Home sales in the GTA last month declined by 2% from June and by 14.9% from July 2020, but the average price ticked up on a monthly basis by 0.9% and year-over-year by 12.6% to $1,062,256 as a consequence of sales comprising a higher share of listings, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).
Condo sales in the region grew by 8.2% year-over-year to 2,614 (1,756 in the 416 and 858 in the 905), according to the TRREB data, while prices rose by 6% to $674,490. The average sale price of a 416 condo last month was $715,977, up by 4.8%, and in the 905 the median price increased by 11.70% to $589,582.
“Demand for ownership housing has remained strong despite a pandemic-related lull in population growth. Of specific note is the condominium apartment market, which has seen a marked turn-around in 2021 with sales up compared to last year. First-time buyers, many of whom were slower to benefit from the initial recovery phase, remain very active in the market place,” said Kevin Crigger, president of TRREB.
A dearth of inventory relative to demand in July drove prices up. Thinking that a semblance of normalcy, included muted activity in the summer, had returned to the market this year, Erica Mary Smith, broker of record at Stomp Realty in Toronto, had expected prices to decrease in July, but not all house hunters took reprieve from the market. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“We anticipated July and August to be a lot quieter, and so far, that hasn’t been the case,” said Smith. “We find demand, especially for freehold, is high, and any good condo you put out gets multiple offers. We put a good one up the other day and it had eight offers. What’s interesting about this condo is that we listed it at the beginning of the year and couldn’t sell it.”
The condo in question is a 650 sq ft one-bedroom unit on Bathurst between Adelaide and Richmond that was listed for $750,000 and sold for $850,000 to a first-time homebuyer.
“You would think if there were one or two offers you’d have a chance, but as a first-time homebuyer could you imagine spending $850,000 on a 650 sq ft condo?” said Smith.
As is becoming typical in hyperactive real estate markets like Toronto’s—and this held true in the years leading up to the pandemic—homebuyers who were afraid of being priced out of the market haven’t been passive, and that’s what pushed prices up last month, says Smith.
“First-time homebuyers, like so many other people, were scared by COVID, but everybody has jumped into the market. What’s happened now is people are scared that it’s never going to quiet down, even with the stress test, which I haven’t seen slow anything down. They’re trying to make it tougher for people to get financing, but it’s had minimal effect. What’s happening is listings are declining and everyone is trying to get into the market, but with the lack of inventory, prices are being driven up and, because inventory is down, bidding wars are back and they’re rampaging.”
Smith added that condo listings in desirable areas, which are mostly in downtown Toronto, like St. Lawrence Market and King West, and even around Yonge and Sheppard where there’s a subway station, invariably have bidding wars.
According to the TRREB data broken down by housing type, there were 4,121 detached home sales in the GTA in July, which was a 26.40% decline from the same month in 2020, but the average sale price surged by 21.70% to $1,405,478. In the 416 there were only 850 detached sales, marking a 22.30% year-over-year decrease despite the sale price rising by 5.70% to $1,633,649, and sales in the 905 fell by 27.40% to 3,271 but the median price increased by 27% to $1,346186.
Semi-detached home sales in the GTA declined by 18.50% in the GTA in July from a year earlier to 868, but the average sale price rose by 12.20% to $1,027,895, while sales in Toronto proper decreased by 25.30% to 278, despite the price rising by 2.1% to $1,205,814, and transactions in the 905 dropped by 14.90% to 590, although the median sale price surged by 22.10% to $944,062.
Townhouse sales in the GTA declined by 8.20% to 1,694 but the average transaction price shot up 15.90% to $849,950; in the 416, the 368 sales were down 6.10% but the average price rose by 5.10% to $893,347; and in the 905, the 1,326 sales marked an 8.70% drop even though the price was up by 19.30% to $837,906.