Canadian Housing Update 13: Toronto Lawns Look Like a Mayoral Race is Starting

Supply has increased and Home Sales have decreased

Justin Lim
August 11, 2023
May 31, 2024
Canadian Housing

Supply has hit a 10-year high in the GTA of over 21,000, as lawns are starting to look like a mayor race is going on in Toronto. As expected, the Toronto downtown pricing has spread to areas just outside the urban centre into the GTA. The supply is more concerning than normal as the number of homes sold has also decreased, which is even more surprising. We did expect some of the same in Vancouver but instead, they saw a price decrease as supply has overcompensated for that demand. Lastly, we will revisit the employment scenario in Canada and its effect on housing.

Key Numbers

Toronto Central Prices Up 7-8%
GTA Prices Up 2-3%
Toronto Suburb Prices Flat
Active GTA Listings Up 15%
Vancouver Central Prices Down 2%
GVA Prices Down 2%
Vancouver Suburb Prices Down 2-5%
Active GVA Listings Up 20%


Price Increases Spread from Downtown Toronto to the Greater Toronto Area

Active GTA Listings Crosses over 20,000 as Supply Rises

Employment in Focus and its Effect

Price Increases Spread from Downtown Toronto to the Greater Toronto Area

We anticipated the price increases downtown to start to spread across the Greater Toronto Area and this appears to be taking shape as GTA prices have risen by 2-3%. With the high prices downtown, it’s not surprising to see people starting to look a little further out to purchase a home. This is a ripple effect and generally gets smaller the further out it goes, which is being flooded with an increase in supply.

Downtown median prices have now exceeded the highs of 2022, taking about 2 years to recover from the most recent drop.  This brings the 5-year return on this metric to a total of 18%, or about 3.5% a year. This is below the 15-year average of 6% per year. The 15-year time frame is interesting because this would date back to 2009 or right after the Great Recession. The 6% annualized is unlikely to be repeated given it is coming off a very low recessionary level. It is also interesting to point out that housing over the past 5 years has just kept up with inflation, if you were to subtract out inflation the growth would be essentially zero. 

Active GTA Listings Crosses over 20,000 as Supply Rises

Supply continues to grow for the 5th consecutive month, which is expected given the season, but the acceleration is higher than normal. 


With supply growing we are also seeing a decrease in Houses Sold which is below the levels in April. If anything as the spring season progresses this number should be increasing with supply but it is not, which is not good for the housing market. 

Employment in Focus and its Effect

Housing prices are either restricted or supported by employment and the consumer's spending ability. We are currently in a rising unemployment environment which is very rare for Canada and the last time we saw this was 2008/2009. The only exception was COVID lockdowns, but the government did supplement income during that time and money supply greatly increased. While the current employment level is important the direction of those levels is very important. 


Since 2008/2009 unemployment has been steadily decreasing, which means more people are becoming employed over time, which would increase the home-buying pool. If unemployment is rising this would reduce the home-buying pool. Essentially if this is the case, every month we lose potential buyers. A more apples-to-apples comparison is the increase in full-time employees vs. the increase in housing starts. We do this because part-time employees cannot afford a home, potentially only a full-time person can, and in most cases, it would take 2 full-time employees for each home. 

In April, Canada had an annualized 238,585 housing starts. Seasonally adjusted, this is annualized to 220,123, which is a better indicator because housing starts are lower in the winter. On the employment side, in April Canada added 40,000 new full-time employees.


April was a good month in adding jobs, the 4th best month over the past year. But, the last 12-month average is 22,700 full-time jobs per month. If we were to assume it takes 1.5 full-time individuals to purchase a home, we need to add 27,515 full-time employees per month to fill new housing builds. This does include part-time employees but of the part-time employees 45-50% of them are either below 24 or above 65 and these unfortunately not home buyers. We are adding fewer jobs than needed to fulfill new housing starts.

This is just one data point and does not paint the entire picture, because there are many full-time employees waiting in the wings to purchase homes, but this does show that new supply could be exceeding new demand. If this trend continues prices will face further pressure.


Price increases are starting to ripple outside the Toronto urban centre, while in Vancouver prices have slowed. Across all regions, active listings have continued to increase which is now at 10-year record highs. We are seeing an increased real estate frenzy without drastic price increases (except for downtown Toronto). Demand (represented by homes sold) is decreasing and a weakening employment picture does not help. Given the trends expect overall housing to increase by low single digits or similar to longer-term averages over the next year or so. 

Justin, Konrad, and Merriel

More articles and information are available at 

Content Sources: Bloomberg, Trading Economics, Yahoo Finance, BCA Research

Disclaimer: This newsletter is solely the work of Konrad Kopacz and Justin Lim for the private information of their clients. Although the author is a registered Investment Advisor with Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. (“Echelon”) this is not an official publication of Echelon, and the author is not an Echelon research analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this newsletter are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, Echelon.

Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections based on beliefs and assumptions made by the author. These statements involve risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance or results and no assurance can be given that these estimates and expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements.

The opinions expressed in this report are the opinions of the author and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. or its affiliates. Assumptions, opinions, and estimates constitute the author’s judgment as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice. We do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this material, and it should not be relied upon as such. Before acting on any recommendation, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

These estimates and expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements.