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Canada  

Million-dollar market

Toronto is poised to lead the country in high-end home sales for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to Sotheby's International Realty Canada.

The realtor released a report Wednesday that looked at sales of homes for more than $1 million in Toronto and three other cities — Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.

It concluded that 19,692 such properties were sold last year in the Greater Toronto Area — an increase of 77 per cent compared to 2015. Sales of luxury homes — those worth more than $4 million — in the GTA rose 95 per cent year-over-year to 290 homes.

There is a confluence of factors responsible for the red-hot growth in Toronto's top-tier real estate market, said Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada.

Among them are low interest rates, strong employment and consumer confidence, and a limited supply of properties for sale, particularly in the single-family home segment.

 

In Vancouver, high-end home sales started off strong but slowed in the second half of the year as a number of government policy changes took effect. They included a one-per-cent tax on vacant homes implemented by the City of Vancouver and the B.C. government's 15 per cent tax on foreigners buying homes in Metro Vancouver.

Those changes amplified a cooling in the Vancouver real estate market that started over the summer, Sotheby's said.

Sales in Vancouver's $1 million-plus market were down 34 per cent year-over-year in the second half of the year compared to the same period in 2015. But on an annual basis, sales of Vancouver homes worth $1 million or more were relatively flat last year, down one per cent year-over-year to 4,515 properties.

Luxury home sales were up 36 per cent year-over-year in the city, with 573 properties priced at over $4 million trading hands.

Sotheby's predicts that the Vancouver market for $1-million-plus homes will remain stable in the first quarter of this year.

Calgary's $1-million-plus market also saw a boost last year. After declining 40 per cent year-over-year in 2015 due to the sudden plunge in oil prices, sales of homes worth $1 million or more were up 19 per cent to 612 properties in 2016.

Sotheby's Canada says it's expecting a buyers' market in Calgary in the first quarter of the year as the city's economic challenges drag on.



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