Existing-home sales in the Toronto, Canada, metro area rose 3 percent during the first half of September compared to the same period a year ago, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported.

Neighborhoods stretching from Toronto’s midtown area to suburbs north of the city showed particular strength during the first half of the month. In the Davisville area of Toronto, the number of transactions increased by 38 percent over the first half of September 2004.

Strong sales of semi-detached homes and condominiums pushed the Downsview area of North York up 55 percent compared with the same period last year.

In Markham South, detached and semi-detached homes led the way as the area showed an increase of 96 percent over the same time frame.

“We are already seeing evidence of a solid autumn market, indicating that the strong summer we experienced is carrying over into September,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President John Meehan. “This kind of market strength at this time is especially encouraging coupled with the fact that activity generally tends to increase as autumn arrives.”

Year-to-date sales totals in comparison with the record 2004 market were also strong, remaining within 1.5 percent of last year’s total.

Jason Mercer, senior market analyst for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., noted that September’s strong performance thus far remains consistent with economic indicators.

“Mortgage rates have remained very low, and steady employment growth has continued. As a result, households have remained confident in purchasing and paying for a home over the long term,” Mercer said.

The Toronto Real Estate Board serves more than 22,000 Realtors throughout the Greater Toronto area.

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