Toronto’s home sales saw a drop as regions outside of the city saw an increase in residents buying property.
A recent report by Zoocasa looked at home sales and average sold price data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) for the period between April 2020 to December 2020, to quantify the trend of urban flight during the pandemic within the GTA.
When looking at Toronto, condo apartment sales dipped 12% year-over-year to 11,634; however, sold prices remained relatively steady with a slight 3% increase to $662,959.
Across all GTA regions, condo apartment sales noted the sharpest decline in Peel Region with 20%.
Despite the drop in sales, however, the average home price for condo apartments grew 9% to $515,801 in Peel, “possibly driven by buyers seeking larger units with more square footage due to pandemic-driven lifestyle shifts.”
Within Peel Region, condo sales declined 22% in Brampton and 20% in Mississauga, while prices rose 13% and 8% respectively in both municipalities.
Elsewhere across the GTA, condo apartment sales grew year-over-year, and average sold prices followed.
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Notably, Simcoe County had a 108% increase in condo apartment sales year-over-year, and a 14% increase in the average sold price for condo apartments.
“It’s worth noting, however, that the total volume of condo apartment sales in the region during this timeframe was relatively low, with just 106 condos being sold,” the report said.
In Durham Region, sales increased 22%, while in Halton Region and York Region, condo apartment sales increased by 3% and 4%, respectively.
“Housing activity is off the charts in Durham Region. Following a brief lull at the beginning of 2020 and through April, buyers returned to the market in full force, and a lot faster than sellers did,” said Zoocasa agent David Micek.
As such, Micek notes that inventory has been slow to catch up to growing demand, resulting in competitive market conditions and upward pressure on house prices.
This can be seen with the average detached and semi-detached house price in Durham, which rose 18% or $117,263. The average price in Scugog and Brock, where sales growth for houses was highest, increased $170,535 and $84,013, respectively.
A Statistics Canada report shows that Canadians were “opting to live outside of Canada’s largest urban centres” between July 2019 and 2020, contributing to ongoing urban sprawl.
The report indicates people’s “shifting lifestyle priorities” as the pandemic continues. More people want extra space to work from home, and to be closer to green space, as indoor activities remain closed.
However, according to Royal LePage CEO and President Phil Sopher, urban living will always be in demand, and when looking to invest in a property, one must look long-term past the pandemic.