Canada’s high-end homes segment seeing strong sales growth

Edmonton’s luxury sales of homes over $1 million have increased significantly in the first three months of the year.

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Luxury real estate resales continued trending upward Canada, a new report shows.

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And Edmonton’s market is no exception, says a local realtor.

“Some of those hard-to-sell luxury properties that sat on the market for awhile are now selling, so there is definitely more confidence,” says Ron Dickson, realtor and senior vice-president of sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

The recent Sotheby’s Top-Tier Real Estate: Spring 2022 State of Luxury report found growth across Canada’s major markets, which include the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver, Montreal and Vancouver, although not Edmonton.

President and chief executive officer Don Kottick at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada says despite not being included in the report, Edmonton largely mirrors Calgary’s performance, which was exceptional in the first three months of the year.

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“That’s said, it’s always a little more tapered in Edmonton because it’s a government town compared with Calgary, which has a lot of corporate head offices,” he adds.

Calgary’s luxury market, which starts at $1 million, experienced very strong year-over-year growth, increasing 82 per cent with 427 sales in the first quarter of 2022.

In contrast, recent Realtors Association of Edmonton (RAE) figures for the first three months of 2022 show that 65 properties sold in Edmonton priced more than $1 million. That’s up from 47 sales in that price range for the same period in 2021, an increase of 38 per cent.

If it were included in the Sotheby’s report, however, Edmonton would have the second strongest year-over-year growth, percentage-wise, only trailing Calgary.

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By comparison, the GTA saw 30 per cent year-over-year sales growth while Vancouver’s luxe market hit a speedbump in the first three months of 2022 with sales falling by 14 per cent, year over year.

Montreal’s high-end market also grew, but only by about six per cent compared with the first three months of 2021, the report found.

A key reason for Calgary’s luxury market strength, the report found, is Alberta’s economic recovery economy, driven not only by its oil and gas industry, but also by growth in other areas, including its burgeoning technology sector.

Yet Dickson notes another key driver for luxury in Alberta: out-of-province demand.

“Because we are such a small major market, luxury is based on perception,” he says, noting luxury in Canada’s largest markets starts at $4 million.

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“So for someone moving from Toronto and Vancouver, Edmonton’s luxury market is a bargain.”

He cites one recent luxury home listed in the city whereby a buyer from Toronto and a Vancouver buyer were competing with multiple bids.

“One big reason why our luxury market is seeing the demand now is because of the work-from-home revolution,” Dickson adds.

“If you can work from anywhere, then you don’t have to live in Vancouver or Toronto.”

In turn, more professionals are selling in those markets and paying cash for a property in Edmonton.

“So they still have cash in the bank and live happily ever after,” Dickson says.

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