The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) condo market continues on its road to recovery, with new condo sales soaring to the third-highest level recorded during the second quarter of this year.

In Q2-2021, new condo sales in the GTA totalled 9,001 units, which was 5.5 times higher than sales during Q2-2020 -- when 1,637 units were sold in the Toronto area -- and nearly the same as the level in Q2-2019 (9,075), according to new data from Urbanation.

According to Urbanation, this activity represents the third-highest quarterly total on record, with the 905 region once again leading new condominium market activity with a 58% share of sales in Q2-2021. 

Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation, says the second quarter showed that the GTA new condominium market has not only fully recovered from COVID-19 but also returned to near record-high sales volumes.                                                             

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Urbanation says a total of 8,490 new condominium units were launched for presale during the second quarter, which achieved a record high absorption rate of 81%.

The new units brought to market in Q2 were priced at an average of $728,160, or $1,110 per square foot (psf) based on an average unit size of 656 square feet.

New condominiums launched in Toronto were priced at an average of $834,504 ($1,276 psf), while units launched in the 905 region were priced at $661,537 ($1,007 psf).

Across the GTA, unsold inventory declined 10% year-over-year in Q2-2021 to 11,716 units — an 11-quarter low and 23% below the 10-year average (15,179 units). Average prices for unsold units available at the end of Q2 in the GTA increased 9% from a year ago to a record-high $1,196 psf.

The number of new condos under construction in the GTA increased 11% year-over-year to a record high of 86,346 units. Urbanation says there was also an additional 22,857 units in active projects in the pre-construction stage.

A total of 3,271 units reached completion in the second quarter, and 10,938 units were scheduled to reach completion during the second half of the year, which would bring the total for 2021 completions to 18,157 units. This represents a 19% decline from the record high 22,473 units that reached completion in 2020.

In the resale market, Urbanation says there were 7,790 condos sold in the second quarter, representing a Q2 record and annual growth of 148% when compared to Q2-2020.

The ratio of units sold to total listings during Q2 reached 73%, up from 45% in Q2-2020 and well above the 10-year average of 57%.

Average resale condo prices in the GTA grew 9% year-over-year to $860 psf, reaching above $700,000 for the first time ($707,000).

Similar to new condo sales for the quarter, annual resale price growth was the strongest in the 905 area, at 14% ($708 psf at an average of $628,000), compared to 8% annual growth for resale prices in Toronto ($930 psf at an average of $740,000).

Urbanation also found that average condo maintenance fees rose 6% year-over-year to $0.75 psf, or $617 per month, based on an average resale unit size of 822 square feet in Q2-2021.

"The 905 continued to be a driving force as developers and buyers have shifted to more affordable locations of the region," said Hildebrand.

With inventory approaching a three-year low, Hildebrand says he expects further upward pressure on new condo prices in the near-term.