Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto-Area Home Sales Hit Record High in 2016, Average Selling Price Soars

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto-Area Home Sales Hit Record High in 2016, Average Selling Price Soars

Article excerpt

Toronto home sales hit new high in 2016

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TORONTO - Annual home sales in the country's largest real estate market hit a record high last year, according to the latest data from the Toronto Real Estate Board, as activity in the closely watched Vancouver market began to slow.

TREB said Thursday its members had 113,133 residential property sales through the MLS system in 2016, an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to the previous year.

That includes 5,338 sales in December -- an increase of 8.6 per cent from December 2015, despite a tight supply of properties for sale.

"A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region's population continued to grow in 2016," TREB president Larry Cerqua said in a statement.

For the first time, the real estate board commissioned research firm Ipsos to conduct a survey on the activity by foreign buyers in the Toronto market.

The results of the online survey of 3,518 realtors, conducted between Oct. 6 and 21, suggested that 4.9 per cent of transactions in the Greater Toronto Area were with a foreign buyer.

In the City of Toronto, the rate of foreign buyers was five per cent.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

"With our low Canadian dollar we are a very good investment for foreign buyers," said Caroline Baile, a Toronto-area broker with Royal LePage Your Community Realty.

However, Baile said perceptions among some that foreigners are the main factor driving home prices higher are mistaken.

"We've got low inventory," Baile said. "We've got limited development land. Our interest rates are still really low. We've got low new home construction, a strong economy and steady immigration ... especially into the Toronto urban centre."

TREB reported the average price of a home sold in the Greater Toronto Area soared to $730,472 last month, up 20 per cent from December 2015.

The board's MLS house price index, which adjusts for the different types of properties, was up 21 per cent in December from a year earlier. …

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