03/03/2016 12:50 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Housing sales set record February pace in Vancouver, Toronto

Housing sales in Vancouver and Toronto set a record pace in February, as unseasonably warm weather and low interest rates kept buyers interested.

In Vancouver, residential property sales totalled 41,172, a 36 per cent increase from the previous year.

In Toronto, 7,621 houses and condos changed hands, a 21 per cent increase. In both cities, that was the strongest February on record.

With so many buyers chasing real estate, prices continued to rise. RBC economists and CMHC analysts have both expressed concern about housing affordability in Toronto and Vancouver, as homes fall out of reach of most people with average incomes.

In February, the composite price, including condos, detached homes, semi-detached and townhouses, rose 27 per cent in Vancouver and 11 per cent in Toronto.

In the city of Toronto, the average price of a detached house rose 16 per cent to $1.2 million. The pressure on housing prices in the 905 region just as great, with detached home prices rising 17 per cent to $816,705.  

For a condo in Toronto, the average price is up 17 per cent at $435,579, while in the 905, condo prices rose just 1.6 per cent to $327,086.

The selling frenzy brought new listings into the market, more than 11,000 across the GTA, but it's still a seller's market, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

"Sales were up strongly from the 15th day of the month onward as well, despite the new federal mortgage lending guidelines coming into effect that require at least a 10 per cent down payment on the portion of purchase prices between $500,000 and $1,000,000," according to TREB president Mark McLean.

For detached homes in Greater Vancouver, the average price of a detached house is $1.3 million, a 27 per cent increase since last year. In the Lower Mainlain, the composite price of a detached home is $1,038,100, up 26 per cent.

An apartment in Greater Vancouver cost about $454,600, a 17 per cent annual increase. In the Lower Mainland they weren't much cheaper, at $409,000, also up 17 per cent.