Remax Luxury Home Sales Report for Greater Toronto Area
Significant gains in high-end luxury homes and condos continued to demonstrate the overall strength of the Canadian real estate market in 2013, according to the following report released today by RE/MAX:
Luxury home sales in Canada’s largest real estate market continued to climb in 2013, rising 18 per cent to 1,908 units -- seting a new record for upper end activity priced in excess of $1.5 million.
Inventory levels played a key role in the uptick, with more buyers vying for fewer product, especially in prestigious central core districts, including Rosedale, Forest Hill, Lawrence Park, Bridle Path, Hogg’s Hollow, and, to a lesser extent, west end neighbourhoods such as the Kingsway, Edenbridge, and Princess Anne Manor. The desire to trade-up is fuelling much of the high-end activity at a time when interest rates are near historic lows. Serious equity gains have also contributed to the upswing, particularly inToronto Proper.
Local buyers -- professionals, entrepreneurs, and exeutives -- represent the vast majority of purchasers in the Greater Toronto Area in 2013, although a steady stream of foreign investment was noted in the top end last year. Single-detached homes were most sought after, with the most expensive property moving with a price tag of more than $13.4 million at year end. The 21,000 sq. ft. plus Bridle Path estate is fashioned after France’s Palace of Versailles. Approximately 1,000 luxury properties (freehold) are currently listed for sale in the Greater Toronto Area, with just over 300 currently available in Toronto Proper. Over 50 are priced in excess of $5 million. The GTAs highest-priced listing is also a Bridle Path estate, available for sale at $25.8 million, followed by a Forest Hill property listed at $18 million. The GTA’s C04 district, encompassing high-end neighbourhoods such as Lawrence Park, Lytton Park, Ledbury Park and Cricket Club, reported the highest number of sales over $1.5 million in 2013, at close to 250 units. The Bridle Path, York Mills, Hogg’s Hollow and Sunnybrook (C12) followed in lock step, with nearly 200 sales recorded last year.
Strength was also evident in communities outside the core, with Mississauga posting just over 100 upper-end sales over the past 12 months. Given tight inventory levels--virtually across the board -- purchasers are increasingly turning to infill product. New luxury home construction continues unabated throughout the GTA, with buyers paying top dollar for generous lots in prime locations. In fact, in neighbourhoods like Forest Hill and Lawrence Park, it is not uncommon for a builder to purchase an older home on a 50 x 150 ft. lot at $3 million, just to tear it down and build a larger, custom residence. Renovation is also occurring at a breakneck pace in many communities, as affluent purchasers realize their dreams of homeownership on their own terms.
Despite concerns over the proliferation of condominiums in the core, demand for apartments and townhomes remained constant in 2013. Ninety-two condominium properties sold over $1.5 million in 2013, up from 80 one year earlier. Of particular interest is the number of high-rise units sold over the $2 million mark -- 49 properties moved in 2013, representing a 75 per cent increase over the 2012 year-end figure of 28. The most expensive condo, offering close to 3,500 sq. ft. of pampered living space, moved for more than $6.3 million in the Yorkville district. Yorkville continues to attract the lion’s share of purchasers looking to take advantage of the condominium lifestyle, many of whom are empty nesters and retirees selling larger, single-family homes in the coveted central core. There are currently close to 150 upscale condominiums listed for sale in the GTA.
The Greater Toronto Area has experienced a steady increase in sales in the top end since 2008, when the market bottomed out at 656 units. Market escalation has brought luxury sales up close to 150 per cent since 2009, rising from just 774 units (40 condos/734 single-family homes) to 1,908 (92 condos/1,816 single family homes). Demand for luxury product is unlikely to soften in 2014, with sales of homes priced over $1.5 million expected to maintain a healthy clip throughout the year.