Another record-breaking month for GTA real estate

Another record-breaking month for GTA real estate

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March was another record-breaking month for real estate in the Greater Toronto Area, with new records set for the average price and number of sales.

After passing the $1m mark for the first time ever last month, March saw the average price for a home in the GTA rise to $1,097,565 according to a report released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board yesterday. That represented a 21.6% year-over-year increase in the average price – a remarkable number considering some of the dire predictions for real estate made by CMHC in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rise in prices was seen across the board, with new records for average price set in all regions of the GTA. Across those regions, the average price in March was: Toronto – $1,083,322; Dufferin County – $808,540; Durham Region – $901,322; Halton Region – $1,245,062; Peel Region – $1,061,015; Simcoe County – $924,585; York Region – $1,265,481.

Looking at the different types of property, across the GTA as a whole, there were new records for the average price of a detached home ($1,402,849), a freehold townhouse ($951,984), a condo townhouse ($765,522), and a condo apartment ($676,052).

Looking at the TRREB report, it is clear that demand was the main driver of the price increases. This can be seen in the number of sales in March, which also hit new highs. There was a total of 15,652 sales in the Greater Toronto Area in March – 97% more than March 2020. While we should take care comparing to March 2020 because of the lockdown and halt to real estate activity that occurred towards the end of that month, the numbers for March 2021 are still incredibly impressive. In fact, it is the highest number of sales ever recorded in a single month – 21.6% more than the previous high of 12,870 that was recorded in May 2016.

Once again, new records were set throughout the GTA, with ever region seeing the most sales ever in a single month: Toronto – 5,130 sales; Dufferin County – 114 sales; Durham Region – 2,077 sales; Halton Region – 1,647 sales; Peel Region – 3,185 sales; Simcoe County – 588 sales; York Region – 2,911 sales.

Unsurprisingly, with demand so high, the average number of days a listing spent on the market dropped to near-record levels. Across all of March, on average, a listing spent just 10 days on the market. There is only one month in the history of GTA real estate when the number of days on market has been lower, which was April 2017 at the height of the last surge in prices.

There was some good news on the supply front as the number of new listings rose 57.3% year-over-year. Again, we need to take care comparing to a month last year when the market effectively froze for a period. However, the total of 22,709 new listings was the second highest total ever recorded in the GTA; just below May 2017 when a record of 25,837 new listings were added to the market.

However, new listings are still growing at a slower rate than sales, meaning the supply can’t keep up with demand. That means active listings (the total available at the end of the month) are still well short of average totals and are close to some of the lowest totals ever recorded.

What does all this mean when combined? Well, the market is on fire right now. Low borrowing rates are enabling buyers to bid higher and lack of supply is creating intense competition for listings. With no sign of rates changing dramatically and with supply still not coming close to demand, we can expect the prices to continue increasing in the near future.

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