We may still be living amid a global pandemic, but that hasn't caused the Toronto real estate market to slow down. In fact, July was a record-breaking month for sales in Canada's largest city as 11,081 homes changed hands.

On Thursday, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) released its monthly housing report, which says existing home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) jumped 29.5% compared with July 2019, hitting a new record high for the month, while on a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up by 49.5% compared to June 2020.

What's more, the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 10% in July year-over-year, while average home prices were also up 16.9% from a year ago to $943,710. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was up by 5.5% compared to June 2020.

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TRREB says price growth was strongest for low-rise home types, notably within the City of Toronto. Despite more balanced market conditions in the condominium apartment market segment, year-over-year price growth remained in the high single digits.

TRREB says year-over-year sales growth was driven by low-rise home types, particularly in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto. However, condominium apartment sales were also up on an annual basis, including in Toronto.

Total new listings were also up strongly on a year-over-year basis by 24.7%, however, this annual growth rate was less than that of sales, meaning that market conditions tightened on average compared to July 2019. In addition, active listings at the end of July were down by 16.3%.

Screen shot 2020 08 06 at 10 TRREB July 2020

“Sales activity was extremely strong for the first full month of summer. Normally we would see sales dip in July relative to June as more households take vacation, especially with children out of school," says Lisa Patel, TRREB president.

"This year, however, was different with pent-up demand from the COVID-19-related lull in April and May being satisfied in the summer, as economic recovery takes firmer hold, including the Stage 3 re-opening. In addition, fewer people are travelling, which has likely translated into more transactions and listings.”

Screen shot 2020 08 06 at 10 TRREB July 2020

The majority of homes sold in July were detached homes (5,633) and condo apartments (2,423), but TRREB noted that there is still a need for support to build more "missing middle" housing, such as low-rise apartments and townhouses.

“Competition between buyers continued to increase in many segments of the GTA ownership housing market in July, which fueled a further acceleration in year-over-year price growth in July compared to June," said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

"On top of this, we also experienced stronger sales growth in the more-expensive detached market segment, which helps explain why annual growth in the overall average selling price was stronger than growth for the MLS® HPI Composite benchmark."

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