October 5, 2016 / 1:52 PM / 2 years ago

Toronto home sales soar in September from a year ago

Construction workers chat on a condominium building site in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

TORONTO (Reuters) - Home sales in the greater Toronto Area (GTA) jumped 21.5 percent in September from a year ago and prices climbed at a similar pace, data showed on Wednesday, extending a years-long housing boom in Canada’s largest city that has worried policymakers.

The Toronto Real Estate Board, which represents brokers in the city, said the average selling price for all homes climbed 20.4 percent to C$755,755 ($572,889). For the greater Toronto region as a whole, strong annual rates of sales growth were seen for all major home types, it said.

The numbers come two days after the Canadian government said it was taking steps to tighten mortgage rules and close a tax loophole on home sales.

“While these changes are pointed at the demand for ownership housing, it is important to note that much of the upward pressure on home prices in the GTA has been based on the declining inventory of homes available for sale,” Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said in a statement.

Soaring prices in Canada’s two most expensive markets, Toronto and Vancouver, have raised concerns about a bubble and speculation by foreigners, mostly from mainland China.

Home prices in Toronto and Vancouver have more than doubled in the last 11 years, also boosted by a sharp drop in borrowing costs.

In July, British Columbia initiated a 15 percent tax on foreign real estate buyers in Vancouver.

In the following two months, home sales in the Vancouver region have fallen, according to figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released on Tuesday.

Reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Frances Kerry

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