More the same point of my previous article, here is a further elaboration of how the current condo market is behaving. Condo sales are booming in major Ontario cities and increasing in seven of eight regional markets in the province, Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada said Monday.

Ottawa saw an 11.9 per cent rise in condomium sales during the first nine months of 2010 compared with 2009, while sales in the Greater Toronto Area were up 10.4 per cent.

The only market surveyed with a drop was Thunder Bay, where condo purchases declined four per cent, according to the real estate sales company's tally.

Condos now represent one in every three homes sold in the GTA, and nearly one in four in Ottawa and Hamilton-Burlington, Re/Max reported.

Affordability is the main reason, said Michael Polzler, the company's executive vice-president. With house prices rising, condos and townhouses have become the first step in home ownership.

There's also a lifestyle element, he said: "Dreams of the small home with a white picket fence are being replaced by the funky loft apartment."

Luxury sales swell

While affordability drives many condominium purchases, luxury condos are also selling strongly in the Toronto area and Ottawa. Sales of Toronto condos priced over $1 million are up 49 per cent year-over-year, and Ottawa sales of condos priced over $450,000 have jumped 72 per cent.

Investors are also contributing to the sales increase. Some are trying to cash in on student housing by buying lower-priced condos in centres with colleges and universities, like London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie, Re/Max said.

Meanwhile, the "vast majority" of units sold in Toronto's downtown core were bought by Asian and Middle Eastern investors who plan to hold the condos for the long term.

Re/Max also reported sales in Halifax-Dartmouth, where January-September volume slipped 2.9 per cent from a year earlier.

For more information on Condos in Toronto or Toronto Condos.

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