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This home located on Cummer Avenue in Toronto's north end, listed for $1-million, is pictured on March 4, 2015. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
This home located on Cummer Avenue in Toronto's north end, listed for $1-million, is pictured on March 4, 2015. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Toronto home prices surge 10% as sales activity heats up Add to ...

Average Toronto home prices jumped 10 per cent in March, driven by a sharp rise in the price of detached homes to well over $1-million in the city.

Sales jumped 11 per cent in March compared to last year, the Toronto Real Estate Board said. New listings also rose 5.5 per cent, although it wasn’t enough to slow the double-digit price growth. Across the region the average home price rose to $613,933.

The price of a detached home in the city jumped nearly 16 per cent to $1,042,405 as the market shifted toward sales of higher-end homes, Jason Mercer, the board’s director of market analysis, said in a statement. In the suburbs, the average price of detached home rose 10 per cent to $709,116.

The gap between prices of condos and houses continued to grow in March. Across the region, condo prices rose 4.3 per cent to $372,827, with prices rising twice as fast in the suburbs as they did in the city.

With the region experiencing lacklustre economic growth so far this year (the real estate board cites figures showing employment in the GTA dropped 1 per cent in February) board president Paul Etherington pointed to low interest rates, which have softened the blow of rising house prices and helped fuel “a substantial amount of pent-up demand” in the market for low-rise homes, he said in a statement.

The Greater Toronto Area remains one of Canada’s few red-hot housing markets, behind only Greater Vancouver, where sales jumped 53 per cent in March and the average detached home price topped $1.4-million. Meanwhile sales have dropped in oil-fuelled cities such as Calgary, Edmonton and Regina, while the housing market has also been weak in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Sales of luxury homes jumped 45 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared with a year earlier, said Toronto real estate broker Barry Cohen. There have been 279 homes sold above $2-million so far this year, compared with 193 last year. That included nine sales above $5-million, with the most expensive home, located in Mississauga, selling for more than $7-million.

Have you recently bought a house? Are you struggling to repay a large mortgage? To share your story with Globe reporter Tamsin McMahon, click here.

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