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Real estate prices up all over Toronto

If you had purchased a Toronto area home at the beginning of the year, what neighbourhood would have given you the best return on your investment? While prices for detached houses rose on average 5% in the first half of the year, some neighbourhoods have seen a much more significant appreciation. In contrast to the trend of higher returns in downtown Toronto, the best returns this year are in neighbourhoods outside the core.

“Downtown isn’t the centre of the universe any longer,” said Christine Martysiewicz. “Prices are such that people are now looking at points east, west and north to get more home and lot size for the dollar.”

Last year about half of detached homes reporting double-digit price increases were in downtown Toronto. This year increases are more evenly spread across the 63 districts surveyed.

One big reason is that the average price for a detached home downtown has hit a daunting $830,000.

Homeowners are now looking at areas such as the Scarborough Bluffs. The Bluffs is the top-performing area for the first half of the year, with prices for a detached home climbing 21.2% to $360,175. In second place was the nearby Beaches with values up 19.6% to $622,042.

The survey comes on the heels of a report yesterday by the Canadian Real Estate Association that shows the first half of the year with a record amount of activity in sales of existing homes.

A new annual record is expected to be set this year with 186,177 units sold in the first six months, up 3.6% from 2005, already a record year. With higher interest rates putting a crimp on affordability, the association expects sales to be about 1% more than 2005 by year end.

Toronto, which has a more mature housing market, saw activity increase by a more moderate 2.5% during the first half. More listings in the Toronto real estate market should give some relief to buyers who can expect a more temperate market with more modest price increases.

That’s certainly the case in Toronto, where the Swansea, South Parkdale and Roncesvalles communities saw prices appreciate by 19.25% to $640,132. The Bayview Village area, with large lot sizes and available bungalows, saw a jump of 17.7% to $602,211. The Lawrence Park area, popular with the financial community who want a family-friendly neighbourhood close to Bay St., saw a jump of 17.6% to a prohibitive $1,132,410 for the average detached home.With detached homes becoming less affordable, buyers have increasingly turned to Toronto condos in order to get a foothold in choice locations.

The top return for the first half of the year for condominiums is in the Yorkville-Annex area where condos have climbed 16%. The average price in this area is now a substantial $516,729 – the highest average price for a condo in the city.

In second place is the more affordably priced west end of Humber Summit, which saw prices increase by 14% to $173,238. Lawrence Park again made the top five with a 10.6% increase to $327,525.

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