10/03/2013 10:25 EDT | Updated 12/03/2013 05:12 EST

Vancouver, Toronto house sales surge over year

Sales of residential housing in Vancouver rose a whopping 63.8 per cent in September over last year while in Toronto sales were up 30 per cent from a year ago.

There were 2,483 residential properties sold in the Greater Vancouver area in September, which is in line with 10-year averages for that month and 1.2 per cent lower than August, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in a news release.

"While sales are up considerably from last year, it's important to note that September 2012 sales were among the lowest we've seen in nearly three decades," said Sandra Wyant. 

New listings for the month in Vancouver were 3.5 per cent below the 10-year average. There were 5,030 new listings on Canada's main property listing service MLS for attached, detached and apartment properties in the Greater Vancouver area in September.

Detached homes selling for average of $922,600

The benchmark price for homes in the Vancouver area is $601,900, which is 0.7 per cent lower than last September but 2.3 per cent higher than the price in January 2013. The price of detached properties has declined 1.4 per cent from last year but is still the highest of all property types, at $922,600.

The benchmark price for apartment properties is roughly what it was last September, at $366,600. The average price of attached housing units has also not changed since last year and stood at $458,300 this September.

"It's important to remember that stronger sales activity does not necessarily equate to rising home prices. In fact, home prices have not fluctuated much in our market this year," Wyant said.

Attached properties saw the biggest increase in sales year-over-year, with 442 units sold in September, almost 80 per cent more than in the same period last year. Detached properties were up 72 per cent, and apartment sales rose almost 51 per cent.

Prices, sales both up in Toronto

In Toronto, meanwhile, prices and sales of residential properties both got a boost in September, with prices rising 6.5 per cent over last year to an average of $533,797, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

"The price growth story in September continued to be about strong demand for low-rise home types, coupled with a short supply of listings," said the board's senior manager of market analysis, Jason Mercer.

There were 7,411 residential units sold in September, a 30 per cent increase over a year ago.The city's real estate board said the strong increase was still largely an effect of homebuyers re-entering the market after being scared away by the that occurred in 2012.

"It's great news that households have found that the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, remain affordable," Toronto Real Estate Board president Dianne Usher said. "We expect to see sales up for the remainder of 2013, as the pent-up demand that resulted from stricter mortgage lending guidelines continues to be satisfied."