Canada’s metropolitan luxury real estate markets continue to reflect unprecedented circumstances leading into fall 2021. Following record-shattering sales across major markets through the first half of 2021, pandemic-related influences continue to motivate consumer housing activity, driving new demand for urban real estate as downtown cores revitalize and consumer confidence in higher density, city living continues to rise. However, the supply of available top-tier real estate is deficient in relation to housing needs, constraining sales across multiple market segments, limiting housing mobility, and accelerating price gains as a result. With an unsatiated undercurrent of demand across every major market and a new wave of prospective real estate consumers imminent, rising prices and steady activity are forecasted for fall.
New data compiled by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada reveals that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is positioned to see continued price acceleration in an active fall market, even as the region’s acute shortage of conventional and luxury housing supply caps overall activity. An unexpectedly active summer resulted in residential real estate sales over $4 million rising 12% year-over-year in July and August 2021, with six ultra-luxury properties sold over $10 million compared to four properties sold in this price range over the same months in 2020. As in other major metropolitan markets, the GTA luxury condominium market strengthened as confidence in urban living continues to rise. As a result, sales of luxury condominiums over $4 million were up 40% year-over-year to seven units sold in the GTA in July and August, with one ultra-luxury unit selling over $10 million on MLS compared to a lack of transactions in this price range in the summer of 2020. This outpaced the percentage gains experienced in luxury single-family home sales over $4 million, which saw a 15% year-over-year increase from the summer months of 2020. Residential sales over $4 million between September 1–15 reflect underlying consumer demand for premier real estate leading into fall, as sales increased 33% year-over-year.
Vancouver’s luxury market is poised to see some relief from the extraordinary pace and price gains experienced over its prolonged sellers’ market but continues to confront the challenges of the region’s chronic and significant deficit of conventional and high-end housing supply. Overall residential sales over $4 million increased 13% year-over-year in July and August 2021, with one ultra-luxury property sold on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) over $10 million during this time. Top-tier condominium sales also strengthened as confidence in city living revived; summer sales over $1 million increased 22% year-over-year, while luxury condominium sales over $4 million remained steady at 2020 summer levels with nine units sold. At the same time, luxury single-family home sales over $4 million increased 14% year-over-year in July and August, while one home sold over $10 million on MLS compared to three in the summer months of 2020, reflecting sellers’ increased requirements for privacy. A new real estate record was set for Greater Vancouver during this time, with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s exclusive sale of the highest-priced single-family residential sale on a single lot in the region’s history. Residential real estate sales over $4 million in the first 15 days of September reflected a delayed start to the fall market, as well as the forthcoming challenges of inventory shortages for increasingly frustrated and hesitant buyers. $4 million-plus residential sales declined 68% year-over-year, with none of these selling above $10 million compared to one ultra-luxury above this price point on MLS in the same period of 2020.
Montreal experienced a fleeting seasonal sales slowdown as consumers and the industry briefly withdrew from a heated sellers’ market that set new records through the first half of 2021, but the brevity of this lull and the market’s swift rebound of luxury sales in early fall points to a dynamic and active season ahead. In face of strong consumer demand, the city is set to face the twin challenges of a significant provincial deficit of conventional and luxury housing, and price acceleration in turn. Over July and August, residential real estate sales over $4 million were up 50% year-over-year; while $1 million-plus sales contracted 17% over the summer months, they were up 26% year-over-year in the first 15 days of September. Three luxury sales took place over $4 million between September 1–15 where there had been no transactions of this magnitude in the same period last year. The summer seasonal slowdown resulted in single-family home sales over $1 million declining by 24% year-over-year in July and August, even as $4 million-plus sales increased 40%, before resurging in the first weeks of September. Montreal’s luxury condominium market has been experiencing striking gains: sales over $1 million were up 30% year-over-year over in the summer months and jumped 125% year-over-year in the first 15 days of September, signalling strength in this sector in the fall ahead.
Calgary’s luxury residential real estate market, which had gained steady traction since the start of the year, evolved into a true sellers’ market over the summer and is poised for more balanced market conditions this fall. With the recovery of the oil and gas industry and provincial economy, as well as the re-opening of the province, strengthening consumer optimism, residential sales over $1 million increased 50% year-over-year in July and August. The city’s market-dominant single-family home segment saw sales over $1 million increase 53% year-over-year during this time; meanwhile, condominium sales over $1 million in this well-supplied segment saw sales double from previous year’s levels to six units sold over the summer months.