While sales of detached homes in the GTA have been down overall throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the markets in York Region's King Township and Georgina are bucking the trend, according to a new report by RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
Leading on the list of Top 5 in terms of percentage increase in detached housing sales is King, where 161 detached properties changed hands, up from 117 one year earlier, representing a 37.6 per cent upswing in volume, according to the RE/MAX 2020 Hot Pocket Communities Report that examines trends and developments in 65 Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) districts.
In King, just under 200 active listings were available for sale in June, average days on the market hovered at 44, while the sales-to-list price ratio was 93 per cent.
With an average price between $600,000 and $650,000, affordability was the common denominator in the third, fourth and fifth place finishes, according to Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic.
At No. 5 is Georgina, with 373 detached homes sold in the first six months of the year, up 9.1 per cent over the 342 sales reported during the same period last year.
Ranking at No. 3 is Simcoe County’s Innisfil, with a 14.4 per cent increase bringing the number of sales in the area to 389, up from 340 in 2019. Days on market were 35, sales-to-list price ratio was 99 per cent, and more than 220 active listings were available in June.
At No. 4 is Oshawa, also a hot spot for sales so far this year, with more than 1,053 single-detached homes sold in the first half of the year, a 10.8 per cent increase over 2019. Detached homes are moving quickly, with average days on market at 16, the sales-to-list price ratio is 101 per cent, and 200 active listing available for sale in June.
Bucking the affordability trend is No. 2 on the list, Bridle Path, Sunnybrook, York Mills, St. Andrew, and Windfields, the only district in the 416 to post an uptick in sales. The area, the most expensive in the GTA, experienced a 20.6 per cent increase in sales between January and June 2020, with the number of detached homes sold rising to 76, up from 63 during the same period in 2019.
Days on market were 19, with a sales-to-list price ratio of 94 per cent. Close to 100 homes were listed for sale in June.
Detached housing values have shown remarkable resilience in the first half of 2020, with 95 per cent of Greater Toronto real estate districts posting solid gains in average price, Alexander said.
Active listings across Greater Toronto real estate markets hovered at 14,000 in June, the lowest level for the month since 2016 when active listings bottomed-out at 12,327.
Average price was up in 95 per cent of areas between January and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Double-digit increases were reported in 60 per cent of 416 districts and in 50 per cent of 905 districts.
"Strong demand characterized much of the first quarter of 2020, setting the stage for a record-breaking spring market in the Greater Toronto Area – and then came COVID-19,” he said.
“In past downturns, a drop in unit sales has usually been followed by a significant upswing in the number of homes listed for sale. That didn’t happen in this case as buyers and sellers paused in April, then cautiously resumed home-buying activity as COVID-19 cases dropped and local economies reopened. With the easing of restrictions and the province moving into the third, and perhaps final phase, we anticipate that the housing market will likely accelerate,” Alexander said.