Toronto-area home sales, average prices soar in August

The Toronto area's real estate industry says it set a new August record for home sales and a 17.2 per cent increase in the average sale price.

Average home sale price jumped 17.2 per cent

The average sale price in Toronto was up 17.2 per cent in August, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

A record number of homes were sold in the Greater Toronto Area last month as listings continued to dwindle, the city's real estate board said Wednesday.

The Toronto Real Estate Board said its members had 9,813 sales in August, a 23.5 per cent increase from the same month last year, though there were two more working days this year.

Still, even adjusting for an equal number of days, last month's sales volume in the Greater Toronto Area was up about 13 per cent from August 2015.

"The conditions underlying strong demand for ... housing remained in place, including a relatively strong regional economy, growth in average earnings and low borrowing costs," Larry Cerqua, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, said in a statement.

"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."

The average price for homes sold, regardless of type of property, was $710,410, an increase of 17.7 per cent. Detached homes in the city of Toronto proper cost on average $1.2 million, up 18.3 per cent.

Some industry observers have voiced concerns that Vancouver's new 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers could send investors to Toronto, driving up prices in a market that is already scorching.

Sales in Vancouver dropped 26 per cent in August compared to a year ago, following the introduction of the tax on Aug. 2.

Prices in Vancouver continued to rise, however, with the benchmark price for all residential properties climbing 31.4 per cent from a year ago to $933,100.