Toronto is poised to lead the country in high-end home sales for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to Sotheby's International Realty Canada.

The realtor released a report Wednesday that looked at sales of homes for more than $1 million in Toronto and three other cities -- Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.

It concluded that 19,692 such properties were sold last year in the Greater Toronto Area -- an increase of 77 per cent compared to 2015. Sales of luxury homes -- those worth more than $4 million -- in the GTA rose 95 per cent year-over-year to 290 homes.

 

 

Toronto home sales make 2016 a year for the record book

Toronto’s housing market just capped off a second straight record year of sales. But the Toronto Real Estate Board isn’t pointing fingers at foreign buyers. Survey data released today by TREB suggests foreign homebuyers account for only five per cent of sales. With average prices having climbed 20 per cent in December, TREB is again blaming a dearth of inventory. Jason Mercer, director of market analysis at TREB, has the details.

Among those changes is a one-per-cent tax on vacant homes implemented by the City of Vancouver and the B.C. government's 15 per cent tax on foreigners buying homes in Metro Vancouver.

Those changes amplified a cooling in the Vancouver real estate market that started over the summer, according to Sotheby's.

Sales in Vancouver's $1 million-plus market were down 34 per cent year-over-year in the second half of the year compared to the same period in 2015.

But on an annual basis, sales of Vancouver homes worth $1 million or more were relatively flat last year, down one per cent year-over-year to 4,515 units.

Sales of homes priced at over $4 million were up 36 per cent year-over-year in Vancouver.

Sotheby's predicts that the Vancouver market for $1-million-plus homes will remain stable in the first quarter of 2017



In Montreal, high-end home sales increased 23 per cent year-over-year to 613 properties, thanks to a stable provincial economy and political landscape, according to Sotheby's.

Calgary's $1-million-plus market also saw a boost last year. After declining 40 per cent year-over-year in 2015 due to the oil price shock, sales of homes worth $1 million or more were up 19 per cent to 612 units in 2016.

But the realtor says it's expecting a buyers' market in Calgary in the first quarter of the year as the city's economic challenges drag on.

Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said there are a confluence of factors responsible for the red-hot growth in Toronto's top-tier real estate market.

Among them are low interest rates, strong employment and consumer confidence and a limited supply of properties for sale, particularly in the single-family home segment.

"With natural boundaries like the lake and the greenbelt, the Greater Toronto region has less developable land than other markets, and as a consequence there are less opportunities to add to the supply," Henderson said.

Sotheby's says global turmoil -- including Britain's vote to exit the European Union and Donald Trump's election win in the U.S. -- injected uncertainty into global real estate markets last year.

Canada, which is regarded as a safe haven, has a low dollar and a strong real estate market, making it a desirable destination for real estate investment and immigration, according to the report.