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July home sales set record

The Toronto Real Estate Board is scrambling to revise its forecasts upward after a summer surge of home buying,

The Toronto Real Estate Board is scrambling to revise its forecasts upward after a summer surge of home buying,

Analysts now expect sales to match or surpass last year’s levels of 74,558. The earlier estimate was from 65,000 to 70,000.

The real estate board reported 9,967 sales of existing homes in July, up 28 per cent from the same time last year, and the best such month on record. The average price of a home is $395,414, up six per cent from the same month last year. Historically low interest rates have fuelled the market, especially for first-time buyers.

But not everyone expects the frenzy to last. “The job situation remains weak, which will limit home buying in the second half of the year,” warned economist Will Dunning.

One reason for the healthy price increases in the Toronto market is a lack of listings — down 36 per cent in July compared to the same month last year. Less inventory means buyers have to compete against each other — resulting in multiple offers in popular neighbourhoods such as Leaside.

This trend should ease in the fall as more move-up buyers place their homes on the market. “Some sellers have held off listing their homes thinking they were probably not going to get a good price, but after this summer you will likely see these people back in,” said Jason Mercer, the board’s senior manager of market analysis.

In terms of listings, the best deals and most abundant selection are in the west GTA neighbourhoods, according to a report Thursday by Coldwell Banker.

 
 
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