

Experts have said that buyers have been waiting to see what the impact of the changes will be – similar to what happened in Vancouver after the B.C. government introduced a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax last August.

There have been growing worries that overheated prices in Vancouver and Toronto could be a problem for the broader economy, especially if there is a sudden decline in housing prices sparked by higher interest rates.

The Bank of Canada has recently signalled that time is running out for the rock bottom interest rates it put in place in 2015 to cushion the blow of a sudden decline in global oil prices.

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