Toronto home prices continued to surge in the fourth quarter of 2016 but the city actually lagged behind the rest of the GTA when it came to the pace of growth, new numbers from Royal LePage suggest.

The average price of a home in the City of Toronto in the final months of 2016 was $720,029, which represents a 12.4 per cent increase from the same time period in 2015.

The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey, however, reveals that homes appreciated at a quicker pace in every other GTA community in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Richmond Hill led the way with a 30.1 per cent increase to $1,138,826 while Oshawa (up 26.9 per cent to $471,975) was not far behind. Significant gains were also reported in Whitby (up 21.3 per cent to $610,658) and Vaughan (up 19.9 per cent to $927,371).

“Since pulling ahead as Canada’s hottest market this quarter, speculators and prospective homeowners have increasingly begun to look to the Greater Toronto Area in search of real estate,” Dianne Usher, senior vice president of Johnston and Daniel, said in a press release accompanying the numbers. “The region’s strong economy has attracted interest from many Canadians and Americans in search of stability and employment, imposing further demand on stretched inventory levels in suburban areas across the GTA and intensifying an already incredibly high priced, competitive environment.”

Detached homes saw biggest price gains

The largest increases in home prices across the GTA were for detached and semi-detached properties while the condo sector saw a more modest pace of growth.

In Toronto, two-storey detached homes were up 14.3 per cent to an average of $1,023,051 while bungalows were up 17.1 per cent to an average of $783,533. Condominium units were up six per cent to an average of $422,650.

Durham Region continued to offer the most affordable homes in the GTA in the quarter but it also was the site of some of the most frenetic price acceleration.

A two-storey home in Oshawa rose 28.5 per cent in the quarter to $498,650 while in Whitby similar homes were up 22 per cent to $624,345. Pickering (up 17.9 per cent to $670,183) and Ajax (up 17.6 per cent to $622,865) also recorded large double digit increases.

In the condo sector, price acceleration was the strongest in Oshawa (up 19.1 per cent to $371,815) and Brampton (up 12.1 per cent to $282,753) while Toronto had the second slowest pace of growth (six per cent).

In the press release, Usher predicted that the GTA will see “strong, albeit more gradual double-digit growth in 2017.”

“While many believe that we may be reaching a breaking point in the region, factors driving the market will likely remain unchanged in the New Year,” she said. “Demand will continue to feast upon supply with interest rates and supportive economic conditions continuing to spur competition within the marketplace, ratcheting up prices and intensifying inventory shortages across the region.”

Home prices in the fourth quarter of 2016 (houses and condos combined):

Toronto - $720,029 (12.4 per cent increase)

Scarborough - $607,053 (15.9 per cent increase)

Richmond Hill - $1,138,826 (30.1 per cent increase)

Vaughan - $927,371 (19.9 per cent increase)

Markham - $916,157 (18.4 per cent increase)

Brampton - $610,429 (17.6 per cent increase)

Mississauga - $639,117 (14.2 per cent increase)

Milton - $642,708 (13.5 per cent increase)

Oakville - $922,348 (17.6 per cent increase)

Ajax - $607,188 (17.5 per cent increase)

Pickering - $640,966 (17.4 per cent increase)

Oshawa - $471,957 (26.9 per cent increase)

Whitby - $610,658 (21.3 per cent increase)