Amidst a city-wide condo market struggling to regain traction against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, one area of Toronto is reporting a rise in prices as condo values remain largely stagnant in the rest of the city.

In North York, one-bedroom units have seen four consecutive months of price increases. In March, the average sale price for this unit type was $503,000. By the end of July, it had gone up to $528,000 for an increase of $25,000 in just a few months alone. Two-bedroom units also became more expensive, hitting a yearly high in July; North York homebuyers paid $698,400, an increase of over $45,000 since March.

The growing desirability of the North York market has also resulted in properties selling for well over asking. In July, one-bedrooms sold for 3.32 per cent above list price, a stark contrast from the beginning of the year when they were selling below.

Willowdale is North York’s hottest pocket

Willowdale Toronto day time

North York’s most active neighbourhood is currently Willowdale, an area close to both the DVP and 401. It also includes the major arterial road of Yonge Street, stops along both the Yonge and Sheppard subway lines, plus easy access to the popular Fairview Mall. The area is already home to many condominiums with more to come, due to the city’s policy of densification around existing mass transit.

Those purchasing a one-bedroom in Willowdale last month paid on average about $60,000 more compared to June. But oddly, the price of a two-bedroom went down in July by about $20,000, despite being up for the year as a whole.

According to Strata.ca broker Cliff Liu, a prime selling point for North York in general is that it offers all the amenities of urban life. Yet it still has the benefit of being viewed as a ‘cheaper alternative’ to more central neighbourhoods.

“Many of the people buying in North York right now are first time homebuyers as it’s a bit more ideal as an entry point. It’s also an area where downsizers can pick up a retirement home, but still find all the conveniences of the city.”

Condo values remain stagnant in rest of Toronto

Toronto CN view from park bench

As North York property values continue their upward trajectory, Strata.ca data shows property values in surrounding areas have remained relatively unchanged.

In downtown Toronto, for example, average condo prices have hovered at about $790,000 since April. And in midtown, condo values there have actually plunged by nearly $150,000 since April’s peak of $1,026,083.

Toronto continues to grapple with a work-from-home trend that has sent people, now no longer tethered to a set geographical location, looking further out for more space. Meanwhile, new Airbnb rules and closed borders have also dried up short-term rentals.

Robert Van Rhijn, Broker of Record at Strata.ca, believes these factors are contributing to stagnant condo prices across the city.

“July numbers are in, and the average sale price of a condo in Toronto last month was $712,046. That’s just a $350 increase compared to June.”

Still though, homebuyers paid roughly 2 per cent over asking price for both one and two-bedroom units in July, despite an overall cooldown in bidding wars across the city.

For journalists: If you’d like more information on this report or would like to receive future news releases, please send your requests to media(at)strata.ca.