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Never in the history of the Greater Toronto Area has there been a hotter August for condo sales.

In the midst of a pandemic, the Building Industry and Land Development Association said sales jumped 35 per cent from a year ago and sat 129 per cent above the 10-year average. Single family home did less well, down 15 per cent from the 10-year average.

“Buyers flocked to the new condominium apartment market in record numbers in August as builders pumped in unprecedented levels of new supply,” said Edward Jegg, analytics team leader at Altus Group. “But in the new single-family sector, supply shortages continued to weigh on sales.”

That shortage led to higher prices – with the benchmark price for a single-family home hitting a record high of $1,521,968 in August. That’s an increase of 30 per cent in a year.

The benchmark price for new condominium apartments eased in August compared to the previous month, to $1,069,700, which was up 10 per cent over the last 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, housing starts have been their strongest since the mid-1970s and the number of homes under construction is at an all-time high, according to new research published today by RBC’s senior economist Robert Hogue.

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a historic drop in interest rates. Coupled with changing homeowner needs and increased levels of household savings, Hogue says buyers gobbled up the stock of existing for-sale properties and drained new home inventories.

“These, and sky-rocketing prices, proved unambiguous signals for builders—and municipal permit-issuing authorities—to get cracking and expand Canada’s housing stock,” said Hogue.

Over the past 12 months, builders have poured foundations for 260,500 homes, which is considered a housing start. This is the highest quantity since 1977. It also marks a 26 per cent increase, or 53,600 more units, relative to the 2015-2019 average pace of 206,900 units.

There are almost 320,000 housing units under construction nationwide, 30,000 units more than the end of 2019. Three-quarters of this total is dedicated to apartments, most of which are tenured as condos according to Hogue.

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