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Home sales in what turned out to be the coolest month for Greater Toronto Area residential transactions last year heated up in 2016.

A total of 4,672 homes changed hands via the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service system throughout January, representing an 8.2 per cent increase over activity during January 2015.

This total includes standalones, semi-detached dwellings, townhouses, and condos, and excludes new-construction homes.

Some 1,699 of January’s sales involved homes located within the City of Toronto’s borders, while the remaining 2,973 were for properties spread across the rest of the GTA.

In January 2014, the 4,318 home sales recorded were the fewest of any month that year. The only other month in 2014 to see under 6,000 transactions was December, when 4,935 were recorded.

These are historically the slowest months for home sales, Jason Mercer, the board’s market analysis director, tells BuzzBuzzHome.

“You’re talking about the holiday season, right in the middle of winter,” he adds, citing reasons for consistently dampened activity.

The average selling price in January for homes across the GTA was $631,092, up 14.1 per cent from a year ago.

Looking at only the City of Toronto, that number rises to $636,728, and for the GTA excluding the city, the average home price was $627,871.

Detached homes were the most expensive housing type, carrying an average price tag of $848,999 in the GTA, or $1,061,789 in just the City of Toronto and $783,565 in the 905 region.

Condos were the cheapest. The average price for a GTA condo was $386,165 in January, but when units in the City of Toronto — where the average price was $416,104 — are removed from the equation, that price falls to $319,855.

Mercer cautions market-watchers from using January’s numbers to gauge how the housing market might perform for the year.

“It’s certainly not a month that you want to use a barometer for the year as a whole,” he says, explaining that the smaller sample pool of activity means statistics are more prone to swings.

“There’s a lot of factors that can drive home sales in January and it can be quite volatile.”

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