Toronto's condo market rebounds as new highrise units outsell new houses
It looks like the COVID-induced sales lull for condos in Toronto has tapered off a bit, at least in terms of new builds, thanks in large part to scores of hot residential developments finally opening downtown.
The GTA-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) just released sales figures for February of 2021 declaring that the region's new home market is "busy," albeit not quite as busy as last February's.
"GTA new home sales continued strong in February of this year, though below the record-setting pre-pandemic performance of February 2020," says the report, published in collaboration with market intelligence firm Altus Group on Monday.
"We need to be careful when comparing February of this year to the exceptionally busy month of February 2020, just before the pandemic hit," said BILD president Dave Wilkes in a release revealing the figures.
"We are talking about completely different sets of circumstances. The fact is that February 2021 was a solid month when compared with the 10-year average."
Sales of all new home types in the Toronto area are down 34 per cent year over year but still came in at nine per cent above the 10-year average last month, further demonstrating just how truly bonkers the market has been since COVID hit.
What's particularly interesting about this latest data is that new condominiums actually outsold new single-family homes, which BILD defines as detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses.
Some 1,617 single-family units were sold last month, while 1,623 new condos were sold during the same period. That's down a walloping 38 per cent, year over year, and only even with the 10-year-average, but given the way this market has been moving, it's a noteworthy feat.
Houses have been a hot commodity during the pandemic, with sales of new single-family homes reaching record high sales figures in September of 2020 — the highest numbers BILD had seen since 2003.
Single-family homes, while still in demand, aren't selling quite as well as they could be due to a lack of market supply, both in terms of new builds and resellers.
Inventory remains a challenge for condos as well, but that market at least seems to be stabilizing a bit when contrasted against the past 12 months, and is expected to grow as more high-profile new developments enter the sales phase.
Condo sales in general, old and new, fell off steeply a few months into the pandemic as listings for tiny units filled the market and young office workers left the downtown core in droves for bigger, cheaper places.
They picked up again early this year, however, after prices started dropping and people set out in search of bargains.
"Sales in the new condominium apartment sector in the GTA returned to a more typical level in February," said Altus Group's Ryan Wyse in this week's release.
"With additional new supply on the horizon, the spring market will likely yield its usual increase in activity; however, economic challenges related to the pandemic remain and will continue to provide some obstacles in the near term."
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