cabbagetownhouses Photo: Payton Chung/Flickr

The first quarter of the year generally isn’t the hottest for Greater Toronto Area real estate, but as far as they go, 2016’s was the busiest on record, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

A total of 22,575 homes changed hands through TREB’s MLS system in the GTA through the first three months this year. This was the most ever recorded during this period and up 15.8 per cent from a year ago, the board said in its quarterly Market Watch released today.

For March only, home sales totalled 10,326, representing a 16.2 per cent increase from the same month a year ago.

Last month, the average price of an existing home — including detached and semi-detached homes, as well as townhouses and condo apartments — hit $688,181, which is 12.1 per cent greater than it was in March 2015, when it was $613,815.

“Demand was clearly not an issue in the first three months of 2016, regardless of the housing market segment being considered,” McLean says in a statement. “The supply of listings, however, continued to aggravate many would-be home buyers,” he says.

At the end of the month, there were 12,132 homes for sale on TREB’s MLS system, down 20.7 per cent from the supply buyers could browse 12 months earlier.

“We could have experienced even stronger sales growth were it not for the constrained supply of listings, especially in the low-rise market segments,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s market analysis director, in the same statement.

“The resulting strong competition between buyers has underpinned the double-digit rates of price growth experienced so far this year,” Mercer continues.

Detached homes remained most expensive of all housing types in March, with an average price of $910,375 across the GTA, up 15.7 per cent from a year ago.

Condo apartments were most affordable, as their average price was $389,319, a 4.3 per cent increase from March 2015.

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