Sales of homes in the $4-million-plus category rose 74% this summer

Bridle Path estates, Rosedale palaces and Forest Hill piles are outselling Vancouver’s famously expensive high-end mountain and oceanfront views, says luxury realtor Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

Toronto’s lead in Canadian luxury home sales continued through the summer and is expected to carry on for the remainder of 2016, says the company’s fall forecast, published Wednesday.

Sales of $1-million-plus Toronto-area single-family homes rose 83 per cent year over year in July and August. That’s 3,026 homes, with 55 per cent of them inside Toronto’s borders. Meanwhile, Vancouver saw a decline of 30 per cent in July and 65 per cent in August, for a total of 288 sales of $1-million-plus homes.

That’s not entirely surprising given that the average cost of a detached home in Toronto was about $1.2 million, said Sotheby’s CEO Brad Henderson.

“While $1 million is still a considerable amount of money, it’s difficult to find a single-family home in the city of Toronto for less than $1 million and it is not uncommon to find homes in the $2-million, $3-million or even $4-million-plus range,” he said.

Sotheby’s says sales of homes in the $4-million-and-up category rose 74 per cent in the region and 58 per cent in the city in July and August.

That continues the trend identified in the first six months of 2016. A July report from Sotheby’sshowed sales of detached homes in the $4-million-and-up range had increased 79 per cent year over year.

The Sotheby’s report also suggests there are signs that foreign home buyers, put off by the new 15-per-cent real estate tax in Vancouver, are considering other Canadian market.

That tax signals more than a financial penalty for non-Canadian buyers, Henderson said.

“What the (Vancouver) tax introduced is . . . some uncertainty as to what other policy issues the city or the province may introduce, which would adversely affect investors,” he said.

Those investors are looking elsewhere, including cities outside Canada.

“But, if they are looking in Canada, we believe Toronto will be the most logical place for people to consider. Montreal and Calgary will probably also get a look-see,” Henderson said.

He cited statistics from web-based hub Juwai, which bills itself as “the most integrated platform connecting international agents and Chinese buyers.”

“They recently reported . . . an 81-per-cent drop in the numbers of inquiries on that website for Vancouver and a 146-per-cent increase in inquiries for Toronto,” Henderson said.

Although those won’t necessarily lead to more Toronto-area purchases, “it’s certainly an indicator that interest is moving from Vancouver to other markets,” he said.

Sotheby’s report forecasts a “more normalized fall market” in Vancouver, based on summer sales there.

On Tuesday, the chief economist and strategist at National Bank of Canada predicted Vancouver’s housing market may enter a correction with price declines of at least 10 per cent.

“There is a downside to single-family homes in Vancouver,” after policy changes in the past year, such as higher down-payment requirements and the provincial tax on foreign buyers, said Stefane Marion. Price declines will be moderated by the province’s strong job growth, he said.

“I don’t think it sends the economy into a tailspin. It’s a healthy correction,” Marion said.

Ten per cent of homes sold in the Toronto region in the first six months of 2016 were $1 million or more, according to Sotheby’s. Sales over $4 million comprised less than .05 per cent of the total transactions, according to Sotheby’s.

Strong GDP growth, low unemployment, well-paying jobs and its position as Canada’s leading city continue to make Toronto an attractive place for people immigrating and raising their families, Henderson said.

There are many pockets of larger, high-quality homes outside the city, too, he said, citing parts of Mississauga, eastern Oakville, King City, Kleinburg, Caledon, Markham, Richmond Hill and Aurora.

  • With files from Bloomberg, Toronto leads in luxury 65% increase in Toronto area homes that sold for $1 million or more in the first six months of 2016, compared to the same period last year. 
  • 35% Increase in number of homes sold for $1 million or more in the city of Toronto in the first half of the year, compared to the same six months of 2015.
  • 26% Increase in $1 million-plus homes sold in Vancouver during the first six months of the year, compared to last year’s first half.

Source: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Toronto: World's Hottest Luxury Real Estate Market

Toronto was ranked the world’s hottest luxury real estate market in a new report that shows US$100 million is the new benchmark for prime properties. Demand for mega-mansions and penthouses has accelerated as wealthy buyers seek havens for their cash and search for alternative investments such as art and collectible real estate, according to the report Thursday by Christie’s International Real Estate, owned by auction house Christie’s.

While Toronto ranked 10th on the report’s luxury index overall it was first on the luxury thermometer as the only top city to see a 37 per cent increase in luxury home sales in 2014 compared to just four per cent the previous year.
“2014 was the Toronto market’s second-best year on record,” said Justine Deluce of Chestnut Park Real Estate. “If there had been more inventory, the record would easily have been shattered.”
The report said that low supply of homes in Toronto has pushed prices to $1–$2 million for relatively average homes in the city and up to $2–$4 million for larger homes or those in the most desirable neighbourhoods. The shortage of homes pushed luxury condo prices above $1 million as well in 2014.
Toronto also had the fastest sales pace, with prime properties finding a buyer an average of 31 days after listing.
The ultra-luxury housing market is scaling new heights as a record number of properties around the world command prices topping US$100 million
Five homes sold for more than US$100 million last year, with at least 20 more on the market with nine-figure asking prices, the brokerage said.
“You’re looking at a universe of over 1,800 billionaires who are starting to become members of this club of collectors of the most unique and incredible real estate in the world,” Dan Conn, chief executive officer of Christie’s International Real Estate, said in a telephone interview. “It’s something they’ll hold onto for a lifetime, the same way they’ll hold onto a Picasso or a Warhol or any number of the great pieces of art we’ve sold over the years.”
Sales are likely to increase this year with more newly built properties and off-market homes trading for at least US$100 million, Conn said. Demand is growing among affluent Americans and Europeans; billionaires from unstable economies, such as Russia and Middle Eastern countries; and buyers from mainland China, who were barred from investing overseas before 2012 and since have snapped up houses in cities including Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and London.

Toronto has hottest luxury-home market in the world

Luxury homes in Toronto sell an average of three times faster than they do in New York

toronto luxury homes 2015Christie's Real Estate says Toronto has the hottest market for luxury homes on Earth, with a price point of $3 million US being the starting point for what the high-end real estate firm says qualifies as luxury.
In its annual ranking, the real estate company — best known for being an auction house — says the volume of luxury home sales rose by 37 per cent in Toronto last year, much higher than increases seen elsewhere.
Source: CBC News

Fantastic Sales and Price Growth in February

March 4, 2015 -- Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,338 home sales through the TorontoMLS system in February 2015. This result represented a substantial 11.3 per cent year-over-year increase compared to February 2014. Large annual increases in transactions were noted for most major home types, in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions.
“Even with the record low temperatures last month, we still saw an increase in the number of people purchasing homes in the GTA. This speaks to the importance households place on home ownership and the fact that buyers continue to view ownership housing as a quality long-term investment in which they can live,” said Mr. Etherington.
The overall supply of homes for sale, as measured by the count of active listings at the end of February 2015, was down by 8.7 per cent compared to the same count in February 2014. This means that market conditions became tighter, leading to more competition between buyers.
The overall average selling price for February 2015 home sales was $596,163– up by 7.8 per cent compared to the average for February 2014. Driving this increase was the detached market segment. In the City of Toronto, the average detached selling price moved above $1 million dollars for the first time in a calendar month.
“The strong year-over-year price growth we experienced in February points to the robust demand for ownership housing in the GTA, coupled with a constrained supply of homes for sale in some market segments, especially where low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses are concerned,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

GTA Real Estate Market Update - January 2015

Wealthy buyers, baby boomers and foreign investors went on such a spirited real estate spending spree in 2014, they are “driving the GTA market more than ever” and making even the $1 million-plus condo a hot commodity.

The number of Toronto houses and condos that sold for over $1 million in 2014 surged by 38 per cent over 2013 as “robust consumer demand” and a shortage of listings continued to drive house prices skyward, according annual Top-Tier Real Estate Report released Wednesday by luxury realtor Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

That far outstripped the 25 per cent growth in million-plus sales in Canada’s priciest market, Vancouver, according to the report, which also looks at Montreal — recovering since the election of a Liberal majority government — and Calgary, facing uncertainty in the face of slumping oil prices.

“There are about 270,000 high-net worth families in Canada and there are more of them driving this market than ever before, especially in the GTA,” says Sotheby’s Canada president and CEO Ross McCredie.

“We don’t see any black clouds on the horizon, except maybe in Alberta. And that’s going to be a question of consumer confidence” in the face of slumping oil prices.

Some 7,527 condos and single family homes (detached, semis and townhomes) sold for over $1 million in 2014 across the GTA. 

That’s a relatively small portion of the more than 90,000 homes that changed hands in the GTA in 2014. But the demand for multi-million homes — including high-end condos where sales were up 46 per cent in 2014 — has been so strong, it’s actually been skewing national housing statistics, says McCredie.

Realtors have even been seeing house-style bidding wars for some higher-end condos, he said.

Demand both here and in Vancouver for higher-end homes is largely being driven by downsizing baby boomers and the wealthy, including foreign buyers, looking to Canada’s two biggest cities as stable, safe havens, said McCredie in an interview.

In fact, some foreign investors are increasingly looking to Toronto because it’s still more affordable than Vancouver, he added.

“The real story, maybe more in the GTA than anywhere else in Canada, is that the baby boomer is largely driving this market right now. They have a lot of money, they are inheriting a lot of money and they are giving away a lot of money.

“They don’t really care if that condo they buy in Yorkville goes up or down. This is about lifestyle and not having to commute and helping their kids get into the housing market.”

Sales of GTA homes between $1 million and $2 million were up 39 per cent in 2014, year over year, as bidding wars and a shortage of listings — especially in Toronto neighbourhoods within an easy commute to the core — helped drive prices further skyward, according to the report.

Sales of $2 million to $4 million homes were up 38 per cent over 2013 and $4 million-plus sales were up 10 per cent, says Sotheby’s.

“Entry prices” for a “luxury” condo, attached (semis or townhomes) and detached home in the City of Toronto now hover around $1.5 million, $2 million and $2.5 to $3 million respectively, it notes.

Million-plus sales were up 21 per cent in Montreal, according to the report.

“Renewed political stability” saw high-end sales pick up after the Liberals trounced the Parti Quebecois last spring to form a majority government.

Calgary saw a 16 per cent increase in high-end sales in 2014, but that was before slumping oil prices really started impacting the western economy. 

Interest rates remain an unknown for 2015, as does the impact of oil prices on the Calgary market, acknowledged McCredie. But he predicted it would take a sizable rate hike — close to double digits, which is unlikely in the short term — to scare off high net-worth buyers.

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Short supply of Listing and Buyer market in Toronto




TORONTO, July 4, 2013 -- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 9,061 sales through the Toronto MLS

system in June 2013 .down by less than one per cent compared to June 2012.  Over the same period,

new listings were down by a greater rate than sales, suggesting market conditions became tighter.

"The sales picture in the GTA improved markedly in the second quarter of 2013. While the number of transactions was still

down compared to 2012, rates of decline were substantially improved compared to the first quarter," said Toronto Real Estate

Board President Dianne Usher."As a growing number of homebuyers, many of whom put their purchase on hold due to stricter

lending guidelines, now reactivate their search, the expectation is for renewed growth in home sales in the second half of 2013,"

added Ms. Usher.The average selling price in June was up by 4.7 per cent year-over-year to $531,374.  In line with the 2013 norm,

June price growth was driven by the single-detached and semi-detached market segments, particularly in the City of Toronto. 

Over the same time period, average condominium apartment selling prices remained in line with 2012 levels.

"The short supply of low-rise home types in many parts of the GTA relative to the number of households looking to buy continued

-to prompt strong upward pressure on selling prices of singles and semis," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

  "We have also seen enough buyers in the better-supplied condo apartment market to provide support for selling prices at current levels."


Summary of Toronto MLS Sales and Average Price









June 1 - 30






Average Price

New Listings


Average Price

New Listings

City of Toronto ("416")







Rest of GTA ("905")















Source: Toronto Real Estate Board




















Toronto MLS Sales & Average Price  By Home Type









June 1 - 30, 2013



Average Price






















Yr./Yr. % Change














Yr./Yr. % Change














Yr./Yr. % Change







Condo Apartment







Yr./Yr. % Change









 price of a resale house in the GTA hit $516,787 in May, up 6.5 per cent from $485,362 in May, 2011, according to the monthly house sales figures released by TREB Tuesday. That price growth was driven by the low-rise house market, rather than the high-rise condo market, the report notes.The sudden rush of spring market supply, a welcome relief during what’s usually one of the busiest home buying and selling months of the year, may bode well for buyers down the road, says TREB.If new listings continue to grow at the pace they did in May for the remainder of 2012, the annual rate of price growth should begin to moderate on a sustained basis,” says Jason Mercer, senior manager of market analysis for TREB.The lack of an adequate supply of listings has been puzzling both analysts and realtors for some time, with demand—largely thanks to low interest rates—far outstripping supply of single-family homes. Some housing experts have blamed Toronto’s land transfer tax for putting off some Toronto residents from listing their homes and picking up that added up-front cost of moving. Others have raised concerns that baby boomers may be simply staying in their homes longer than anyone had anticipated, and not downsizing nearly as soon as many had expected.Some 10,850 homes changed hands across the GTA in May, 6,720 of them in the 905 regions. The average price of a home in the 416 regions hits $568,768 in May compared to $484,840 in the 905 regions.That’s up from 9,766 sales in May of 2011 when the price of the average resale home in the 416 area was $536,655 compared to $451,680 in the 905 regions.

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