Existing-home sales in the Toronto, Canada, market broke records in January, with some districts showing 50 percent gains from a year ago, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported today.

There were 5,173 sales of existing single-family homes last month, up 13 percent from 4,587 sales a year earlier. Last month’s sales activity was 6 percent above the previous January record set in 2002, according to TREB.

“Sales have been very solid to start the year,” TREB President Dorothy Mason said in a statement. “It’s a very good sign for the market to see a healthy level of activity carrying over from last year’s strong finish.”

Scarborough’s Birchmount Park/Cliffside area saw 55 percent more overall sales compared to last January, with detached homes accounting for nearly all transactions. In the Islington/Kingsway area of Etobicoke, a jump in condominium transactions helped to push overall sales 42 percent higher than January 2006.

An increase in sales of condominiums and semi-detached homes helped lift Forest Hill to an overall increase of 56 percent over January of last year. North of the city, in Markham West/Langstaff, 50 percent more homes changed hands in January than during the same month a year ago.

The Toronto metro area’s median home price continued to grow last month, rising 9 percent from a year ago to $299,094 (in current U.S. dollars).

Although more homeowners decided to put their homes on the market last month than they did a year ago, the total number of active listings declined, suggesting that demand is keeping up with supply. For-sale inventory of single-family homes dipped 1 percent to 17,884 last month, while the number of new listings rose 4 percent to 12,570.

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