Sotheby’s International Realty says 2013 activity shows a return of buyer confidence in luxury residential real estate in the country’s largest cities.

It says that despite a sluggish start to 2013, the luxury real estate market exceeded experts’ expectations in the latter half of the year. Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary all ended 2013 with positive year-over-year sales growth, with 19 per cent (Vancouver), 13 per cent (Toronto) and 33 per cent (Calgary) gains respectively. Montreal stood as the only major urban centre in Canada to post negative sales growth for 2013 year over year, reporting an eight per cent decrease in homes sold over $1 million compared to 2012.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada CEO Ross McCredie says, “2013 proved to be a year that defied many analyst predictions. We expect to see continued growth in western Canada’s high-end housing market, specifically in attached and single family homes in Vancouver and Calgary. Entering 2014 we also anticipate Toronto maintaining its current upward sales trajectory.”

Leading the country in overall sales growth, Calgary saw properties over $1 million grow by 33 per cent compared to the year prior. From January to December 2013, property sales over $1 million set records in 10 of the 12 months of the year. A total of 722 homes (condominiums, attached and single family) sold over $1 million in 2013. Attached home sales increased 94 per cent year-over-year. Rising international immigration, inter-provincial migration and foreign investment continue to put Calgary in an enviable economic position. Entering 2014, the outlook for high-end properties and neighbourhoods remains strong, says Sotheby’s.

Coming out of a sluggish 2012, confidence returned to Vancouver’s high-end real estate in late spring of 2013. A total of 2,505 homes (condominiums, attached and single family) sold over $1 million marking a 19 per cent increase over 2012. Sales in the high end saw the greatest gains in the $4 million-plus price segment, increasing 48 per cent compared to the year prior. In the last half of 2013, the detached home market in Vancouver flourished, with a 74 per cent increase in sales over $1 million compared to the same six-month period last year.

Top-tier residential real estate sales in the Greater Toronto Area, including Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York saw continued upward luxury sales momentum in 2013. This trend came in spite of a year in which many analysts called for a “cooling”, particularly in luxury condo sales, says Sotheby’s. In spite of a slower start to the year, Toronto’s 2013 top-tier residential home sales saw resurgence the latter half of 2013. Overall, a total of 5,449 properties (condominiums, attached and single family) sold in 2013 over $1 million, representing an increase of 13 per cent over 2012. Attached homes saw the greatest movement as a category, selling 23 per cent more in 2013 than in 2012.

In contrast to the rebound seen in other major centres across Canada, 2013 proved to be a quieter year for Montreal’s high-end real estate market. Montreal experienced an eight per cent decline in homes sold over $1 million compared to 2012 sales. In total, 359 homes (condominiums, attached and single family) sold over $1 million in 2013, compared to 390 units sold in 2012. The million-dollar-plus condo and attached home markets remained stable from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2013 compared to the last half of 2012, increasing three per cent and two per cent respectively.


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