toronto-home-sunset Photo: Diego Torres Silvestre/Flickr

It was a year of firsts for the Greater Toronto Area’s housing market.

A majority of the area’s residential real estate transactions in 2015 involved first-time buyers, a recent poll of homeowners suggests.

To support its forecast for the 2016 GTA housing market and 2015 review, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) brought on Ipsos Reid, the pollster perhaps most known for its Canadian political surveys.

The resulting Ipsos Home Owners Survey, which included 1,000 GTA residents aged 18 and up who said they bought a home in the last 12 months as of November, found 53 per cent of these recent buyers had never purchased a dwelling before.

“These results bolster the argument that people in Toronto and the surrounding regions continue to view home ownership as a solid long-term investment,” says Sean Simpson, Ipsos Reid’s vice president, in a statement.

“This includes young people aged 18 to 34, who made up the majority of intending first-time buyers,” he added.

Over the last year, the share of first-timers among homebuyers in Toronto was higher than what was observed in the rest of the GTA, the findings suggest.

Some 60 per cent of recent homebuyers in Toronto were property virgins before their purchase.

“The fact that the first-time buyer percentage was higher in the City of Toronto likely speaks to the prevalence of condominium apartments, which generally sell at a lower price per square foot than low-rise home types and thus represent a popular entry point into home ownership,” TREB explained in its Market Year in Review & Outlook report.

Looking at the GTA excluding Toronto, newcomers to real estate took part in 47 per cent of transactions from November 2014 to the same month last year.

Ipsos carried out the survey, based on 2,500 online interviews with GTA homeowners, from November 3rd to the 20th.

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