If we learned one thing from 2020, it's just how resilient the Greater Toronto Area housing market is, which remained hot despite the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, seeing new home sales up 5% year-over-year.

In fact, in light of the pandemic, the GTA new home market still outperformed the sales total from 2019, after 37,669 new homes were sold in the GTA, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced Tuesday. 

This was up 5% compared to 2019 and 2% above the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.

“Looking back at 2020, the resilience of the GTA new home market was very evident, highlighting the underlying demand for housing in the face of economic uncertainty,” said Ryan Wyse, Altus Group’s Manager, Analytics, Data Solutions.

“Given the significant changes brought on by the pandemic, the industry and consumers were able to adapt quickly, and the result was an overall increase in sales compared to 2019, with a particular focus on single-family options.”

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According to the latest data, new single-family homes -- which includes detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) -- accounted for 16,973 new home sales in 2020, an increase of 81% from the previous year and 25% above the 10-year average.

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Condominium apartments, which includes units in low, medium, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, accounted for 20,696 new home sales in 2020, a 22% decline year-over-year and 11% below the 10-year average.

While the winter can often be a slower month for real estate, 1,866 new home sales were added to the annual total in December. This was down 25% compared to December 2019, but still 7% above the 10-year average.

Here in Toronto, BILD recorded 424 new home sales in December: 389 condominium apartments and 25 single-family homes.

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BILD says there were few new projects opening in December -- which is "typical" for the month -- with the total new home remaining inventory -- which includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings -- dipping from the previous month to 13,171 units, the lowest level since March 2018. 

Benchmark pricing reached all-time highs in December, with the benchmark price for new condominium apartments reaching $1,025,645, up 11.9% over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1,321,186, up 21.4% over the same timeframe.

“A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months’ worth of inventory but due to the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, we currently have only about four months’ worth, based on the pace of sales in the last year,” said Dave Wilkes, BILD President & CEO. 

“The designation of the construction industry as an essential workplace during the pandemic has allowed us to keep working to ensure that this shortfall is not exacerbated. We have been able to continue building new homes while adhering to strict health and safety protocols on work sites.”