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Ontarians have never been so sold on real estate, a new poll from a provincial board representing brokers and realtors suggests.

But there has been a shift in the kind of property those living in the Greater Toronto Area, the most populous part of the province, would like to purchase.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)’s home ownership index — based on survey responses from more than 1,000 Ontarians — has reached new heights, soaring to a rating of 131 points.

The record level is largely the byproduct of how respondents view their local markets’ performance over the past year, OREA says, as prices in many southern Ontario markets continue to soar.

Some 55 per cent of respondents to the survey, which Ipsos conducted from October 27th to the 31st, describe their neighbourhood’s real estate as “favourable,” while 51 per cent agree their area’s housing market is stronger than it was last year.

The six-figure price tag of the average detached home in the GTA didn’t stop half of all prospective homebuyers in the area from telling OREA they are likely to shell out for that kind of house over other more-affordable types.

In fact, although prices have risen, the share of respondents in the GTA who say they are looking for a detached home has increased 13 percentage points on a year-over-year basis.

These prospective buyers are respondents who indicated they were at least somewhat likely to purchase a place of their own within two years.

At the same time, interest in condos has faded. Nineteen per cent of respondents say they will probably buy a condo, down seven percentage points from a year ago.

Tim Hudak, OREA’s CEO, doesn’t expect Ontarians’ upbeat outlook to change any time soon.

“According to the results, it is likely that perceptions of strengthening markets will continue in Ontario into the foreseeable future,” says Hudak.

“Despite rising house prices in the GTA, buyers remain optimistic. In fact, even more Ontarians than last year say they intend to buy in the future. This speaks to the value of home ownership and the timelessness of this all-important commodity.”

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