- By Matthew Regan
- Posted Monday, Apr 01, 2019 4:15 pm
- Greater Toronto Area’s luxury condo market sees highest price appreciation across Canada’s five largest cities over twelve-month period
- Greater Montreal Area’s luxury property market forecast to see the strongest appreciation rate looking across Canada’s five largest cities
- The median price of a luxury house in Greater Vancouver is forecast to decrease 7.1 per cent, or approximately $410,000
- Luxury house prices in Calgary stabilize and see modest lift while luxury condo prices remain soft over twelve-month period
- Ottawa’s luxury property market posts healthy price appreciation over twelve-month period
Toronto, February 21, 2019 – The median price of a luxury property in the Greater Toronto Area, Greater Montreal Area and Ottawa saw healthy price appreciation over twelve months ending January 31, 2019 compared to the previous twelve month period. Luxury condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area posted the highest year-over-year price appreciation, rising 10.2 per cent to $2,268,571, followed by luxury condominiums in the Greater Montreal Area, which rose 8.4 per cent year-over-year to $1,295,401.
“For a second year in a row, luxury condos in Toronto and Montreal have made significant gains in price appreciation and we expect this trend to continue through 2019, however, at a more modest pace in Toronto,” said Kevin Somers, Chief Operating Officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Limited.
Across Canada’s five largest cities, Greater Vancouver was the only city to post a decline in median luxury home prices. The number of luxury houses trading hands declined over the past two years, a trend that initially began with the introduction of measures to cool the city’s real estate market in 2016. Luxury home values have dipped but remain remarkably steady as many Vancouverites refuse to sell at what they perceive as a discount. Exasperating soft demand, Chinese nationals, an important luxury buyer demographic, have seen restrictions placed on their ability to transfer wealth to Canada.
While sales remained low throughout 2018 in Greater Vancouver, luxury house sales in the Greater Toronto Area decreased a more modest 3.6 per cent year-over-year from June 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019. However, as a result of low sales activity during the 2018 spring market, luxury house sales in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area declined 50.5 per cent and 40.0 per cent, respectively, during the twelve month period ending January 31, 2019. During the same period, luxury condominium sales in Greater Vancouver decreased 32.2 per cent, while luxury condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area decreased 3.4 per cent.
“Compared to last year, we are expecting an increase in luxury sales activity in both Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area,” said Somers. “Price reductions and increased selection in Greater Vancouver are expected to stimulate the luxury property market while an expected return to more normal activity in the Greater Toronto Area will be a marked improvement over last year’s spring market.”
Greater Toronto Area
The median price of a luxury condo in the GTA outpaced luxury houses and condos in Canada’s five largest cities; Significant year-over-year decline in luxury house sales was limited to the 2018 spring market
Luxury house prices in the Greater Toronto Area returned to healthy gains indicating that the effects of measures targeting foreign buyers within the Ontario Fair Housing Plan have now been absorbed by the luxury property market. While foreign buyers represent a small segment of buyers in the GTA, the introduction of the measures had stifled consumer confidence among local buyers dampening house prices.
The median price of a luxury house rose 3.1 per cent to $3,575,702 year-over-year during the twelve-month period ending January 31, 2019 compared to the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, the median price of a luxury condominium surged 10.2 per cent year-over-year to $2,268,571 during the same period, which was the highest median price gain seen in both luxury housing types across Canada’s largest five cities.
“While demand for luxury houses softened last spring, demand for luxury condominiums remained consistent and strong. This demand quickly put upward pressure on luxury condo prices because the inventory for luxury condo buyers isn’t there. We have a shortage of luxury three bedroom listings with the finishes and amenities that buyers are looking for,” said Elli Davis, sales representative, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.
Luxury house sales for the full twelve-month period showed a stark contrast leading up to and during the spring market compared to the remainder of the year, while luxury condominium sales remained fairly consistent compared to the prior year. For the twelve months analyzed, luxury house sales decreased 40.0 per cent, however, when examining sales from June 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019 to the same period the year prior, sales decreased a more modest 3.6 per cent. For the full twelve-month period, luxury condominium sales decreased 3.4 per cent compared to the year prior.
“Toronto’s luxury home market has regained its momentum and we are expecting a more active spring market than last year with the exception of a few quiet pockets,” said Davis. “Generally speaking, demand for luxury property is stronger in the city of Toronto compared to its surrounding areas.”
When looking to the next twelve months, the median price of a luxury house in the Greater Toronto Area is forecast to increase 3.2 per cent year-over-year to $3,691,700, while the median price of a luxury condominium is forecast to increase 5.4 per cent to $2,390,405 at the end of January 2020. Luxury house sales are expected to benefit from a more active spring market while luxury condominium sales are expected to be consistent with the year prior.
Greater Montreal Area
Luxury condominium sales outpace luxury detached house sales in the GMA.
The Greater Montreal Area’s luxury property market showed continued momentum in both prices and sales mirroring its healthy economy and overall real estate market. The median price of a luxury house rose 5.4 per cent to $1,680,942 year-over-year during a twelve-month period ending January 31, 2019 compared to the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, the median price of a luxury condominium surged 8.4 per cent year-over-year to $1,295,401 during the same period.
Among the factors that are impacting luxury prices and sales in Montreal, low inventory ranks first in the luxury detached market according to Marie-Yvonne Paint, real estate broker, Royal LePage Heritage.
“Provincial measures to dampen foreign buyer activity in Toronto and Vancouver have increased demand for luxury property in Montreal, but this demand is mostly seen within the downtown condo market,” said Paint. “We are seeing an increase in demand for presale condo units where investors will buy several units to benefit from a discount.”
During the twelve months ending January 31, 2019, the Greater Montreal Area’s luxury house sales climbed 21.4 per cent year-over-year, while luxury condominium sales in the region surged 28.9 per cent, outpacing the detached luxury segment.
While the luxury condominium market is showing exceptional strength, there is still an excellent selection of listings available, with approximately 350 resale units available in February 2019.
For buyers looking to purchase their first luxury home, Montreal has a lot to offer.
“As a first-time luxury home buyer, the Montreal luxury condo market offers great diversity. Developers are building condos based on the city population, family status and household wealth, often reserving about 30 per cent of their building for luxury units. This is perfectly suitable for those wanting to enjoy luxury living with typical condo amenities and lower maintenance fees. Condominiums that are predominantly luxury units often have significantly higher fees because there are fewer units and more luxury amenities,” added Paint.
When looking to the next twelve months, the median price of a luxury house in the Greater Montreal Area is forecast to increase 6.6 per cent year-over-year to $1,792,037, while the median price of a luxury condominium is forecast to increase 7.7 per cent to $1,395,056 at the end of January 2020.
Region’s median home prices for both luxury houses and condominiums dip after sustained low sales activity
In the twelve-month period ending January 31, 2019, the median price of a luxury house in Greater Vancouver decreased 1.7 per cent year-over-year to $5,751,928, while the median price of a luxury condominium decreased 0.6 per cent to $2,680,064. Despite ongoing year-over-year low sales volume, luxury home prices were steady leading up to September 2018. In the last four months of 2018 and into 2019, sellers who were no longer able to wait out low demand began accepting reduced offers, which put downward pressure on home prices.
“We have a growing number of buyers sitting on the sidelines watching prices, but they are also concerned about the unpredictability of government regulation and whether right now is the best time to buy,” said Brock Smeaton, sales representative, Royal LePage Sussex.
Sales of luxury houses declined for a second year, decreasing 50.5 per cent year-over-year during the twelve-month period studied while luxury condominium sales decreased 32.2 per cent year-over-year.
“Luxury properties in Greater Vancouver are softening in price, but the lower-end luxury market is faring better than the upper-end,” added Smeaton. “For buyers considering the city’s most luxurious properties, it is a great time to buy in terms of price and selection.”
When looking to the next twelve months, the median price of a luxury home in Greater Vancouver is forecast to decrease 7.1 per cent year-over-year to $5,341,936, while the median price of a luxury condominium is forecast to decrease 3.7 per cent to $2,580,115. Sales are forecast to increase modestly as price reductions and excellent selection of inventory are expected to stimulate market activity.
Calgary’s luxury house market forecast to see modest price appreciation
The median price of a luxury house in Calgary increased 3.2 per cent to $2,012,676 year-over-year during the twelve months ending January 31, 2019. Meanwhile, the median price of a luxury condominium remained relatively flat, rising 0.5 per cent year-over-year to $903,106 during the same period.
“While Calgary’s luxury condo market is still showing some softness, our luxury house market has stabilized after years of sustained low prices,” said John Hripko, associate broker, Royal LePage Benchmark. “However, some of the median price appreciation gain can be attributed to a relatively healthier upper-end luxury property market while price reductions to lower-priced luxury properties have pushed some listings out of the luxury category.”
During the twelve-month period ending January 31, 2019, sales of luxury houses increased 10.3 per cent from the year before, while condominium sales decreased 18.6 per cent.
“Overall, Calgary’s luxury home market today is very different from the days when the price of oil was near its peak, however, there is still good demand for luxury houses in central communities on the south-side such as Elbow Park, Mount Royal and Brittania, among others,” said Hripko. “It’s been years since Calgary’s luxury home prices first corrected and listing prices typically reflect current market value.”
When looking to the next twelve months, the median price of a luxury home in Calgary is forecast to increase 1.3 per cent year-over-year to $2,039,564, while the median price of a luxury condominium is forecast to modestly decrease 0.6 per cent to $898,047. Sales for both luxury houses and condos are forecast to be flat.
Ottawa’s luxury home market forecast to continue to appreciate after a year of healthy price gains and sales
Ottawa’s luxury home market posted a second year of healthy price appreciation during the twelve months ending January 31, 2019. The median price of a luxury house in Ottawa increased 5.0 per cent year-over-year to $1,811,716 compared to the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, the median price of a luxury condominium increased 3.8 per cent year-over-year to $1,005,549 during the same period.
“While the typical luxury buyer in Ottawa is usually a local buyer who will live in the property, there is a strong sentiment among buyers that Ottawa’s luxury home market is a sound financial investment,” said Charles Sezlik, sales representative, Royal LePage Team Realty. “The local economy is doing well, spurred by our booming technology sector, which is creating both wealth and jobs in the region. In addition to a growing buyer demographic, Ottawa’s luxury home market is benefitting from healthy consumer confidence.”
Sezlik added that compared to luxury home prices in other Canadian major real estate markets, Ottawa still has considerable room to grow.
“The lower end of the luxury market is very competitive. A good listing in a good location will not stay on the market long,” said Sezlik. “Luxury properties priced over 2 million had a slower start at the beginning of 2018 but demand quickened in the second half of the year. We are seeing this demand continue through the start of 2019 and expect another year of healthy sales and price appreciation.”
During the twelve months ending January 31, 2019, Ottawa’s luxury house sales were flat year-over-year, however, luxury house sales more than doubled compared to two years prior, rising from 26 sales to 60 sales.
When looking ahead, the median price of a luxury house in Ottawa is forecast to increase 4.2 per cent year-over-year to $1,887,624, while the median price of a luxury condominium is forecast to increase 3.1 per cent to $1,036,747 in the next twelve months.
Luxury real estate segment price appreciation in Canada’s five largest cities (.pdf)
About the Royal LePage Carriage Trade Luxury Properties Market Release
The Royal LePage Carriage Trade Luxury Properties Luxury Market Release provides information on the two most common types of luxury housing in Canada using lower thresholds of three times the median value of each segment relative to the overall property type’s median home value in that city. Real estate values use company data in addition to data and analytics from its sister company, RPS Real Property Solutions, the trusted source for residential real estate intelligence and analytics in Canada. Commentary on real estate markets are provided by Royal LePage residential luxury real estate experts, based on their opinions and market knowledge. Sales data is compiled by Royal LePage through the Toronto Real Estate Board, Greater Montreal Real Estate Board, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Ottawa Real Estate Board and Calgary Real Estate Board.
Lower thresholds used for detached luxury homes: Greater Toronto Area ($3,092,476), Greater Montreal Area ($1,235,266), Greater Vancouver ($4,705,050), Calgary ($1,669,041), and Ottawa ($1,420,331). Lower thresholds used for luxury condominiums: Greater Toronto Area ($1,543,909), Greater Montreal Area ($1,002,778), Greater Vancouver ($1,979,978), Calgary ($875,285), and Ottawa ($890,253).
About Royal LePage
Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of more than 18,000 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.
For more information visit: royallepage.ca.
 Lower price threshold used is three times the median price for each housing type within the census metropolitan area. For more information on price thresholds, please below section, ‘About the Royal LePage Carriage Trade Luxury Properties Market Release’