GTA market: the gift that keeps giving

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Toronto brokers worried about a slowing market, don't. Toronto home sales grew as did prices, rising 4.1 per cent in January, compared to a year earlier.

The gains were highest in detached houses, but condos were also still higher in price than a year ago, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board’s January Market Watch report. Overall sales were also up 8.8 per cent from a year ago.

The average price of a detached home was $586,098 in January, up 8 per cent from a year ago. A condo apartment average price was $321,475, up 5 per cent. Townhouses showed the largest gain, up 9 per cent to reach $359,467.

“Low inventory levels have kept competition between buyers strong, resulting in robust annual rates of price growth over the last year,” said Jason Mercer, the TREB’s senior manager of market analysis. “Strong price growth is expected to attract more listings.”

As the listings grow, price growth will slow its increase, especially by the second half of 2012, he said.

Condos have already started to show some decline, as the average price dropped 2.6 per cent from December. At the same time, houses and townhouses continued to see price gains over the last month.

But even as prices rise, they haven’t pushed buyers out of the market, as sales remain brisk, said the TREB report.

“A favourable affordability picture bolstered by very low posted fixed mortgage rates has kept home buyers confident in their ability to achieve the Canadian goal of home ownership,” said TREB President Richard Silver.

The TREB will be taking part in a new way of reporting price increases, led by the Canadian Real Estate Association. The new MLS Home Price Index will be announced on Feb. 6 and is being touted as a less volatile measure of home prices and home price changes than the traditional median and average price measurements.

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