[heading subtitle=”Average price jumps 7.4 per cent in a year”]Toronto Real Estate Board says, and sales leap 15.4 per cent. [/heading]
Gera Nevolovich has accepted that he will never be able to afford a house in Toronto for his two young sons. He considers himself lucky to be living in the next best thing — a two-bedroom condo within easy walking distance of the Davisville Park soccer fields.
His family of four is just one tiny part of the wave now pushing the GTA condo market to new highs: Sales were up 20 per cent in June, year over year, and the average price of a condo in the City of Toronto has climbed to almost $400,000, according to figures released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Friday.
With the price of houses continuing to skyrocket out of reach — a detached in the city averaged $921,127 in June — the two-bedroom condo and the townhouse condo are quickly becoming the hottest tickets in town for young buyers, realtors say.
“I’m seeing people really changing their expectations now and asking, ‘Do we want that house or do we want the city?’ ” says realtor Lauren Haw. “Obviously houses are still hot and that’s not going to cool down anytime soon, but we’re really seeing the comeback of the condo.”
Surprisingly, a good number of young buyers now are just like the 33-year-old Nevolovich: They got hooked on condo life close to city amenities but were forced out of their one-bedroom suites when their babies were born, only to find that life in a big house with a killer commute to work just wasn’t worth the price.
“We had a dream of having a place where we could put a little swimming pool out back in the summer for the kids. We were happy … for about a week,” he says of the four-bedroom Maple home where they lived until a year ago, before moving into a two-bedroom condo in the Yonge-Eglinton area.
“The disillusionment hit when all the maintenance started piling up. The hour-long commute up and down the 400 has turned into a seven-minute walk to the office.”
The down side, he admits, is having to make calls from the balcony when his sons, aged 3 and 2, are napping.
Condos, in fact, led the way in year-over-year sales growth across the GTA in June, according to TREB.
Condo sales were up 21.4 per cent in the City of Toronto in June from a year ago, and up 16.7 per cent in the 905 regions.
Prices were also up: 6.3 per cent in the City of Toronto to an average of $390,569 and 7.5 per cent in the 905 regions to $309,719.
Realtors say they’ve seen a growing confidence in the condo market since sales, and prices, slipped two years ago and many buyers jumped to the sidelines, only to watch house prices rise out of sight, leaving condos as the only affordable option.
Demand has really picked up for condos built a decade or so ago, say realtors, because they tend to offer better and bigger living space than today’s new units, which now average less than 800 square feet, down from over 900 square feet that new units averaged just five years ago.
But space seems to be the big draw at almost any price point, notes realtor Andrew Harrild, who just listed a 1,571 square foot loft on Broadview Ave. this week for almost $1 million and was shocked to have 15 requests for showings the first day.
While June is normally the start of the summer slowdown, realtors credit the long winter with later-than-usual demand that helped push up sales 15.4 per cent in June, year over year, and saw GTA house prices climb to $568,953, up 7.4 per cent over a year ago, according to TREB.
Semi-detached homes were also in top demand — in large part a reflection of the leap in prices for detached homes — with the average sale price up almost 16.1 per cent, year over year, to an average of $672,725 in the 416 region and $448,531 in the 905 regions.
Detached homes, which had edged perilously close to $1 million in the 416 back in the spring when higher-end new infill homes saw a spike in sales, slipped again in June, to an average sale price of $921,127 in the City of Toronto and $641,972 in the suburban regions.
Townhouses and row houses saw sales climb 14.5 per cent across the GTA, with average prices up 10.9 per cent to $485,273 in the City of Toronto and up 7 per cent, to $402,261 in the 905 regions, according to TREB.
Source: Susan Pigg @ The Toronto Star