Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Well-heeled homebuyers are making a big splash in two of Canada’s hottest real estate markets, a Sotheby’s report released today suggests, but it’s a different story in other major markets.

Annual sales of homes (condos, attached, and standalone) carrying price tags greater than $4 million skyrocketed 67 per cent in Vancouver and 71 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area in 2015, according to the realtor’s bi-annual Top-Tier Real Estate Report.

These sharp increases in high-end activity were greater than what either market witnessed when it came to dwellings in the $2 to $4 million and $1 to $2 million ranges, says Sotheby’s, which compiled data from MLS systems across four major Canadian markets, including Calgary and Montreal, to create the report.

Nevertheless, in both those exclusive corners of the GTA and Vancouver markets sales surged, too. For $1 to $2 million abodes, transactions leapt 48 per cent in the GTA and 43 per cent in Vancouver. Further up the price scale, $2 to $4 million sales shot up 41 per cent in the GTA over the past year while soaring 46 per cent higher in BC’s most populous city.

With the average price of a standalone home in the GTA rising 11.9 per cent to $825,470 and the benchmark price for these homes in Vancouver climbing 24.3 per cent and hitting $1,248,600 last month, it should come as no surprise that million-dollar-plus-home sales tracked higher in both markets.

For the GTA, this came in the shape of a 48 per cent increase in home sales involving properties costing more than $1 million, and these deals were up 46 per cent in Vancouver.

The outlook in the other markets varied. The Sotheby’s report notes “Montreal’s high-end real estate market remained stable in 2015” but “the downturn in the energy sector, rising unemployment rates and continued economic uncertainty led to shaken consumer confidence, negatively impacting sales” in Calgary.

Residential transactions involving properties that cost over $1 million rose 15 per cent over the year in Montreal, where the median price of a single-family home was $295,000 in December 2015. Sales climbed for homes in the $1 to $2 million range and $2 to $4 million range by 17 per cent and 2 per cent respectively, while they remained flat for $4-million-plus homes.

Calgary posted declined across the board. Compared to 2014’s numbers,home sales plummeted 41 per cent for million-dollar-plus homes, 39 per cent for the $1 to $2 million category, and 55 per cent for $2 to $4 million digs.

Clearly, the oil-region metropolis is not a hot market for homes going for more than $4 million either.

In fact, only a single home in Calgary sold for over $4 million in all of 2015, an 83 per cent free fall for this kind of activity.

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