TREB: Toronto prices up an 'affordable' 10%

But TREB insisted in its news release this week that homeownership remains in reach.



“Despite strong price growth this year, the housing market remains affordable in the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, senior manager of market analysis for TREB.
Rather than looking solely at the price, Mercer suggested the percentage of household income dedicated to mortgage principal, interest, utilities and tax payments for the property.


This share is still within lending guidelines, he said.


“Given this positive affordability picture, average price growth is forecast to continue in 2012, albeit at a more moderate pace,” he said.


Mercer’s remarks contrast with a report last month by RBC Economics that said Toronto was “pushing the envelope with affordability.”


“While still nowhere near the dangerous levels that prevailed in 1990, the RBC affordability measures clearly stand above the long-run averages for the (Toronto) area,” said the bank’s report.


The TREB report showed detached homes rose the most in price in the 416 area code, up 12% from a year ago to reach an average of $776,017 in November. Townhomes in that area, in contrast, rose just 2% from last year to reach $418,050. Condos were up 8% in the 416 area to $365,131.


Overall confidence in the Toronto market has helped push sales up 11.1% year-over-year compared to the same period in 2012, totaling 7,092 in November.


New listings are up even higher over that period, up 14% to reach 9,786, while the average days on market dropped 15% from 34 last year to 29 in November.


“We have seen strong annual sales growth through the 2011 fall market,” said TREB President Richard Silver. “The increase in transactions has been broad-based, with strong growth across low-rise and high-rise home types throughout the Greater Toronto Area.”


As the market continues to see more supply, more balanced conditions will soon follow, he said, pointing to 2012,

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