After bearing the brunt of the impact of the pandemic on the Greater Toronto real estate market, condominium sales and prices have roared back to life in both the city and suburbs in 2021. Year-to-date sales of condominium apartments and townhomes (January 1 to August 31) have climbed 71 per cent year-over year, to 30,383 units in the GTA, up from 17,760 during the same period in 2020. Average price has experienced a modest increase, with values for apartments and townhomes rising seven per cent to $688,138 year-over-year.
Affordability has propelled condos within the pricey Greater Toronto real estate market, with apartments and townhomes in the 905-area code experiencing a notable upswing in activity. The strongest sales growth was reported in York Region and Peel in 2021, where sales rose 121.8 per cent and 66.3 per cent respectively. Buyers, many from the 416, have been behind the push for condominium product in areas north, east and west of Toronto proper. Sales in the centre of the city have also climbed as purchasers return to the core, rising 81.3 per cent in the first eight months of 2021 to 11,518, up from just 6,354 units during the same period one year earlier. The city’s east and west ends have also reported solid growth, with sales of condominiums up 63.5 per cent and 46.2 per cent respectively.
Prices have risen in the condo segment of the Greater Toronto real estate market as well, with the eastern district reporting double-digit increases ranging from 14.8 per cent to 17.6 per cent (in E11, E10, E06, E04 and E07). Price appreciation in the 905 topped 30 per cent in Oshawa (32.9 per cent), Whitby (32.1 per cent) and Clarington (30.7 per cent), and passed the 20-per-cent threshold in King (27.3 per cent), Newmarket (23.8 per cent) and Oakville (21.7 per cent).
The oversupply of condominiums that existed in early 2021 has been absorbed, with tight inventory levels now starting to place upward pressure on condominium values. Between January 1 and August 31 of this year, 72.1 per cent of all sales occurred below $1 million, yet demand at this price point is currently exceeding supply. A continuation of these conditions would place serious upward pressure on values, especially if buyers try to secure home ownership in advance of interest rate hikes that are expected in 2022.
At the other end of the spectrum, luxury condominium sales continue to rattle and hum. Sales over $2 million have risen 71 per cent year-over-year, with 195 units sold in the first eight months of 2021 (including two units priced over $10 million), up from 114 units during the same period in 2020. Almost 90 per cent of luxury sales occurred in Toronto proper, with the most expensive properties typically selling in the exclusive downtown core. Condominiums now represent 34.5 per cent of total residential sales logged by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, up from 30.8 per cent one year ago. Share of market is expected to climb for condominiums in the next six to 12 months, as values for single-detached homes – which are up 25 per cent to date – make condominium ownership the next best option.
At the national level, the RE/MAX report analyzed five key Canadian housing markets and more than 100 sub-markets, and found that buyers looked to condominium properties in 2021 as the affordable housing option, in the face of rising freehold values. The West experienced the greatest sales gains, with Greater Vancouver and Calgary condo sales up 87 per cent and 83 per cent respectively between January 1 and August 31 of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, when a notable downturn in condo sales occurred.
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was the leader in condo sales in East Canada, up 71 per cent over the same period in 2020, followed by Halifax-Dartmouth (+36 per cent) and Ottawa (+29 per cent).
In terms of price growth in Canada, the greatest gains occurred in the East, with both Halifax-Dartmouth and Ottawa posting double-digit price gains of 30.0 per cent and 18.0 per cent respectively. More moderate appreciation was reported in Greater Toronto (+seven per cent), Vancouver (+6.7 per cent) and Calgary (+three per cent).
Growth in condo market share across the Canadian real estate market occurred in all but one regions surveyed, according to the RE/MAX Canada 2021 Condominium Report. The greatest concentration of condo sales was reported in Greater Vancouver, where condos represented nearly half (48.2 per cent) of total residential sales in 2021, up from 46 per cent one year ago. Condominium apartments and townhomes in the GTA followed with a 34.5 per cent share of the overall market, up from 30.8 per cent one year earlier. Almost one in four properties sold in Ottawa between January 1 and August 31, 2021 was a condominium, compared to the same period in 2020 (24.3 per cent versus 23.3 per cent). Meanwhile in Halifax-Dartmouth, the condominium segment represented 17.3 per cent of total residential sales, up from 15 per cent one year earlier. While overall sales climbed in Calgary year-over-year, condominium market share declined by just under one per cent in 2021, to 14.2 per cent.