Sep 10 | Posted by Barry Cohen

When I am asked “What’s new in the housing market in the GTA these days”?  I respond with “absolutely nothing”.  While that may sound glib, it’s completely true.  Demand remains fierce, new records are set every month, inventory remains scarce and prices keep going up and this has been the case for quite some time.

July figures from TREB (The Toronto Real Estate Board) reported 9,880 sales a noteworthy jump of 8 percent from just one year ago. These figures were representative of all housing types with condos showing the biggest increase.  TREB’s MLS Home Price Index that tracks the benchmark rose by 9.4% with average prices climbing by 10.6 percent to $609,236.  Sales and prices have surged to the point where real estate transactions have continually topped the $6 billion mark every month since May.  

The average price of a detached home across the GTA rose by 13.3 percent to $996,770, while the same properties in the 416 area code leaped over the $1 million mark.  Condo sales in the GTA climbed by 14.4 percent last month and prices increased by 4.1. percent.  As available inventory remains lows, listings are generating lots of interest sparking bidding wars and properties selling for over list price is almost the norm.  This starts the cycle of price increases which are now well above the rate of inflation.  Market analysists predict interest rates to remain where they are over the next four months and providing economic conditions stay relatively the same we can expect strong price growth to become the standard for the rest of 2015.

Toronto is leading the country in sales of luxury real estate too easily surpassing Vancouver.  Sales of properties over $1 million skyrocketed by 56% in the first half of the year in the GTA and only 48 percent in Vancouver compared to the same period last year.  Both cities face growing domestic and international demand for luxury housing along with inventory shortages especially in prime neighbourhoods and particularly for single-family homes.

The benchmark for luxury homes used to be $1 million and over, but as the price for conventional real estate continues to rise and the average single family home in the GTA and Vancouver surpasses that figure the entry price point for luxury housing also increased.  Performance of the luxury market in Toronto and Vancouver is better represented by the sale of properties in the $2.4 million and $4 million plus range.  Using this new criteria both markets saw significant gains.  Sales of homes over the $2.4 million mark rose by 46% while those topping $4 million climbed by a whopping 72 percent.

The so-called “bursting bubble” types are still preaching their doom and gloom, but their audience is dwindling because based on facts and figures the GTA real estate market isn’t going anywhere but up – which is absolutely nothing new.