Toronto real estate set records in September as COVID-19 cases rise

Home sales were stronger in the Greater Toronto Area's suburbs than the city's core (Getty Images)
Home sales were stronger in the Greater Toronto Area’s suburbs than the city’s core (Getty Images)

The Greater Toronto Area’s real estate market had its busiest September on record, even as COVID-19 cases rise and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) wound down.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) says 11,083 homes were sold during the month, 42.3 per cent more than September 2019.

TRREB continued to beat the drum of pent up demand to explain the unusually strong sales this late in the year, combined with low interest rates. But it also warned the pandemic’s economic effects could cool the market in the coming months.

“Further improvements in the economy, including job growth, would support strong home sales moving forward,” said TRREB president Lisa Patel, in a release. “However, it will be important to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, the related government policy response, and the impact on jobs and consumer confidence.”

As has been the trend during the pandemic, year over year sales growth was led by detached (54.7 per cent), semi-detached (53 per cent), and townhomes (46.9 per cent). Condo apartment sales were up 14.6 per cent).

A segmented housing market

The other trend that continued to make a mark was stronger sales in the suburbs, with 3,555 properties changing hands in the city of Toronto or the 416 area code, compared to the 905 regions led by South Simcoe County (20 per cent), Orangeville (17.43 per cent), and Durham region (17.07 per cent).

The uneven demand for higher-priced types of homes pushed the average selling price up to $960,772 – up by 14 per cent year over year and a new record. The MLS composite, which aims to smooth out those kinds of distortions, was up 11 per cent. 

“On a GTA-wide basis, market conditions tightened in September relative to last year, with sales increasing at a faster pace than new listings,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s chief market analyst.

“With competition between buyers increasing noticeably, double-digit year-over-year price growth was commonplace throughout the region in September, resulting in the overall average selling price reaching a new record.”

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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