After recording a 21% quarterly decline in Q2-2020 amid the onset of the COVID pandemic, the total value of commercial property sales in the GTA increased by 36% quarter-over-quarter in Q3-2020 to $4.1 billion. On a year-over-year basis, the total value of GTA property sales was down 18% in Q3, an improvement from the 52% annual decline recorded in Q2. The total value of sales year-to-date was $10.8 billion, a decline of 37% from the same period in 2019.
The most significant growth was experienced by house lots, as sales for the sector nearly tripled in value compared to the previous quarter to reach $432 million, with the sale of 384 lots in the Glen Abbey Encore subdivision ($246 million). Other sectors that experienced annual gains included residential land (+153% to $361 million) and apartment sites (+11% to $1 billion).
The number of apartment site transactions nearly doubled to 57 sales in Q3-2020 compared to the 29 transactions in Q3-2019. Sixteen of the apartment sites that transacted in Q3-2020 had development applications, averaging a sale price of $146 per sf of proposed GFA.
Annual declines were reported for most sectors, with the greatest declines experienced by office buildings at 66% (-$361 million), followed by commercial land at -61% (-$641 million), industrial buildings at -51%; (-$584 million), rural land at -28% (-$21 million), rental apartments at -20% (-$119 million) and retail buildings at -17% (-$44 million).
Notably, the total value of office building sales fell to their lowest level since Q1-2012 when 17 transactions reported a total value of $182 million. Nonetheless, the average per sf value of office space continued to trend higher, rising 45% year-over-year to $549 psf. A notable office transaction this quarter was the sale of 277 Wellington Street West to Westdale properties for $78.5 million, or $733 psf. Average sale prices for both retail and industrial buildings had modest year-over-year growth, with retail buildings up 2% to $556 psf, and industrial buildings up 3% to $220 psf. Rental apartments recorded 27 transactions, with the average price per suite down 9% from Q3-2019 to $313K per suite.
Regional gains in the total value of property sales were experienced by Halton Region at 251% year-over-year (+$444 million), with Durham up 124% (+$161 million) and York Region rising 23% (+$151 million).
Annual declines were experienced by Peel at 43% (-$432 million) and Toronto at 40% (-$1.2 billion). However, in Q3-2020 there were a few notable sales in Toronto, including the portfolio sale of four rental apartment buildings to Starlight investments for $113 million, resulting in quarter-over-quarter growth in the total value of property sales in Toronto of 84%.