March home sales fell across the GTA from that boom time a year ago, encouraging brokers to get more creative in sussing out new business.
Greater Toronto Area Realtors reported 7,765 transactions through the Toronto MLS system in March – that’s down 17 per cent compared from the 9,385 recorded a year early. It also means that for the first quarter of 2013, sales came in at 71,678, representing a 14 per cent slide from the year-ago period.
Realtors are blaming the slowdown on an ebb in demand, pointing more directly to the mortgage rule changes ushered in last year.
"While some households have put their decision to purchase on hold as a result of stricter lending guidelines or the additional Land Transfer Tax in the City of Toronto," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hanna, “other households simply haven't been able to find the right house due to a shortage of listings in some market segments."
For brokers, the falloff hasn't been as precipitous as it has been for many Realtors, with those mortgage professionasl turning to refinances, increasingly on the B side.
While those same new mortgage rules have made it harder for clients to win refinancing in the A sphere, alternative deals are still being struck, says one broker, and mortgage professionals are the vehicle borrowers are unsing to get to that financing.
"It think that if you're just relying on A deals now, you're in trouble," says Shawn Allen, broker at Matrix Mortgage Global in the GTA. "You have to be doing B deals now."
But the slower market is a challenge, even with the chink of light that higher sale prices provide.
The average selling price for March was $519,879 – up by 3.8 per cent compared to March 2012. The average price in Q1 2013 was $508,066, or 3.2 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012.