While March was the month that saw the fall of home resales and prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), new home builds managed to see some above-average transactions despite the COVID-19 measures in place, according to a new report from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
Last month, there were a total of 3,730 total new home sales reported in the GTA, up 67% from March 2019 and 7% above the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.
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The sale of new homes in the condominium apartment segment — including units in low, medium and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units — experienced tremendous growth in March, with 2,840 units sold, up 108% y-o-y and 30% above the 10-year average.
According to Bild, this marked the second strongest March in the past 20 years for new condominium apartment sales, after the record high of March 2017.
The trend continued with single-family homes — including detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) — accounting for 890 new home sales, up 2% from last March. What’s interesting to note, this segment’s activity was 32% below the 10-year average in March.
“The March data reinforce the fact that new home sales in the GTA were positioned for a strong year – at least before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in mid-March,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s Executive Vice President, Data Solutions.
Arsenault says the activity in the new condominium apartment segment can be attributed to the record number of new projects launched in February, many of which opened near month-end.
However, with dates for most planned launches being delayed — coupled with buyer hesitation — Arsenault expects sales in April will be much more “muted.”
According to the report, with fewer projects launched in March, the total new home remaining inventory decreased from the previous month to 13,933 units. The inventory that remains includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.
Also worth noting, the benchmark prices for both new condominium apartments and new single-family homes increased last month compared to February. The benchmark price for new condo apartments was $983,133, up 25.9% over the last 12 months, and the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1,115,869, down 0.1% over the last 12 months.
David Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD, noted that because of the Ontario government’s “decisive measures” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was able to continue to work on new homes moving towards occupancy while pausing the balance of construction.
“When public health officials deem it safe for workplaces to return to more normal operations, the government must prioritize residential construction so we can continue to meet the region’s pressing housing needs,” said Wilkes.