The country’s major metropolitan luxury real estate markets broke consecutive records throughout 2021 as Canadians’ urgent, pandemic-influenced demand for housing mobility and strengthening confidence in the country’s economic recovery drove price gains, eroded inventory and propelled markets to historic highs.
“Canada’s real estate market was redefined in 2021. There has been a transformative change in Canadians’ perceptions of the importance of their homes as an investment in lifestyle and pleasure, physical sanctuary and security, as well as financial stability and generational wealth,” says Don Kottick, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “Within the luxury real estate market, one of the pandemic’s lasting influences has been the elevation in standards of what constitutes ‘luxury’. Today’s affluent consumers are seeking a calibre of architectural excellence, design, technology, service and amenities that meet lofty global standards. This willingness to invest in excellence will continue to foster a competitive environment for luxury real estate in the market ahead.”
According to Kottick, local demand was the principal driver of Canada’s luxury and conventional housing market in 2021, as low-interest rates, record cash savings and underlying anxiety regarding future stock market performance continue to encourage diversification into real estate. A gradual increase in international enquiries on luxury properties through the year reflect an ongoing build-up in demand from expatriates, new Canadians and permanent residents that will flow into the market as travel restrictions gradually ease.
Overall, luxury residential real estate sales over $4 million (condominiums, attached and single family homes) soared 171% year-over-year to 410 properties sold in 2021. Despite the increasing desire for privacy by owners of prestigious residences, 24 properties sold over $10 million on Multiple Listing Services (MLS) over the course of the year, a significant 218% increase over the 11 properties sold in this ultra-luxury price range in 2020. Overall, residential real estate sales over $1 million were up 145% to 5,794 properties sold in 2021.
As in the case of the country’s largest metropolitan real estate markets, the City of Vancouver had experienced its initial post-pandemic rebound in its single-family home segment. This demand endured through 2021, propelling luxury single family home sales over $4 million to rise 172% year-over-year to 362 homes sold, as ultra-luxury sales over $10 million surged 240% to 24 sold in 2021. Overall, $1 million-plus single family home sales were up 129% year-over-year to 2,909 homes sold. Over the course of the year, luxury condominium sales over $4 million rose 137% to 37 units sold. Overall, $1 million-plus condominium sales increased 171% year-over-year to 1,600 units sold in 2021.
With some of the country’s most affordable prices for conventional and luxury homes, a recent generational trends report released by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada revealed that Calgary is not only retaining young locals with affordable housing options, it is also attracting young first-time homebuyers and upsizers from other major Canadian metropolitan areas who are seeking better living standards and top-tier homes at accessible prices.
Overall residential real estate sales over $1 million (condominiums, attached, and single family homes), increased 222% year-over-year to a total of 1,101 homes sold in 2021, and Calgary reported four luxury property sales in the $4 million-plus segment, double the properties sold in this price category in 2020. Top-tier single family home sales made up 92% of 2021 $1 million-plus real estate transactions, with 1,011 homes sold over $1 million, an increase of 219% year-over-year. Sales activity in Calgary’s luxury attached home market also soared in 2021, with total sales over $1 million experiencing a 244% increase year-over-year. The city’s luxury $1 million-plus condominium sales increased 267% year-over-year to 24 units sold in 2021.
Greater Toronto Area
Overall, the $4 million-plus residential real estate market (condominiums, attached and single family homes) soared 224% year-over-year to 805 properties sold in 2021. Ultra-luxury property sales over $10 million recorded on Multiple Listings Service (MLS) surged 238% to 31 properties sold, even as luxury sales continued to migrate away from MLS towards exclusive sales and marketing platforms as homeowners sought to protect privacy. Overall top-tier real estate transactions over $1 million in the GTA were up 194% to 52,776 properties sold in 2021.
$1 million-plus condo sales were up 195% year-over-year to 3,194 units sold in 2021. The region’s $4 million-plus attached home market experienced a significant 267% increase year-over-year to 16 homes sold in 2021 and saw the greatest annual percentage gains of the housing types. Overall top-tier attached home sales over $1 million increased 288% to 9,188 homes sold. As sales over $4 million increased 227% from 2020 levels to 746 homes sold, ultra-luxury sales over $10 million also surged 223% to 29 properties sold.
The City of Montreal’s luxury real estate market shattered multiple records in 2021. Notably, in December 2021, the highest residential property sale through the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) system in Quebec’s history was recorded by Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec for a private waterfront estate listed at $19,885,000 CAD in the village of Senneville, situated outside the city on the western tip of the Island of Montreal.
Sales over $1 million were up 137% year-over-year to 1,810 properties sold in 2021. Of the 794 $1 million-plus single family home sales reported in 2021, 32 did so in the luxury $4 million-plus range, an increase of 178% from 2020. Montreal’s top-tier attached home market reflected similar trends. In 2021, this housing segment saw 578 home sales reported over $1 million, an increase of 130% year-over-year. Most notably, Montreal’s luxury condominium market soared to new records in 2021, with sales over $1 million rising 165% year-over-year. In fact, condominium sales made up 24% of all luxury real estate transactions over $1 million in Montreal in 2021, a new high. One ultra-luxury condominium sold over $10 million in 2021: listed at $12.9 million by Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec, the sale of the penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Montreal to a U.S. buyer broke the province’s historic record for condominium prices on MLS.
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The information contained in this report references market data from MLS boards across Canada. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada cautions that MLS market data can be useful in establishing trends over time but does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differentials within local markets. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada or Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates for any loss or damage resulting from any use of, reliance on, or reference to the contents of this document.