Record Home Sales – More than eight billion dollars. That’s how much new condominium buyers have spent throughout the Greater Toronto Area in just the first eight months of 2011 alone. By the end of August they’d purchased 18055 new condo units and spent $8.1-billion.
That’s more than the GTA sees in new condo sales annually in most years says George Carras president of real-estate research firm RealNet Canada. “If we didn’t sell another condo it would already be the best year of the last decade save 2007 and 2010” he says. “If you finished 2011 at the same rate that you finished 2010 — and so far we’ve actually been tracking about 42% higher than 2010 — you’d finish at about 27000 units which would be a record year for new-condo sales.”
Mr. Carras also expects Toronto to take top honours across North America. Last year the GTA was the top housing market in North America. While it’s hard to know for sure whether that will happen again (not all markets track their numbers in the same way throughout the year making it difficult to compare at this point) he’s betting on a similar showing in 2011: “We’re ahead of last year and you’ve not heard any news that’s terribly comforting south of the border so I imagine we’ll retain our No. 1 position” he says. “In high density for sure.”
While RealNet hadn’t released its September market numbers as of press time August only added to those predictions with more than double the new high-rise sales throughout the GTA compared with August 2010. An interesting change of pace: The 905 regions outsold Toronto proper — a first in the GTA new condo market.
“A typical market is 25% 905 sales and 75% 416. This time it was almost 60% 905 and 40% 416” Mr. Carras says. “It was one month so I wouldn’t read too much into it but it shows that … the high-density format has proven itself in the 905.”
The marketplace in the 905 is maturing says Joe Vaccaro acting president of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Municipalities over the past couple of years have encouraged intensification and condominium growth especially along transportation corridors. August showed the fruition of that with some successful project launches.
“High-rise is the new reality of the 905” Mr. Vaccaro says. “Low-rise options are limited because of government policies and zoning and as a result 905 buyers are looking at condos as the entry point to get into the market.”
Empty nesters in the 905 are also looking for new alternatives. While the segment often doesn’t want to move far from home he says they’re willing to explore the localcondo options.
“It’s just a general recognition in the 905 that condos are a housing option and I think we’re going to see more of that — and we’re going to see more and more projects opening in the 905 taking advantage of that market segment” Mr. Vaccaro says.
Article by Lisa Van de Ven