toronto-skyline-home-sales Photo: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

The Greater Toronto Area remains on pace to break an annual record for home sales for a second consecutive year following August’s elevated level of activity.

A total of 9,813 homes changed hands in August, up 23.5 per cent compared to activity recorded via the Toronto Real Estate Board’s multiple listing service (MLS) system during the same month a year ago, the board says.

Granted, that year-over-year comparison doesn’t quite tell the whole story, TREB suggests. A day or two can go a long way to skewing the numbers, it turns out.

“It is important to note that the majority of sales are reported on working days and there were two additional working days in August 2016 compared to 2015,” the board says.

“When the year-over-year discrepancy in working days is accounted for, the annual percentage change in sales is closer to 13 per cent,” TREB continues.

Counting all transactions regardless of housing type, the average residential sale price was $710,410 last month, representing a 17.7 per cent increase over August 2015.

Prices continued to soar as listings plummeted. At the end of August, there were 9,949 homes actively listed for sale, a sharp 37.8 per cent decline from a year ago.

And the number of new homes listed for sale on TREB’s MLS throughout the month wilted 1.2 per cent year-over-year, totalling 12,409 listings by the month’s end.

Larry Cerqua, TREB’s president, notes the effect this is having on home prices in the GTA.

“Unfortunately, we did not see any relief on the listings front, with the number of new listings down compared to last year. This situation continued to underpin very strong home price growth, irrespective of home type or area,” he says a statement.

Detached homes in the GTA sold for an average of $964,002, up 21.5 per cent from a year ago, while the average condo price climbed 9.8 per cent to $417,869.

Jason Mercer, TREB’s market analysis director, specified three reasons this should be another banner year for home sales across the GTA.

“Population in the GTA continues to grow. The resulting growth in households coupled with favourable economic conditions and low borrowing costs means that we remain on track for another record year for home sales,” he says in a statement.

In 2015, 101,299 home sales — the current annual record — were recorded through TREB’s MLS system. The previous record was set in 2007, when 93,193 homes changed hands.

While the GTA heads towards what could be another record year, TREB has vowed to release results from third-party research and consumer and realtor survey results in the coming months.

“Discussions focusing on foreign buying activity and issues affecting the supply of ownership housing” will accompany the research, says Mercer.

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