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Report On Business Toronto leads rising housing prices as Vancouver market cools

The housing prices in Toronto have increased by 23 per cent in November compared with a year ago.

Melissa Renwick/The Globe and Mail

The Greater Toronto Area has solidified its position as the leader for rising prices in Canada's housing sector while the Vancouver region cools off.

The average price of detached properties sold in the GTA last month reached a record $1.06-million, up 27.6 per cent from November, 2015, according to new data from the Toronto Real Estate Board. It is the third consecutive time that the monthly average price for detached houses in the Toronto region has surpassed the million-dollar mark.

"Home buying activity remained strong across all market segments in November. However, many would-be home buyers continued to be frustrated by the lack of listings, as annual sales growth once again outstripped growth in new listings," Toronto board president Larry Cerqua said in a statement on Friday.

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On the sales front, total residential volume on the Multiple Listing Service in the GTA climbed 16.5 per cent year-over-year, shrugging off the federal government's introduction of tightened mortgage rules in October. Suburbs such as Markham and Vaughan have helped fuel the boom.

Prices and sales jumped in the GTA as the Greater Vancouver market slowed down. The B.C. government implemented a 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers in the broader area known as Metro Vancouver effective on Aug. 2. Industry observers point out that sales volume in the Vancouver region peaked in March, and prospective buyers are still wary in Canada's most expensive housing market despite recent markdowns in selected list prices.

Greater Vancouver's overall sales slumped 37.2 per cent over the past year. The average price for detached properties sold in Greater Vancouver hit $1.61-million last month, up 2.1 per cent from November, 2015, but down 11.7 per cent from the high of $1.83-million in January, 2016.

Within the City of Toronto, the average price for detached properties rose to a record $1.35-million last month, up 32.3 per cent from a year earlier.

The City of Vancouver number for November has yet to be released, but in October, the price for detached houses sold within Vancouver's city limits averaged more than $2.6-million.

The benchmark price in Greater Vancouver for detached houses, condos and townhouses reached $908,300 in November, slipping 1.2 per cent from October while up 20.5 per cent from November, 2015. The industry's benchmark price depicts typical properties sold and excludes outliers such as luxury mansions.

The Vancouver region's latest housing boom began in mid-2013 and benchmark prices began slipping in September. "Buckle up, we could be in for a bumpy ride," Vancouver real estate agent Steve Saretsky said in an interview on Friday.

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Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said overall transactions last month were 7.6 per cent below the 10-year sales average for November. "Supply and demand totals have returned to more historically normal levels over the last few months," he said in a release, noting that the number of active listings in Greater Vancouver increased 3.6 per cent year-over-year. In the GTA, by contrast, the number of active listings has tumbled 35.8 per cent.

For all property types in the GTA, the price averaged a record $776,684 last month, up 22.7 per cent from a year earlier, while the composite benchmark price rose 20.3 per cent to $689,100.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which includes the sprawling Vancouver suburb of Surrey, experienced a 29.4 per cent year-over-year decrease in sales volume.

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