The struggles of first-time Canadian homebuyers are well documented, but according to a new report, even well-heeled buyers are competing in booming luxury real estate markets.
Sotheby's International Realty Canada says the country's biggest markets broke records in 2021, led by the Greater Toronto Area.
It found 805 $4 million-plus residential properties (condominiums, attached, and single-family homes) were sold. That's a 224 per cent increase from 2020. Moving up the ladder to homes over $10 million, 31 properties were sold for a 238 per cent jump.
"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," said Don Kottick, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, in a release.
"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."
Kottick says these high expectations have led to a competitive luxury market.
Sotheby's International Realty Canada says sellers continued to look at exclusive sales and marketing platforms that protected their privacy.
In Vancouver, 410 $4-million plus homes were sold for a 171 per cent year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, 24 properties over $10 million were sold for a 218 per cent rise compared to 2020. That includes the highest single-family residential sale on a single lot.
Montreal also had a record-breaking 2021 for homes above $4 million, with 41 properties changing hands for a 171 per cent increase. Two properties sold for above $10 million, including the highest-priced residential property sale through the Multiple Listing Service system in Quebec's history.
A reinvigorated energy sector helped Calgary report four luxury property sales in the $4 million-plus segment, twice as many as in 2020. No homes over $10 million were sold.
Kottick says local demand was the key driver in 2021 as low interest rates, savings stockpiles, and stock market anxiety encouraged diversification into real estate. However, he also says there has been a gradual increase in the number of international enquiries.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.