GTA home sales remained strong in October, with sales up more than 19 per cent over the same period last year and prices up more than 7 per cent, according to figures released by the Toronto Real Estate Board Wednesday.
The average sale price of a home hit $539,058 last month, up from $502,127 in October of 2012. The composite benchmark — which factors out extremes in the market, such as a spike in high-end home sales — was up 4.5 per cent year over year, says TREB.
That growth is expected to continue through 2014, because the inventory of homes being listed for sale remains unusually low, along with interest rates, says Jason Mercer, the real estate board’s senior manager of market analysis.
“The GTA home ownership market has been broadly characterized by a rebound in sales since the summer. Market conditions have been tighter in some market segments more so than others,” says Dianne Usher, president of the board.
“Ground-oriented homes listed for below one million dollars in some areas of the GTA have been especially popular with buyers, while listings for these home types have been constrained.”
Some 8,000 home changed hands in October, up from 6,713 a year ago when the market was still feeling the dampening effects of tougher mortgage lending rules introduced in July, 2012 by federal Housing Minister Jim Flaherty in an effort to cool a market that shows no signs of letting up.
The average sale price of a house in the 416 region was $593,807 in October, up from $538,120 a year ago. The average was $502,748 in the 905, up from $478,313, according to the TREB figures.
The most in-demand sector of the market — detached homes — saw price gains in the Toronto region of 12.4 per cent year over year, with the average sale price in October hitting $873,509.
Prices in the 905 for a detached were up 6.3 per cent over a year ago to an average of $607,849.
Sales of detached homes were up 23.6 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively in the 416 and 905 regions.
Semi-detached sales were actually down 2.4 per cent in the 416 region while up 15.5 per cent in the 905 area, according to TREB’s numbers, but prices were up 11.7 per cent in the 416 and 6.7 per cent in the 905.
The average sale price of a semi-detached was $642,112 in Toronto and $417,124 in the suburbs in October.
Townhouse sales were up 26.3 per cent in Toronto and 20.7 per cent in the regions, with average sale prices coming in at $473,240 and $378,688 respectively.
Resale condo sales also remained unusually healthy for a market that, just over a year ago, was thought to be at significant risk of a major downturn: Sales were up 20.4 per cent in Toronto and a whopping 35.6 per cent in the 905 regions.
The average sales price was up 7.2 per cent in Toronto in October, year over year, to $384,441 and up 4.3 per cent in the 905 region to $295,166.
Even the new condo market appears to be holding up unexpectedly well as sales return to more historic norms from the sky-high peak of the condo boom in 2011, says a third-quarter report on the market from condo research firm Urbanation, released Wednesday.
Developers are continuing to hold back on new launches and focus on selling off unsold inventory, which dropped for the first time in a year, to 18,814 units, it notes.
Just 11 new condo apartment projects with 2,557 apartments, most of them in the high-demand City of Toronto, launched in the third quarter of this year.
As a result of that pullback in new building, overall new condo sales for 2013 are expected to come in at just 13,000 units.
That’s less than half the 28,190 condo apartments sold in 2011 and down from almost 18,000 new units sold last year, says Urbanation.
The number of new condo suites sold in the third quarter of 2013 was down 8 per cent, year over year, the smallest decline in sales levels seen in over a year, it notes.
Sales in the downtown core, however, remain quite healthy, up 22 per cent year over year.
The average index sale price for new condos came in 2 per cent higher than the same period a year ago, at about $540 per square foot.
Sabrina Wong, Sales Representative
Century 21 Atria Realty Inc., Brokerage