TORONTO — The Greater Toronto Area's heated real estate market further intensified last month as home sales topped a November record and average selling prices reached a new all-time high.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reported Friday that 9,017 homes changed hands last month, up three per cent from 8,728 during the prior November.
The average home price in the region stretched to $1,163,323, an almost 22 per cent jump from $955,889 in November 2020.
The board and brokers said the figures show demand for all types of housing in the region is continuing to outpace supply, but the condo market, in particular, is tightening and prices are accelerating more rapidly in suburban areas.
"Last month, I had the pleasure of working with some buyers in Vaughan and it was interesting because when I started talking to them, they had the budget for a detached home," said Terry Parkinson, an agent with Royal LePage Signature Realty.
"Suddenly, with their budget, they were lucky to get a semi. We were watching daily and couldn't believe how prices were changing."
Brokers and real estate organizations have long attributed the meteoric rise in prices and steady climb in heated conditions to a lack of housing inventory.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they also noticed that the combination of low interest rates, favourable mortgage terms and the ability to work from home were driving buyers.
But now many are simply wading into the market because they see no reprieve on the horizon.
"They feel like ... if we don't bite now, we're never going to get in, like it's a do-or-die thing," said Parkinson.
These buyers are anxious because across all housing categories there were fewer homes on the market than last November, when the end of the year brought lockdowns and delivered an unexpected spike in home sales.
New listings fell by 13 per cent to 10,036 last month from 11,556 in November 2020.
Prices were simultaneously rising.
Last month, TRREB reported the average condo price in the region reached $715,104, while detached homes rang in at more than $1.5 million and townhouses went for about $962,044.
Average prices in the 416 — a nickname for the city of Toronto that excludes its suburbs — topped all of the regional averages with detached homes reaching more than $1.8 million, townhouses hitting $981,759 and $745,951 for condos.
In suburban regions of the GTA, known as the 905, the average price was more than $1.4 million for a detached home, $955,010 for a townhouse and $646,211 for a condo.
Robert Kavcic, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, doesn't expect those numbers to drop until the country's central bank takes action.
"This market is only going to cool when the Bank of Canada decides to raise rates, and sufficiently so to bring variable rates more in-line with those now seen in the fixed market," he said, in an email to The Canadian Press.
"Their most recent guidance pointed to rate hikes around the middle of next year, but the risk is that those moves begin sooner in 2022."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press