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A luxury real estate company with franchises around the world forecasts home prices in markets throughout central Canada will rise, while the upscale segments of western Canadian cities are going to favour well-heeled buyers.

“Regions are in different stages of buyer, seller or transitional cycles — all impacted by federal and local government regulations,” reads the Engel & Völkers Spring 2019 Canadian Market Report.

In particular, Engel & Völkers see locales within the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, which includes the Greater Toronto Area, experiencing further price growth this year.

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“Ultra high net worth” buyers are creating top-tier demand as they downsize to smaller condos in the posh Toronto neighbourhoods of Yorkville, Forest Hill or King Street West, the report suggests.

Meantime, Ottawa’s market is identified as an “emerging hot housing market,” a status Engel & Völkers expects the nation’s capital to hold onto this year.

“Ottawa is a prime example of a market benefiting from its local government and economy,” the report reads, citing rapid population growth as a positive trend.

One recent ranking of international cities pegged Ottawa as Canada’s hottest housing market, placing 45th on a list of 150.

Engel & Völkers considers Montreal real estate to be “thriving” — and it’s no wonder. Last month marked the 50th straight month in which home sales increased on a year-over-year basis.

“The market is seeing investors from Toronto moving to Montreal, along with Ottawa, to invest in new builds and properties,” Engel & Völkers says. “This growth is expected to continue.”

But it’s not just big central Canadian cities that are flexing their muscles. The Muskoka and Collingwood markets, popular Ontario vacation spots dotted with lakeside cottages and second homes, are tight, with supply levels hovering near historical lows.

“Overall for the luxury segment, the market will not be impacted by government regulations like the mortgage stress test as buyers are either well-qualified to pass or have no need for a mortgage,” notes Engel & Völkers.

In Western Canada’s priciest markets, conditions are favouring buyers, with sellers bringing down prices amid vanishing demand.

Victoria and Vancouver are buyer’s markets, says Engel & Völkers, and non-resident and vacancy taxes in each is playing a part in reduced appetite for property from international buyers.

In addition to government policies, high housing costs are tempering the Vancouver market. “There is currently more selection, less competition and more time for buyers to make a decision.”

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