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Toronto's house prices predicted to rise more than Vancouver: report

A new report from RE/Max forecasts the GTA's average housing prices will rise eight per cent compared to Greater Vancouver's two per cent in 2017.

Don't expect Toronto's hot housing prices to let up soon, according to a new report from Re/Max.

Torstar News Service file / Torstar News Service

Don't expect Toronto's hot housing prices to let up soon, according to a new report from Re/Max.

Score one for Toronto, but not for people trying to buy a home.

In the ongoing debate over who has the hotter real estate market — Toronto or Vancouver — the GTA comes out ahead in a new market outlook report for 2017.

Average prices in the area are expected to rise eight per cent compared to a cool two per cent in Greater Vancouver, according to the forecast from Re/Max. An increase of eight per cent would take the average GTA housing price to $783,926 in 2017.

Christopher Alexander, regional director of RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region, said it’s the first time “in several years” the report has predicted a higher growth rate for Toronto compared to Vancouver.

Last year it predicted an increase of seven per cent in Greater Vancouver and five per cent in the GTA.

But Alexander doesn’t blame that all on the recent 15 per cent Vancouver foreign buyers tax.

“The market in Vancouver was already starting to cool before they implemented the foreign buyers tax,” he said. “It’s really had the greatest impact on the upper end of the market, with prices and sales decreasing slightly as a result of the softer demand.”

He said it’s “possible” that some foreign buyers will be driven to the GTA “but we don’t think it’s going to have a significant impact.”

The GTA is still hot because it has very high demand, he said, and this year’s increase — at 17 per cent — came in much higher than the forecast.

Speaking at a Metro editorial board meeting on Wednesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory called the lack of housing options a “profound economic issue,” but said the city doesn’t have a magic lever it can pull to calm home prices.

His focus instead is on increasing supply of affordable rental housing and replacing and repairing social housing.

The city has made a “small start” through a program that put up $100 million worth of land and promised faster approvals and reduced fees in return for developers willing to build more affordable rentals.

But he’s also “very hopeful” the next federal budget will use tax breaks offer more incentives to developers who delve into rentals.

On the B.C. foreign buyers tax, Tory said the two real estate markets are not exactly the same, and it’s not clear the tax is working.

“The experience so far says that what it’s done is it’s dampened down the number of deals going on, but the prices have still gone up,” he said.

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