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Toronto, Vancouver house sales set blistering pace in November

Home sales are at record levels in Toronto and near record levels in Vancouver, despite a steep run-up in prices that is putting housing out of reach of many first-time buyers.

Prices continue to climb in the year to November, up 9.6% in Toronto, 17.8% in Vancouver

Average condo prices in Toronto rose 5.4 per cent from a year ago. In Vancouver, the benchmark price of a typical condo was rising at 14 per cent annually in November. Thousands of new condos are coming on the market in Toronto. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

Home sales are at record levels in Toronto and near record levels in Vancouver, despite a steep run-up in prices that is putting housing out of reach for many first-time buyers.

The era of rock-bottom mortgage rates shows signs of ending, with bond yields on the rise and the U.S. set to raise its benchmark rate late this month, but demand for homes was still outpacing supply in Canada's two hottest housing markets.

A record 7,385 homes were sold in Toronto in November and in Vancouver a near-record 3,524 changed hands.

Home sales in Toronto through the first 11 months of 2015 amounted to 96,401, already more than the previous calendar-year record set in 2007.

November is traditionally one of the slowest months for real estate sales.

High prices, even for condos

Both markets continue to defy predictions that they are overvalued and that prices will have to come down. 

The Toronto Real Estate Board estimates that the average price of a Toronto home was up by 9.6 per cent year-over-year to $632,685 in November.

The price of a detached house within the city of Toronto was up 8.8 per cent over the past year to an average of $1,018,621, while detached homes in the 905 area just outside the city rose by 10.7 per cent to $829,241. There is a tight supply of detached homes, with few listings and high demand.

By contrast, a condo in Toronto cost 5.4 per cent more than it did a year ago, at an average of $415,316, and one in the 905 was 4.1 per cent more expensive at $385,506. The more modest price increase in condos reflects a big spike in new condo construction in and around the city.

Vancouver home sales in November were up 40.1 per cent from last year.

The MLS composite benchmark price for all homes in Metro Vancouver rose by 17.8 per cent over the past year to $752,500.

A total of 1,335 detached properties were resold in Metro Vancouver and the benchmark price was up 22.6 per cent from November 2014 to $1,226,300. A shortage of listings and intense demand is driving up the price of detached homes, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

There were 1,553 apartment properties sold and the benchmark price increased 14 per cent in the year to $435,000. Vancouver doesn't have as much new condo construction as Toronto and that is pushing prices higher more quickly.

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