Photo: Sotheby’s

It’s east versus west when it comes to the upper echelons of Canadian real estate.

A new report from brokerage Sotheby’s International Realty Canada highlights the chasm separating the luxury segments of housing markets on either end of the country.

Price and sales performance of top-tier residential properties in Toronto and Montreal provide a stark contrast to the struggling luxury markets in Calgary and Vancouver, according to the Sotheby’s 2019 Mid-Year Top-Tier Real Estate Report.

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A total of 103 properties priced over $4 million changed hands in the Greater Toronto Area, down 19 percent annually through the first six months of the year.

But Sotheby’s suggests this decline is inflated. Increasingly, well-heeled sellers are avoiding the multiple listings service system used by the Toronto Real Estate Board (and the source for the sales data in the report).

Following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the TREB’s appeal of an earlier decision in favour of the Competition Bureau — which was battling the board over access to home sales data — wealthy sellers are exclusively listing homes to maintain privacy.

Looking at just the city of Toronto, sales in the $4-million-plus range were roughly flat, declining 2 percent year-over-year in 2019’s first half.

To the east, Montreal’s luxury market is on pace for a record-breaking year.

Sales of condos priced above $1 million — considered to be a luxury threshold in this market, which is more affordable than Toronto — numbered 113 over the study period, up a jaw-dropping 40 percent annually.

And 11 Montreal homes sold for upwards of $4 million, an increase of 267 percent compared to 2018’s first half, although still only a small share of the market.

Calgary’s market remains overshadowed by previous highs recorded during the last oil boom, with the luxury market depressed, at least for now.

“With the conclusion of the provincial election offering fresh optimism, and growth forecasted for the next half decade, it is expected that the city’s top-tier market will continue to see a gradual recovery,” reads the Sotheby’s report.

Just one Calgary home has sold for more than $4 million this year.

And transactions involving residential property valued at more than $1 million plummeted 21 percent to a total of 275.

Vancouver’s decline was even more pronounced — some 73 homes priced over $4 million were snapped up, a 34-percent decline.

“Evolving conditions in Vancouver real estate have created opportunities for prospective top-tier real estate buyers to reevaluate housing options previously out of reach,” says Sotheby’s in the report.

“With market recalibration well underway, activity is expected to regain momentum.”

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