The Toronto housing market is still struggling to recover from a massive spike in prices in the aftermath of the provincial government’s announcement last summer that it was going to limit foreign buyers to two per cent of new condos.
But some experts are now urging the city to take some aggressive steps to get the city’s housing prices back on track.
The city’s condo vacancy rate fell to 8.5 per cent in April from 8.7 per cent a year earlier, according to data from the Toronto Real Estate Board.
That compares with a 9.3 per cent rate in June.
The city also saw an increase in the number of properties in private ownership, up from 2,854 in April to 2,958 in April.
The number of detached houses in private hands also increased to 8,074 from 7,914 in April, while condos have increased by 50 per cent.
“We are looking at the city as a whole, the condo market is just a bit overwhelmed,” said Chris Reimer, managing director of Reimer Realty Group.
“There’s a bit of a delay.
But the numbers speak for themselves.
They are a bit off the pace of what we’ve seen.”
Reimer Reimer said the city is also struggling to find the right people to buy and maintain the units in its buildings, with a backlog of more than 300,000 condo applications.
While the number has increased slightly since last year, Reimer said it remains far below the peak of almost 20,000 condos in April that sparked the housing crisis.
“If we’re going to bring it back up to a point where it can really be competitive, then we need to start moving more quickly on that,” Reimer added.
“We’re not there yet.
And we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Toronto’s condo rental vacancy rate is also down from a high of 15 per cent last year to 11.5.
In a separate report from the real estate board on Wednesday, the city said that there are 2,547 condo units in private market ownership in Toronto, up slightly from 2.6 last month.
The number of condos in private markets is down from more than 11,000 in May, but still higher than the peak in April of 8,085.
City staff also said that the number in private private market units has risen by more than 50 per to 10,000 from 9,800 in April and 9,600 in May.
A spokesperson for Toronto Mayor John Tory said the number is still far below what it was at the peak and the city has a long way to go.
“There’s not much we can do about that,” said the spokesperson.
“If the city wants to get back to the top of the housing market, it has to be able to find more housing for the people that want to buy.
If it’s too expensive for some people, they’re going get stuck in private housing.”
The spokesperson added that while the numbers are encouraging, the rate of demand for housing remains extremely low.
“The supply of housing is still very low and there’s still lots of empty lots in the city,” she said.
“It’s an incredible challenge for us as a city to try to meet the demand.
We’re working hard to meet that demand.”