TORONTO — Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area hit a record high last month even as prices continued to soar, the Toronto Real Estate Board said Thursday.
There were 9,768 properties sold in October, up 11.5 per cent from the same month last year, the board said. That came as the average selling price for all types of homes rose to $762,975, a 21.1 per cent increase from a year ago.
"The record pace of GTA home sales continued in October, with strong growth observed throughout the month,'' Toronto Real Estate Board president Larry Cerqua said in a statement.
A "Sold over asking" sign is on display on a house for sale in Toronto's housing market in Toronto on Oct. 21. (Photo: Hyungwon Kang/Reuters)
The growth in home sales and prices came the same month Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced stricter rules for mortgage lenders and foreign buyers in an effort to stabilize hot housing markets such as Toronto.
The new measures require a stress test for all insured mortgage applications to ensure borrowers can still repay their loans in the event interest rates rise or their personal financial situations change.
Until now, stress tests were not required for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.
Toronto townhouses on a sunny day. (Photo: Sisoje/Getty Images)
"As we move through November and December, we will be watching the sales and listings trends closely, in light of the recent policy changes announced by the federal minister of finance,'' Cerqua said.
The record-high sales were in contrast to Vancouver, where home sales dropped 38.8 per cent last month compared with a year ago, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Board president Dan Morrison said government interventions were partly behind the decline.
In August, the B.C. government implemented a 15 per cent tax on foreigners buying homes in Metro Vancouver.