The summer when houses were hardly selling in Toronto

Even if people wanted to buy a home in 1982, they were holding back due to confusion over incentive programs.

Buyer confusion over incentive programs led to a stagnant market in 1982

Houses just not selling in Toronto

40 years ago
Duration 1:35
In July 1982, the housing market is stagnant in Toronto due to buyer confusion.

The cobwebs on the house in the graphic over The National host George McLean's shoulder weren't there for Halloween.

They were meant to illustrate the stagnant nature of the Toronto housing market in July 1982.

"People who would like to buy a home are confused about what the government is doing to help them," explained CBC reporter Larry Rose.

The 1982 federal budget had included incentives for would-be home buyers — including a $3,000 grant — but no further details were forthcoming.

'Almost total halt'

Real estate agent Darrell Kent said confusion over credits for home buyers had been caused by the government. (The National/CBC Archives)

"The result: buyers are waiting, especially in Toronto," said Rose.

He said one measure being considered was "a program of mortgage rates that are six per cent lower," but it required the input of a government-appointed panel of "financial experts" and it was not certain whether such a program would ever be implemented.

The Bank of Canada interest rate stood at 16.5 per cent at the time, according to the Globe and Mail.

Home sales across Canada were down 25 per cent over the previous year, and appeared to be even worse in Toronto.

"They announced the $3,000 first-time buyers grant, but there are no details on it," said Toronto real estate agent Darrell Kent.

"[With] the confusion caused by the government, the market's ground to an almost total halt."

And sellers were becoming "increasingly desperate," Kent told Rose.

For example, the sellers of a Cabbagetown house that had been on the market for over a year had recently dropped the price by $70,000, and still had "no takers." 

This house, in Toronto's Cabbagetown neighbourhood, had been on the market for over a year. (The National/CBC Archives)

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now