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2008 Luxury Home Sales

Luxury home sales hold steady in most major markets across the country, says RE/MAX

Two-thirds of markets surveyed report upswing in the number of upper-end homes sold in 2008

Kelowna, BC (September 25, 2008) --  Luxury home sales have outperformed virtually all other residential price points this year, but activity in the top-end is expected to taper in most major Canadian centres in coming months, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Upper-End Report, which highlights trends and developments in 15 housing markets across the country for the first seven months of 2008 found Vancouver, Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Halifax-Dartmouth, and St. John’s all experienced an upswing in sales activity, while declines were noted in Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton-Burlington, and Toronto. Also significant is in all but two markets, percentage increases in sales were greatest in the upper-end when compared to the overall residential marketplace in 2008.

Market

 

Price Point

 

Sales/07

 

 Sales/08

 

Luxury

 

All Res. % +/-

 

% +/-

 

Greater Vancouver    

 

$2 million

 

370

 

390

 

5

 

-24

 

Victoria

 

$1 million

 

159

 

165

 

4

 

-18

 

Kelowna

 

$1 million

 

71

 

63

 

-11

 

-30

 

Edmonton

 

$850,000

 

110

 

67

 

-64

 

-23

 

Calgary

 

$1 million

 

312

 

258

 

-17

 

-30

 

Regina

 

$500,000

 

17

 

69

 

306

 

-11

 

Saskatoon

 

$500,000

 

11

 

19

 

72

 

-14

 

Winnipeg

 

$500,000

 

62

 

117

 

89

 

0.01

 

London

 

$350,000

 

383

 

435

 

14

 

-9

 

Kitchener-Waterloo

 

$500,000

 

128

 

188

 

47

 

-5

 

Hamilton-Burlington

 

$750,000

 

76

 

50

 

-34

 

-7

 

Greater Toronto

 

$1.5 million

 

505

 

487

 

-5

 

-13

 

Ottawa

 

$750,000

 

99

 

135

 

36

 

-3

 

Halifax-Dartmouth

 

$400,000

 

218

 

262

 

20

 

-7

 

St. John's

 

$400,000

 

28

 

50

 

78

 

11

 

Source: RE/MAX, Local Real Estate Boards

 

 

 

 

“In two-thirds of the markets we surveyed, demand for upscale homes surpassed peak levels reported last year,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada .  “However, with supply edging higher in most major centres and few markets reporting tight inventory levels, we are seeing a return to more balanced conditions.  This situation is expected to have an impact on high-end values in coming months, especially in areas that have experienced consistent double-digit growth.”

Although the top-end of the market represents less than five per cent of total sales, activity is generally a gauge of overall market conditions.  Leading the country in terms of percentage increase in luxury home sales are Regina (up 306 per cent); Winnipeg (up 89 per cent); St. John’s (up 78 per cent); Saskatoon (up 72 per cent); Kitchener-Waterloo (up 47 per cent); Ottawa (up 36 per cent); Halifax-Dartmouth (up 20 per cent); London (up 14 per cent); Greater Vancouver (up five per cent); and Victoria (up four per cent). Solid performance is likely a result of consumer confidence, particularly in provinces like Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and parts of Ontario where solid economic fundamentals helped to bolster the number of homes sold in the upper-end. 

“Given the transition occurring in most residential real estate markets, upper-end sales remain exceptionally strong,” says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.  “The market for luxury homes is usually the first to show pressure cracks, but the reverse is actually true this year, with pent-up demand (due to trade-up activity), less speculation, and job transfers all factors contributing to stability in this segment.  That being said, we feel uncertainty in financial markets both here and abroad will give purchasers cause for concern in the immediate future.”

The RE/MAX Upper-End Report also notes serious appreciation in housing values in recent years has pushed upper-end price points to new levels.  This is especially so in Western Canada where $2 million is now merely a starting price in Greater Vancouver, while in the tony Westside, that figure is closer to $4 million. Calgary is steady at $1 million this year, but is pushing closer to the $1.5 million benchmark.  In Ottawa , where the upper-end price point is currently pegged at $750,000, sales are increasingly occurring over the $1 million mark.

Other highlights include:

§         The most expensive MLS sale in Canada in 2008 occurred in Greater Vancouver with a sticker price of $11.5 million.  A property priced at $9 million in Greater Toronto sold in a multiple offer situation for more than $11 million as well.

§         The priciest condominium currently listed for sale on MLS is priced at $14.8 million in Greater Vancouver – reduced from $18 million earlier this year.

§         The Four Seasons Hotel, currently under construction in Greater Toronto’s Yorkville area, has the most expensive list price in the country -- $30 million for a penthouse suite on the 55th floor. RE/MAX is Canada 's leading real estate organization with over 18,000 sales associates situated throughout its more than 640 independently owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 34th year, is a global real estate system operating in over 65 countries.  More than 7,000 independently owned offices engage more than 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral and asset management.  For more information, visit: www.remax.ca.