Total housing sales and rents rose more than 1 percent in February, with condos and apartments faring the best, the Toronto Real Estate Board said on Thursday. Sales rose to 15,569 from 15,368, while average prices edged up 1.4 percent to $782,826, TREB said.
The condo market led the growth, with sales climbing 11.3 percent from January and prices surging 7.6 percent from a year earlier. Sales of apartment and condo units climbed 11.5 percent while the price of apartments rose 1.7 percent, the real estate board said.
“The resale market continued to have a healthy level of activity throughout February, and while sales have been trending higher over the last three months it is important to point out that it remains very quiet compared to historical levels,” Jason Mercer, the board’s director of market analysis, said in a statement. “On a year-over-year basis resale activity is still negative, but it is a positive trend.”
Although GTA units were not as heavily hit as nearby areas during the recession, with prices of detached units up 9.7 percent last year compared to a 17.2 percent increase in the rest of Canada, the market has seen a recent lift from the announcement of a five-year transit plan that includes extensions to the subway network, among other things. Still, many analysts have expressed skepticism about whether those transit improvements will help support home prices in a market where thousands of new condominium units are being built every year.
Across the GTA, sales are expected to remain “at a very moderate pace” through the first half of the year as speculative buyers head for the sidelines, Mercer said. But the outlook for 2021 “seems more robust, with a more balanced resale market and prices and gains potentially continuing,” he said.