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A Porter Airlines plane take off from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport in front of condo towers on Wednesday April 10, 2013. (Chris Young For The Globe and Mail)
A Porter Airlines plane take off from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport in front of condo towers on Wednesday April 10, 2013. (Chris Young For The Globe and Mail)

Toronto condo market sees one of its best years, agency says Add to ...

As the Bank of Canada and other market watchers keep a wary eye on Toronto housing, condo buyers are out in force.

Indeed, the market for new condominiums in Canada’s biggest city appears headed for one of its best-ever years.

Urbanation, which tracks the city’s condo market, said Thursday that both sales and prices for new units climbed in the third quarter of the year.

Sales in the quarter rose to 4,753, a level Urbanation said marked the third-best summer, after 2011 and 2007. It also marked a 53-per-cent gain from the 10-year low in the same period of last year.

On a rolling basis, condo sellers have sold more than 19,000 units in the year ending in September.

“Sales were boosted by a number of highly successful new project launches during the quarter, but more importantly by increased absorptions at pre-existing projects,” Urbanation said, which means the number of unsold units, from those in pre-construction to those completed, shrank by 11 per cent.

Also noteworthy was the fact that the share of condos in development that have already been sold, more than 104,000, rose in the quarter to a record 84 per cent.

Average selling prices rose by 3 per cent from a year earlier, to $555 a square foot, while those for unsold units increased by 2 per cent to an average $571.

“There is still quite a bit of pent-up demand that came out of the slowdown last year,” Urbanation senion vice-president Shaun Hildebrand said in a statement.

“Should market confidence continue to hold in spite of the recent turmoil in financial markets, this sales momentum will carry into the final months of 2014 and early 2015.”

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

Just last week, the Bank of Canada noted that while eastern Canadian housing markets appear headed for a soft landing, those in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are still going great guns.

By that, the central bank means Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The Bank of Canada noted “renewed vigour” in Canadian housing, all of which again raises flags about what the central bank calls household imbalances, or rather swollen debt levels.

In the past, under a different governor, the central bank went so far as to threaten a rate hike to cool things down, though the current chief shows no signs of doing that.

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