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In Canada’s biggest cities, 2021 marked an outstanding year for high-end home sales, reporting triple-digit levels of sales growth from coast to coast.

A new report published by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada this week stated that luxury real estate sales in the country’s major metropolitan markets broke consecutive records throughout the year. Pandemic-influenced demand, coupled with rising confidence in the economy, pushed prices up and drove available home inventory down in 2021.

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“Canada’s real estate market was redefined in 2021,” said Don Kottick, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, in the report. “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.”

Vancouver homes sales over $1 million jump 145 per cent yearly

In Vancouver, luxury residential real estate sales over $4 million surged 171 per cent yearly, as 410 condos, attached and single-family homes were sold in 2021. Twenty-four properties sold over the $10 million mark on MLS last year, up 218 per cent from 2020 when just 11 properties sold in this same price category. Overall, sales above $1 million rose 145 per cent annually as 5,794 properties exchanged hands in 2021 within the City of Vancouver.

In the first half of the year, 40 per cent of luxury homes sold over asking price. In the second part of 2021 between July 1st and December 31st, the number of properties going for over asking dropped to 29 per cent.

Demand specifically for single-family Vancouver homes continued to rebound in 2021. Sales over $4 million jumped 172 per cent year-over-year as 362 properties were sold. Meanwhile, luxury sales for single-family residences priced over $10 million grew 240 per cent to 24 homes sold last year.

Luxury GTA properties commonly sold over asking price

In Ontario, high-end home sales surged even more aggressively in the Greater Toronto Area, where the number of transactions for condo, attached and single-family homes worth $4 million-plus climbed to 805 properties sold in 2021, up 224 per cent from the previous year. Sales for homes over $10 million rose 238 per cent yearly as 31 properties were traded on MLS. Transactions in the GTA over $1 million were up 194 per cent, with a total of 52,776 luxury properties sold last year. In the City of Toronto alone, 16,041 high-end residences exchanged hands.

Significant growth was achieved in the $1 million-plus condo and $4 million-plus attached GTA home markets, where sales shot up 195 per cent and 267 per cent yearly to 3,194 and 16 homes sold in the region. In the GTA, luxury properties frequently sold over asking price, with 68 per cent and 69 per cent of homes transacting above list in the first and second half of 2021.

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Annual sales rise in Montreal and Calgary as luxury standards meet new heights

Overall residential real estate sales over $1 million for all property types located in Calgary and Montreal increased 222 per cent and 137 per cent year-over-year to 1,101 and 1,810 properties sold in 2021. In these cities, between 13 per cent and 30 per cent of luxury properties sold over list price during the year.

Montreal’s luxury market captured attention in December 2021 when the highest residential property sale ever on Quebec’s MLS took place in Senneville for a property listed at $19,885,000.

Kottick explained in the report that within the high-end real estate sector, the pandemic has heightened the standards for what is considered to be ‘luxury’. Purchasers are now seeking a calibre of design, amenities and services that “meet lofty global standards.”

“This willingness to invest in excellence will continue to foster a competitive environment for luxury real estate in the market ahead,” he said.

In both the conventional and luxury real estate markets, local demand continued to keep things hot in 2021 in addition to low-interest rates, record cash savings and anxiety over the stock market’s performance. Rising international inquiries on luxury real estate have also seen an ongoing build-up, Sotheby’s reported.

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