condo prices toronto

Condo prices are rising way faster in GTA suburbs than downtown Toronto

As pandemic restrictions start to lift and people prepare for a return to normalcy (or something like it), so too is the Toronto area real estate market beginning to look more and more like its old self again... with some notable geographic shifts.

The rush on detached homes seen earlier in the pandemic appears to have slowed down a bit (probably because they're so damn expensive) and condo sales, which slowed to a crawl last year, are rising again with vigour.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board's latest numbers show that sales for condos were up a staggering 170.7 per cent in May of 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, while detached home sales rose only (lol "only") 150.9 per cent during the same time period.

But sales aren't what people care about — let's talk prices, which, despite a sustained ebb in month-over-month sales during both April and May, hit a new record high across all property types for the GTA last month.

Broken down by property type, detached homes still cost way more on average than condos do. I mean, prices for single-family detached homes never dipped at all amid the pandemic, while average condo prices did drop by about 1-7. per cent on a yearly basis in April of 2020.

"Unlike single-family homes, which experienced a roaring rebound in demand over the course of lockdown, condo unit sales and price growth lagged for the remainder of the year, as buyers sought greater space further from higher-density urban centres," explains Zoocasa in a new report breaking down the phenomenon and where it is impacting prices the most.

"Today, that's no longer the case; as vaccines roll out and pandemic restrictions ease, it’s clear buyers are once again interested in high-density living at the heart of it all.... Affordability is front and centre: the average unit in the GTA cost $682,280, compared to $1,415,698 for a detached home."

Interestingly enough, though, it's not downtown condos that have seen the highest price jumps since the pandemic slump; Average condo prices in the City of Toronto were only up by 6.3 per cent, year over year, in May of 2021, while condo prices in 905 regions (aka the burbs) shot up during the same chunk of time by 21.4 per cent.

toronto condo prices

Demand surged for condos in the Greater Toronto Area between April of 2020 and May of 2021, driving up prices in some regions more than others. Graphic via Zoocasa.

"It's evident that following a year of unprecedented price growth in real estate – the national home price rose 38.4 per cent last month – demand is hottest for the most affordable entry points to the market," notes Zoocasa.

And according to their analysis, "it's the markets beyond big city limits that are seeing the most action."

The Canadian brokerage recently delved into average condo prices, sales, listings, and buying conditions between April 2020 (the depth of the pandemic sales slump) and May 2021 to find out which GTA regions saw the strongest pace of price growth for condo units.

As it turns out, the City of Toronto lagged behind most, bested by Simcoe, Durham and Halton regions.

You can see the full breakdown here or in the graphic below, but the bottom line is that condo living (slash investment) is on the upswing in GTA suburbs, particularly in Simcoe County (Barrie, Orillia, Innisfil, Collingwood) where prices have shot up 56 per cent since the pandemic slump, reaching a new average of $605,980.

In comparison, while condos in Toronto are more expensive, prices in the city proper only rose by 17 per cent.

It'll be interesting to see how much further prices shoot up, and where, before things stabilize in the suburban GTA condo market.

condo prices toronto

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