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Condo market shows no signs of slowing

DAVID GEORGE-COSH

Globe and Mail Update
August 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM EDT

Toronto's love affair with the condo shows no sign of abating, according to the latest market overview by a major condo-research firm.

In the second quarter, ending June 30, the Greater Toronto Area saw record levels in multiple sectors — new sales, resales, new project openings and new condo units, according to Urbanation, a Toronto-based research firm that has been measuring the condo market since 1981.

Over all, almost 7,000 new units were sold and more than 4,100 units were resold in the April-to-June period. As well, more than 54,900 new units entered the market.

Jane Renwick, editor and executive president of Urbanation, attributes the booming market to the spate of new projects and the rapid growth in a variety of buyer groups.

"We're really seeing a lot of those who have purchased a condo are now buying a second one [and] … the first influence of empty-nesters, who are now buying into the market and are planning to downsize in the next three or four years," Ms. Renwick says.

The second quarter saw 36 project openings — more than four times the number in the first quarter, but Ms. Renwick noted that several projects opened later than expected.

Urbanation's analysis suggests Toronto is on track to break the condo-sales record of 16,224 units set in 2005, with Ms. Renwick forecasting a total of 17,000 new condominium sales and 14,000 condominium resales this year.

Ms. Renwick says the strong loonie, low unemployment and steady immigration rates have all contributed to the healthy GTA condo market. "There's a lot of positive economic indicators that point to a very stable economy and when you're in a scenario like that, people are confident enough to buy real estate."

Given the strong economy, she doesn't see an end to the condo boom any time soon.

"The sales cycle we're on right now actually started around 1996, so it's been an upward trend," Ms. Renwick explains. "At different times, it's been more of a sharper incline and then flattened out, but at no time has pricing ever dropped … from year to year."

However, Urbanation's report also questions whether the Toronto condominium market "can sustain this kind of volume, especially in an environment of aggressive price increases." Ms. Renwick noted that, "Affordability — from both an investor and first-time buyer perspective — is also being tested as prices continue to rise."

Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 05:21PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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