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Home, condo owners rack up healthy gains  
The Toronto Star - 12/24/2002

Average prices increase 8.5-9% in last 12 months Downsview houses lead the way with 22.8% hike


ROB FERGUSON
BUSINESS REPORTER

Home and condo owners in Toronto have another reason to rejoice this holiday season: Their properties are worth considerably more.

Prices are up more than 20 per cent in some neighbourhoods, while average prices have climbed between 8.5 and 9 per cent in the last 12 months, according to a Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. survey.

"We're having a pretty hot market," Gino Romanese, a Royal LePage vice-president, said yesterday. "What's driving it is low mortgage interest rates."

As prices spiral, first-time buyers are increasingly being priced out of houses, sending them into the condo market, putting upward pressure on prices, the survey found.

The affordability concerns also led to a slight slowing in the pace of home sales in the last few months, Royal LePage said.

The fastest-rising prices were in condos, with average values jumping 9 per cent to $192,310. Two-storey homes were next, rising 8.6 per cent to $342,825. Detached bungalows were up 8.5 per cent to $322,840.

Another factor pushing prices higher was a shortage of supply, particularly in the Beach, where real estate agents have waiting lists of potential purchasers many of them area residents looking for bigger houses.

The average price of a two-storey house in the Beach was up 9.3 per cent to $445,000 year-over-year.

However, Romanese said price increases should moderate as more houses come on the market early in the new year throughout the Toronto area as sellers look to take advantage of the busy spring season.

The survey found two-storey houses in Downsview to be the biggest gainers among standard two-storeys over the last 12 months, with the average price rising 22.8 per cent to $285,000.

Other large gains included an 18.7 per cent rise to an average of $330,000 for two-storey homes in Markham and a 17.1 per cent increase to $410,000 in Riverdale.

The only area of Toronto to see two-storey house prices drop was north Etobicoke, where the average value fell 0.4 per cent to $253,000. South Etobicoke two-storey homes gained an average of 12.2 per cent to $286,000.



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