Cancelled Toronto property listings surge as prices come off the boil

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Homeowners are either waiting for the market to return or renting out their properties

Toronto homeowners are taking their homes off the market at a higher rate than at the start of the year, according to a new report from real estate platform Strata. Toronto homeowners are taking their homes off the market at a higher rate than at the start of the year, according to a new report from real estate platform Strata. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post

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Abandoned housing listings are increasing rapidly across the greater Toronto area, further evidence that Canada’s largest housing market is slowing after more than a decade of rapid growth.

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Slate Realty Inc., which operates real estate platform Strata.ca, released a report that found sellers scrapped 2,822 listings in June, up 643 percent from January’s 380 cancellations.

“A lot of sellers still feel like this is a seller’s market, so they’re overpricing and not seeing action,” Alex Hood, a Strata real estate agent, said in the report. “At the same time, rising inflation and rising interest rates are making buyers unsure of how the market is going, causing them to be more conservative in their bids.”

The Bank of Canada has hiked interest rates by 2.25 percentage points since March, an unusually aggressive stance forced on the central bank by the fastest inflation in four decades. Booming housing markets have cooled quickly in response to higher mortgage costs. Home prices in Toronto have changed little, according to the latest Teranet-National Bank Home Price Index, showing the year-on-year increase slowed to 19.7 percent from 22.5 percent in May.

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Many sellers still feel this is a seller’s market, so they over-price and see no action

Alex Hood, Strata real estate agent

Homeowners have the right to cancel offers if they no longer wish to sell or if the contract between them and the agent expires before an offer is accepted. In today’s market, sellers are choosing to go this route at an “unprecedented” price, Strata said.

Anna Wong, another Strata agent, said most sellers who canceled their listings were either waiting for a better time to relist or made a “wise” decision to rent out their property. In contrast to the oversupplied sales market in the GTA, the stock of rental apartments has fallen by almost 60 percent since January, according to real estate experts.

Ontario rents are growing at their fastest year-over-year rate since the late 1980s, according to Statistics Canada data. Rents rose 5.4 percent in June from a year earlier, slower than the 5.6 percent gain recorded in May but otherwise the biggest increase since the fall of 1989.