Toronto condo boom aligns with investor demand

The Toronto area’s vacancy rate was down to 1.1% by the end of 2011 from 1.6% in 2010, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The stiffened competition for rental units has resulted in landlords bringing rents beyond the level of inflation, said the board. Demand has been especially strong for modern units, aimed at both young professionals and downsizing baby boomers.

“The number of renters looking for apartments with modern finishes and amenities has steadily increased,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s senior manager of market analysis. “The main source of these types of units has been investor-held condominium apartments. As renters have flocked to this segment of the rental market, upward pressure on rents has increased.

The neighbourhoods outside of the city had even lower vacancy rates. York had a vacancy rate of 0.8%, while Peel and Halton were down to 0.3%.

Despite a continuing effort by builders to add supply in the Toronto region, condo apartment prices have continued upward movement as well, rising 7.2% from $314,259 in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $336,748 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

New listings were up 14% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2010.

“Even with the uptick in new listigns following strong condo completions last year, market conditions remained tight,” said TREB President Richard Silver.

“Tight conditions were the foundation for a robust year-over-year increase in the average selling price.”

The fastest moving condos were within the York Region in Newmarket, with an average days on market of 18 days. The TREB overall average was 32 days.

Similarly, a section just west of the downtown of Toronto had an average days on market of 19 days.

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