TRREB: GTA Condo Sales Spike, Rentals Hit Record in Q1 2021

After a series of impressive monthly sales reports from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), it should come as no surprise that the first quarterly report of 2021 reflects that significant spike in sales activity in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Year-over-year growth in condo sales during the quarter far outpaced the number of new listings, leading to a tightening of market conditions and a corresponding jump in average selling price—specifically in the 905 region—though Toronto proper’s average condo price has not yet caught up to last year’s levels. 

TRREB condominium market report, Greater Toronto Area, real estateConstruction in Mississauga, image by Forum contributor Jasonzed

During the first quarter of 2021, a total of 9,398 condominium apartment sales were recorded, representing a towering leap of 79.8% compared to 5,226 in Q1 2020. The number of new listings also took a pronounced jump, with 11,373 in Q1 2021 marking a 42.8% jump over last year. Active listings were also on the rebound, with 2,811 marking a 23.6% increase versus the close of Q1 2020.

“While the condo market was slower to recover compared to low-rise market segments, many realtors have noted a marked increase in condo interest since the beginning of 2021. This interest will likely continue to increase as the economy improves and vaccine take-up accelerates, resulting in more confidence for first-time buyers,” reads a statement from TRREB President Lisa Patel.

Despite sustained growth, average selling prices in Toronto proper still sit well below the 2020 level. GTA average condominium apartment selling prices dropped by 1.4% year-over-year in the quarter, falling to $645,219. Though 905 selling prices increased, the GTA-wide decline is attributed to a 4.6% drop in average Toronto condo selling price, now at $675,844.

“Consumer polling conducted by Ipsos in the late fall last year suggested that there was a substantial number of people intending on buying their first home in 2021. Whether we’re talking about Toronto or the surrounding suburbs, the condominium apartment is the logical entry point into the ownership market for many households,” reads a statement from TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

In the rental market, Q1 2021 has seen average condominium apartment rents decline, as year-over-year growth in rental transactions outstrips growth in the number of new units listed. This apparent tightening of rental market conditions is evidenced by record numbers of new rental transactions, with 13,168 reported during the quarter. This marks an 81.6% increase over the 7,251 rentals in Q1 2020, while the number of condo apartments listed for rent was rose similarly by 78.8%

“The number of condo apartment rentals reported in the first quarter represented a new record for the first three months of the year. This suggests we are accounting for pent-up rental demand from 2020. Strong rental demand is also an indicator of broader economic recovery with people willing to sign rental agreements because they are confident in their future job and income prospects,” stated TRREB President Lisa Patel.

Notable declines in the average price of rent were recorded in Q1 2021. One-bedroom average rents fell 16.8% to $1,820, against the Q1 2020 average of $2,187. Average two-bedroom rents dropped 13%, from $2,812 last year to the new average of $2,447.

“Average rents continued to be down on a year-over-year basis, as the supply and therefore choice for renters remained very high from a historic perspective. However, if growth in rental transactions continues to outstrip growth in listings, market conditions will become tighter as we move through 2021 and even more so in 2022 as immigration and non-permanent migration rebound,” stated TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

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