2021 Mid-Year Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report

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Mid-Year 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report

Table of Contents Introduction


National Overview


Canada at a Glance












Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  3

Introduction Engel & Völkers welcomes you to its annual mid-year Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report. On-theground intel from local experts combined with market data informs our analyses and serves as the basis for trends and forecasting. Homes priced $1 million to $3.99 million and $4 million or higher as listed in the Multiple Listing Service were evaluated throughout the year. The result is a residential property and market report for Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

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National Overview Engel & Völkers Americas reports Canada’s luxury markets are experiencing unprecedented levels of growth. It is clear changing priorities are influencing the preferences

in major metropolitan areas sought out homes with more

of homeowners in ways that are here to stay. Low interest

space in the suburbs, condo demand evaporated —

rates, easy access to borrowing and extra savings

even with historically-low interest rates and easy access

amongst professionals who stayed employed during 2020

to borrowing. Last year, Engel & Völkers recommended

accelerated what Engel & Völkers calls ‘the COVID shuffle.’

investors capitalize on this temporary buying opportunity.

Decisions to purchase second homes, move to rural areas

Market data shows this slow down was brief. As global

or embark on multigenerational living have made their mark

vaccine campaigns rolled out in the first half of 2021,

on the Canadian housing market. As we enter the latter part

investors made a play for the market and condo sales

of 2021, here are the top national trends affecting Canada’s

returned to a steady climb.

premium and ultra-luxury housing markets.

Metros see a wave of market normalization In mid-April, Canada’s red-hot real estate markets began cooling off, with fewer buyers showing up on offer night. Engel & Völkers was the first to report this trend mid-April, as published in The Globe and Mail. Now, Engel & Völkers is reporting that this welcomed change signals a return to normalcy within the markets. Although Canada has fewer housing units per capita than any other G7 country,1 inventory is rising and buyers are seeing less competition, creating more opportunity. Engel & Völkers is forecasting prices will stabilize in the short term and continue to see gains in the long term as borders reopen.

Luxury condominium sales bounce back in urban areas The previous year was long for condo sellers. As Canadians 6  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Engel & Völkers is reporting many of its clients who moved to rural areas have not let go of their city properties or have purchased condos as an investment or a pied-à-terre to call ‘home’ part-time. This was coupled with renewed demand for condo living from first-time homebuyers looking to enter the real estate market and retirees cashing in their suburban homes for condos in the city. As Canadians prepare to return to normalcy after months of lockdowns, luxury condo sales will continue to rise in tandem with reopening rollouts across the country.

Multigenerational living on the rise Engel & Völkers is reporting a noticeable rise in families pooling resources and purchasing properties that house multiple generations. Data from Statistics Canada supports this observation, as it reports multigenerational houses as the fastest growing type in the country, defining them as homes where three or more generations live together.


Scotiabank, May 2021

While older parents moving in with their children is the most

number of Canadians owning multiple properties (with some

common, Engel & Völkers reports the trend goes beyond

owning four or more). This is particularly true in Vancouver

this combination and can also include extended family.

and Toronto and can be attributed to a number of factors,

Engel & Völkers advisors report that newly-immigrated and first-generation Canadian families are most likely to redistribute their resources in this way. With Canada’s immigrant populations concentrated across major cities, Engel & Völkers forecasts this growing phenomenon is a luxury market trend to watch in Canada’s urban and

such as savings accumulation or low borrowing rates.2 Engel & Völkers also credits this to homebuyers looking for more space, a pandemic refuge or an addition to their property portfolio.

Global pent-up demand for Canada

surrounding areas.

With international borders closed since the start of the

With more money to spend and easier borrowing rules, buyers are investing in multiple properties

up demand for Canada’s major metropolitan cities.

Since March 2020, the Bank of Canada (BoC) maintained a historically-low interest rate of 0.25 per cent to soften the impact of COVID. This has helped homebuyers accumulate savings and purchase multiple properties. It has also, however, influenced extremely high home prices,

pandemic, Engel & Völkers is reporting global pentVancouver will likely see continued migration from Hong Kong and the United States. Montréal is set to see continued migration from French-speaking countries, such as Belgium. Engel & Völkers anticipates this international migration will continue to drive the luxury market in these cities, but American buyers might wean off slightly due to the rising Canadian dollar.

prompting the BoC to revisit mortgage stress tests across

It is estimated that in the next 22 years, Canada’s

the country in hopes of normalizing the market.

population will increase by 8.5 million people.3 At the

At the same time, Statistics Canada reports record breaking migration from Toronto and Montréal’s city cores to rural areas since 2020. When reduced to percentages, however, these numbers add up to a fraction of a per cent of these total population sizes. This supports the trend of homebuyers moving to rural areas during the pandemic and the growing 2 3

Canadian Housing Statistics Program, April 2021 Statistics Canada, September 2019

beginning of the year, the country’s population totalled 38 million residents, a 0.86 per cent increase from 2020. Local Engel & Völkers advisors report that Canada relies on international migration to fuel its economy, however, this influx will put a significant strain on the housing market due to increased demand and limited housing supply.

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Canada at a Glance 2021

Ancient Cedars Lane estate sells for $15,500,000 Maggi Thornhill of Engel & Völkers Whistler sold the contemporary 2919 Ancient Cedars Lane for $15,500,000.

$18 million Subtle Islands listing makes international headlines A home on Subtle Islands, listed for $18,000,000 by Engel & Völkers Vancouver Island (Victoria), made international headlines. The six-bed, eight-bath home has the island to itself where buyers can enjoy acres of waterfront and a beautiful abode.

Engel & Völkers launches luxury web portal for its exclusive Private Office

The Niagara region sees exponential sales growth

“Through the Private Office Web Portal we provide our

“Sales are up 700 per cent and the average

advisors with new digital opportunities to market even

house prices is up 37 per cent year-over-year in

their confidential properties more efficiently,” adds

Niagara-on-the-Lake. This destination town is world

Stuart Siegel, Head of Private Office in the Americas.

renowned and has become the place for remote

“We can offer our clients a special added service

working executives and retiring urbanites,” says

thanks to the comprehensive way in which properties

Cheryl Munce, Engel & Völkers Niagara.

are showcased.”



Average sale price in Barrie, ON, increases by 42.5% to $743,400

Waterfront properties in Parry Sound see record-breaking price increases

“Barrie and the surrounding area continues to be a hot

With increased work-from-home situations and

spot for those looking to settle in smaller cities that offer

families looking to live by the water, Parry Sound’s

incredible lifestyle amenities and provide easy access

waterfront properties have increased in price 47

to Toronto. Pricing for real estate, even with the upward

per cent year-over-year. This can be attributed to

trend, continues to reflect great value and the waterfront

increased demand and low supply as inventory

property market continues to show great growth and

for properties in the area is down by 51 per cent.

offers attractive primary and secondary residence options,” says Jeremy Brooks, Engel & Völkers Barrie.

8  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021


Contemporary-coastal home overlooking the water sells in Vancouver Matt Cavelti of Engel & Völkers Vancouver secured a $6,299,957 sale for 5235 Gulf Place.

Okanagan’s luxury market poised for increased growth as buyers look west Lifestyle seekers are drawn to Okanagan’s cultural scene, beautiful views and moderate

Engel & Völkers Vancouver sells modern, open concept home

climate, prompting an increase in sales

1505 Tolmie Street sold for $5,273,456 by

home increased almost $200,000 in Central

Engel & Völkers Vancouver’s Tracey Blackham.

Okanagan compared to last year.

and home prices in the luxury market. In the first half of 2021 the median price of a

243% Sales in the first half of 2021 are up 243% year-over-year in Oakville, ON

Engel & Völkers Toronto Central merges with Collingwood Muskoka

Engel & Völkers grows its York Region footprint

Many of the sales in 2020 were pushed to the

The merger strengthens the connection between

A new shop in York Region extends

first six months of 2021, breaking from the usual

Toronto and Ontario cottage country, delivering

Engel & Völkers’ reach to this established

seasonality. The first half of 2021 saw sales grow

a frictionless experience for buyers and sellers

community with new condo and townhome

by 243 per cent compared to Q3 and Q4

in the region.

projects as well as secluded living and large

2020, indicating the market is built on strong

acreage opportunities.


Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central sells 4420 River Rd. in Renfrew, ON, for $1.1 million over asking Craig Smith of Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central listed the century farm for $1,495,000 and sold it for $2,610,000.

Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central sells the Manor of Arlington Woods Richard Rutkowski of Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central sells 61 Parkland for $2,125,000. Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  9

Halifax Affordable housing, notable architecture talent and global agriculture recognition are driving momentum in Halifax. Welcome to Halifax The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is one of Canada’s most important real estate markets to watch. It is a strong seller’s market and continues to command interprovincial

outside of Nova Scotia. Though home prices have gone up considerably in the past few years, Halifax has some of the most affordable housing options in comparison to Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.

and international interest from Europe and the United

The performance of the Halifax market in the first half of

States. The attraction? A thriving city, cultural attractions,

the year indicates the latter portion of 2021 will continue to

the beauty of the maritimes and affordable real estate.

be heated with accelerating price gains.

Last year, the average price for a home in Nova Scotia was $304,590 compared to the national average of $607,250.4 For a number of years, a coordinated effort between government and industry has worked to attract talent from Canada’s major cities, with a pointed focus on the tech sector. Initiatives included a recent ‘Work from Nova Scotia’ campaign and a student loan forgiveness incentive. Some of Canada’s most recognized architects also have their sights set on the east coast, with major projects in the province. Erla Laurie is known for designing stunning residential spaces in Nova Scotia. The new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District will be designed by KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan

“ Since December, out-of-province buyers from Ontario and B.C. are the main drivers of Halifax’s market in the $1 million plus range. This has noticeably frustrated local buyers, but Halifax was due for this kind of growth. Overall, I think people are understanding the value in buying

Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public

property in Nova Scotia. Buyers have the luxury

Work and Transsolar.

of moving to rural areas outside of the City of

For many years, Halifax had a slow paced real estate market. In 2019, it started to pick up as a result of the government’s talent attraction efforts. Currently, approximately 40 per cent of market demand is from 4

Canadian Real Estate Association, January 2021

Halifax, but still have short commute times into the downtown core. ” Donna Harding, License Partner Engel & Völkers Nova Scotia

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  11

324 Lincoln Street Engel & Völkers Halifax

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Residential home sales breakdown January 2021 set the stage for what is shaping into a historic

homes priced under $1 million was 66. This number dropped to 37, nearly half of what it was in February 2020.

run for Halifax’s real estate market. The year began with just

Sales in the condo market remained strong, with 124 units

two months of inventory for all homes. The average sold

sold in March 2021. This is in comparison to a high of 102 in

price for homes between $1 million and $3.99 million was

July 2020. The vacancy rate in Halifax sits at one per cent,

$1,743,281, a 39 per cent increase compared to January

making it extremely difficult to secure rental housing.

2020. These homes sat on the market for an average of only five days. Homes priced below $1 million spent 43 days on market with an average price of $344,915.

Halifax is a lively coastal city with an abundance of waterfront properties. Homebuyers can also purchase waterfront property along one of Nova Scotia’s 3,000 lakes, which dot the

February 2021 saw the lowest inventory in the Halifax real

province. Similar to other major metropolitan areas, Halifax is

estate market in the past decade. Even with the record low

seeing a trend towards moving to rural areas. However, unlike

numbers, total sales increased from last year. The pressure

other cities in Canada, commutes from rural areas to downtown

buildup in the marketplace created extraordinarily difficult

can be as short as 15 minutes. Engel & Völkers anticipates the

conditions for buyers, especially in the middle market from

North End of Halifax, downtown Dartmouth and the Spryfield/

$200,000 to $500,000. Last year, average days on market for

Herring Cove areas will continue to gain traction in 2021.

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Overall, single-family detached houses were by far the most

to last year, April 2021 outpaced last year’s high of 834 in

popular housing type. In the luxury bracket, 21 homes were

July 2020. Homes in Halifax’s popular North End listed at

sold from $1 million to $3.99 million in both April and May

$350,000 18 months ago now typically list for $500,000.

2021, respectively. The average price hovered at $1.4 million

This is driving first-time homebuyers off the peninsula

during both months. This is a marked difference from the

into cottage country. Many who already own homes are

previous year, which saw zero sales in this price point in

purchasing secondary properties and keeping their homes

April 2020 and five in May 2020. This category is positioned

in the city — whether they rent or own.

to continue to grow as homes priced $1 million and under put upward pressure on the premium market. Much of this pressure is coming from buyers from Ontario and British Columbia, many of whom have sold their homes and have the means to pay more than local buyers.

Areas like Chester, Lunenburg and Wolfville are increasingly popular destinations. The Annapolis Valley, located in Wolfville, offers a rich terroir resulting in wines competing with France’s Champagne region. The wine scene in these areas continues to attract national and international

In April 2021, 852 properties were sold below $1 million, a

attention, setting the stage for this locale to be one of the

133 per cent increase from the previous year. Properties

province’s most desirable destinations.

were on the market for an average of 15 days. In comparison

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By May, the total number of units sold skewed downwards for the middle market, dropping from 876 to 676 for all homes. Luxury sales for all homes priced above $1 million kept pace with April 2020. However, total days on market grew from five to 17, signalling that while sales kept pace, there was a slowdown in month-over-month market momentum. In June, sales volume for homes priced $1 million to $3.99 million saw an exponential 533 per cent increase, with 19 homes sold in June 2021 compared to three in 2020. This increase, however, was not reflected in the middle market, where sales volume decreased 11 per cent year-over-year, reflecting a pause local advisors began recognizing mid-May 2021. However, by the third week of June the market showed signs this break was short lived. While data suggests inventory is down across Halifax, Engel & Völkers is reporting levels are recovering. This is a result of fewer buyers from late May to early June coupled with a post-lockdown listing surge.

Market outlook Halifax is now open to the rest of Canada, and Engel & Völkers is anticipating a floodgate of interest from people who were not prepared to purchase site unseen. Historically low inventory levels could create an even more pressurized situation. A robust market is expected, continuing the strong seller’s market status of the freehold residential and townhome market. Similarly, low inventory and vacancy rates in the downtown condo market make them a wise property type to purchase for living or investing. Engel & Völkers reports this is an unprecedented time for development in the HRM. There are 14 proposed or approved development projects underway. For condos, cost per square foot depends on the age of the building, varying from $300 to $750. Engel & Völkers expects this to rise in tandem with market pressure and the growing costs to build. It also reports delays in land agreements are creating some issues in the development market, which could further constrain supply. 16  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Montréal With increased urbanization and a luxury market positioned for growth, Montréal is Canada’s next investor favourite. Welcome to Montréal Montréal’s position on the urbanization curve is steadily climbing, despite population loss due to low migration to Québec during the pandemic and the trend towards urban sprawl and rural living. From July 2019 to July 2020,

with the number of overall transactions in this market growing by 136.6 per cent. During the same period in the $4 million plus category, the average price grew from $4,391,667 to $5,272,916, with a 157.1 per cent yearover-year increase in total transactions.

Montréal’s metropolitan area recorded a loss of 24,880 people from these population exchanges. However, in a city of 4,221,000 people, this number only represents 0.6 per cent of the population.5 As the only French-speaking city in North America, it attracts buyers from French-speaking regions around the world. Its working and education opportunities are another strength, coupled with a charmed European-like lifestyle. Home prices in Montréal continued to rise in the first half of 2021. By May 2021, the median price of a singlefamily home reached $496,000, a 34 per cent increase since May 2020. In the same month, condos grew 30 per cent to reach an average price of $365,000 and plexes (defined as a duplex, triplex or quadplex) grew 17 per cent

“ The curve of urbanization is universal, and Montréal’s position on the curve is rising quickly. It is on its way to being one of Canada’s most in-demand markets and an investor favourite. It’s expected that 60,000 new construction units are going to enter the market in 2021, and the volume of new construction

to an average of $701,000.6 Properties sold in multiple

projects continues to grow. The premium

offers with rapid absorption rates of limited inventory. For

market surpassed the mid-market in sales this

the first time, home buying and selling conditions began

year, positioning Montréal’s luxury market to

to resemble Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s most in-

reach new heights by the end of this year. ”

demand real estate markets. From January to June 2021, the average price for homes

Patrice Groleau, License Partner Engel & Völkers Montréal

between $1 million and $3.99 million was $1.5 million, 5 6

Statistics Canada, January 14, 2021 Quebec Professional Association Real Estate Board, May 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  17

1200 Mtée Wilson Engel & Völkers Montréal

18  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

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Residential home sales breakdown Despite strict COVID restrictions, January 2021 set the stage for what is becoming a benchmark year for Montréal luxury real estate, as it outperforms the middle market. Total sales priced $1 million or higher grew 115 per cent in January, from 61 to 131 year-over-year. This compares to only a 17 per cent increase in sales for all homes in the market, signalling a new era for premium real estate. The number of total active listings fell from 885 in January 2020 to 703 in January 2021, creating a high-pressure atmosphere set to define the Montréal

In the $4 million plus market, 10 detached homes sold from February to April, compared to just three in 2020. It should be noted that this time last year, the real estate market in Montréal was largely inactive, as it was not deemed an essential service. During the same time period in 2021, the number of units sold priced $1 million to $3.99 million climbed, while days on market shrank by 21 per cent over the three month period. Home prices continued to rise in a range of price points, with home buying activity fueled by accumulated savings and historically low interest rates.

market for the months to come. In January, three

In Montréal, it is illegal to list a home for less than its

properties priced $4 million or higher sold, including a

perceived market value in an effort to attract multiple

notable condo sale for $11 million.

offers. Because of this, the pricing strategies often used in Toronto and Vancouver are not options. Currently,

20  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Montréal uses a blind bidding system, where buyers are

however, there was still competition for homes. Rather

not officially provided details of other competing offers.

than 40 or more buyers making offers on a single home,

A switch to open bidding is under review, meaning

homes in Montréal saw fewer than five, with select in-

the process may be more transparent in future. Local

demand inventory commanding more. This market

Engel & Völkers experts do not believe this will make a

calibration is welcomed by Engel & Völkers advisors.

meaningful difference in the bidding process.

There are 60,000 new construction projects coming

While much focus was pointed towards Montréalers

to market through 2021. This is part of what is fueling

moving out of the city, relevant real estate activity that

a jump in transactions in this category. Last year, 110

took place inside the City of Montréal flew under the radar.

condos were sold priced $1 million or higher. In 2021,

Condo sales for units priced $1 million or higher climbed

this number grew by 106.3 per cent to 227.

from January to April 2021, totalling 138. Days on market for this bracket shrunk from 180 in January to 151 in April.

Though land supply is scarce, Montréal is currently experiencing





By May and June, the Montréal market showed signs

construction had some of its best performance in two

of returning to normal levels following a COVID-fueled

decades, with new inventory to be delivered over the

buying frenzy. Fewer buyers came out on offer night,

next three years.

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Market outlook Engel & Völkers predicts a consistent seller’s market throughout 2021. Montréal is an island and luxury home inventory is limited, as is land supply. Montréal’s premium real estate market boom is just beginning, currently outpacing Toronto and Vancouver, which have experienced a decline in growth rates in recent years. The way deals are being done in Montréal has changed too, lining up closely with conditions found in Vancouver and Toronto. While Montréal is still one of Canada’s most affordable places to invest in real estate, Engel & Völkers forecasts Montréal is entering a strong growth period, with investors creating funds specifically for purchasing luxury detached homes in coveted neighbourhoods like Westmount and Outremont. This is coupled with growing opportunities in new construction. Montréal is positioned to be the new investor favourite inside Canada’s real estate market. 22  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Ottawa Engel & Völkers sells century farm in Renfrew, ON, for $1.1 million over asking, signalling a new era for luxury in Ottawa and surrounding areas. Welcome to Ottawa In the first half of 2021, a strong seller’s market drove housing prices in Canada’s capital to increase exponentially. A major driver of this trend is buyers’ fear of missing out, which has prompted a 513 per cent increase in the number of homes sold in the $1 million to $3.99 million category from January to May 2021 compared to 2020. Adding to this is the lack of land supply due to government zoning policies, which are forcing developers to build denser communities on smaller plots of land. Ottawa is home to some of Canada’s most stable work industries including government and tech. During the pandemic, workers in these sectors purchased a significant volume of properties in the sub-luxury market, which Engel & Völkers reports is around $750,000 to $1 million. While Ottawa is traditionally known as a government town, it has developed an entrepreneurial side, with small businesses and startups pulling in candidates from across North

“ Ottawa is a rising market for premium real estate thanks to business and tech employees who have invested in the market over the past year. With a new subway line connecting the suburbs to the downtown core and increased international migration, the luxury market is poised to continue growing at a rate previously unseen in Ottawa. ” John King, License Partner Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central

America. Companies like Shopify have headquarters in the city and techies from San Francisco and Silicon Valley are slowly migrating to Ottawa. The premium market’s performance stood out, with an uptick in notable sales, not only in the City of Ottawa, but also in rural areas. The activity is so pronounced, the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) reported in January that a boom in high-end sales was skewing the overall average price increase.7


Ottawa Real Estate Board, January 2021

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6065 Knights Drive Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central

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Residential home sales breakdown Ottawa had an energized start in the first three months of 2021 with low inventory and high sales pressure. From

in residential home sales compared to 2020.8 It should be noted home sales decreased dramatically in the second half of March 2020 due to COVID lockdowns.

January to March 2021, the number of units sold between

In March 2021, the condo market peaked, with six units sold

$1 million to $3.99 million was up 334 per cent from 2020.

priced at or above $1 million. Year-over-year, condo sales

The total number of active listings dropped 62.5 per cent

increased 200 per cent in March 2021, signalling a return in

in these same months compared to last year. Between

buyer interest. The condo market has remained consistent

January and March 2021, multiple offer scenarios were

with prices minimally increasing in the $1 million to $3.99

common with real estate professionals seeing 10 to 30 bids

million category month-over-month. According to Engel &

on a single home, particularly in the middle market. February

Völkers local experts, most condos in this category remain

2021 saw the lowest supply in Ottawa with only two weeks

on the market for 30 days. Exceptional units sell over asking

of inventory, causing a buyer frenzy. In February 2020,

in multiple offer scenarios.

homes priced $1 million to $3.99 million remained on the market for 54 days, whereas in February 2021, this number fell to 27. In March, OREB reported a 51 per cent increase

26  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

April 2021 saw record-breaking increases in home sales priced $1 million or higher, jumping 164 per cent from April 2020.9 This spike is credited not only to a busy April 2021 but


Ottawa Real Estate Board, March 2021 Ottawa Real Estate Board, April 2021


also to less activity in April 2020. Two home sales took place in

While Ottawa was in lockdown in both May 2020 and 2021,

the ultra-luxury category, with an average price of $5,225,000.

the number of home sales continued to increase year-over-

Since the beginning of 2021, this category saw four total sales

year, up 71 per cent.10 Residential-class properties in the

compared to just one in 2020, indicating the once sparse ultra-

middle market continue to be a key driver, with people still

luxury market in Ottawa is poised for continued growth.

looking for more space. In May 2021, 255 residential homes

Since January 2021, average days on market for all homes decreased steadily. In April, average days on market for all residential properties dropped to 18, down 40 per cent from

sold for $1 million to $3.99 million. Condos in this price point continued to sell in 2021, albeit slowly. Five condos sold in May, up from four in April 2021.

April 2020. In May, houses sat on the market for an average

In June, the premium and ultra-luxury markets entered a

of 13 days. For condos, however, days on market have gone

levelling off period, both in sales volume and average prices.

up. In April and May 2021, units sat for 122 and 110 days

Similar to other metropolitan markets, June 2021 saw a

respectively, up from 90 days in May 2020. By May, the

month-over-month decrease in total sales, but an increase in

market saw the start of a levelling period. Prices continued

year-over-year sales. Compared to May 2021, June sales for

to increase, but sales volume returned to pre-pandemic

homes priced $1 million or higher decreased by 13.6 per cent.

levels, and homes that were once showing to 25 interested

Year-over-year, this statistic saw an increase of 95.5 per cent.

buyers are now seeing less than 10.


Ottawa Real Estate Board, May 2021

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Market outlook After an off-kilter 18 months, Engel & Völkers anticipates a return to a more balanced market in the fall. As more government and tech jobs become available and borders reopen, Ottawa will likely see increased domestic and international migration. The luxury market is poised to reach new heights in the coming years. Following Engel & Völkers’ sale of a century farm in Renfrew, ON, for $1.1 million over asking in April, periphery markets are now poised to become luxury destinations in their own right. Local Engel & Völkers advisors will be watching as government benefits drop off in September. There could be a tale of two economies: one where people may no longer afford the homes they bought at the height of the pandemic and another where wealth was accumulated through stable employment. On a global scale, Ottawa real estate is largely undervalued compared to other capital cities, leaving room for growth as the city rises from a government town to a dynamic hub for tech and business. 28  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Toronto Fewer buyers are showing up on offer night, and that’s a good thing. Welcome to Toronto The downtown and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) middle and premium housing markets are emerging from the third wave of COVID in a promising position. Similar to other major Canadian cities, Toronto saw a record-breaking

per cent from 2020.12 However, supply is short and set to become more constricted. News that a Toronto real estate development group plans to spend $1 billion on detached homes across the city and turn them into single-unit rentals will further reduce supply in an already competitive market.

population loss from July 2019 to July 2020, with 50,375

In February, the average price of a GTA home hit $1 million

residents leaving the city for rural areas11 — though this

for the first time. Accumulated savings, employment

represents less than one per cent of Toronto’s population.

security and ultra-low borrowing competed with an

However, following the precariousness of 2020, Toronto

absence of new inventory. Fear of missing out became a

is seeing renewed interest in city living. Eased lockdown

key driver of the housing market, especially in the middle

restrictions and vaccines bring hope for a return to urban

and premium detached segment and many buyers

living after a year on ice.

purchased earlier than expected.

The luxury condo market, deemed almost extinct in 2020, has remarkably held its value into 2021. The market picked up in December 2020 and by the end of January 2021, due to renewed demand from investors and first-time homebuyers, prices jumped by as much as $100,000 in the middle market. The number of condo units sold valued between $1 million to $3.99 million doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020 and prices have held. Shift in demand favouring single-family homes with access to outdoor space continued to be a key activity driver in the downtown core, reaching far into suburban and recreational areas. Top destinations include Ajax,

“ With increased vaccine rollouts and the hope of reconnecting with our family and friends, the City of Toronto and the downtown core will see the return of buyer interest in the coming months. We’ve already seen proof that the condo market

Burlington, Collingwood, Hamilton, Oakville, Parry Sound,

is back to where it was pre-pandemic, with

Pickering and York Region. In fact, 46 per cent of buyers

prices rising and more units selling monthly. ”

said they planned to buy a detached home in 2021, up four

Anita Springate-Renaud, License Partner Engel & Völkers Toronto Central

11 12

Statistics Canada, January 2021 Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, February 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  29

2642 Fairgrounds Road Engel & Völkers Toronto Central Collingwood

30  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  31

Residential home sales breakdown January 2021 started off strong, with average home prices

in February 2020 to 189 in February 2021, a total increase of 18 per cent.

rising to $967,885, growing by 15.5 per cent year-over-year

These conditions continued through March, which recorded

in the GTA. Overall, home sales were up by more than 50 per

a third straight month of rising market activity in the GTA.

cent compared to January 2020, for a total of 6,928.13 Like

Reports emerged of homes being sold for $200,000 to

the premium condo market, all homes sold in the $1 million

$500,000 over asking price in bidding war scenarios. The

to $3.99 million bracket nearly doubled from January 2020,

average selling price of a GTA detached home reached

with single-family detached homes driving this increase.

$1,097,565, up 21.6 per cent over the same period.14

Homes in this category sat on the market for 24 days in January 2021, down 33 per cent from January 2020.

There were 15,652 homes sold in March, close to double compared to March 2020. It is important to note that sales

The total number of single-family detached homes sold

activity dropped dramatically in the second half of March

priced $4 million or higher grew to 29 in February 2021,

2020. However, when comparing pre-COVID sales from

from 12 in February 2020, increasing 141.6 per cent.

March 1 to 14, 2020 to the same period in 2021, sales were

The number of condos sold priced $1 million to $3.99

still up 41 per cent with 6,504 units sold.14

million also showed impressive gains, growing from 160

32  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021


Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, February 2021 14 Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, April 2021

In April, GTA home sales more than quadrupled compared

Los Angeles. At the same time, market velocity slowed

to April 2020. However, April 2021 sales declined month-

down and some sellers did not attract the price offers

over-month, as did new listings, with a total of 144 active

they were hoping for. Competitive bids were common, but

listings priced $1 million and above on the market. The

many homes were attracting only two or three offers rather

market showed its first sign of entering a cooling period

than upwards of a dozen. During this month, active listings

after an energized three months. Reports emerged of few

spiked for the first time in 2021, with 577 in the $1 million

to zero buyers showing up on offer night, indicating a new

to $3.99 million bracket and 75 priced at $4 million plus.

fatigue with the market. Buyers would rather sit out than come to play in a market where homes were being sold by such significant amounts over asking.

In May 2021, condo prices in the City of Toronto rose 6.3 per cent to an average of $716,97616 and 244 condos priced $1 million to $3.99 million were sold for an average price of

Market cooling continued into May, however, average prices

$1,351,898, an increase of 176 compared to last year. In the

for all homes sold hit a record $1.1 million, an increase

$4 million plus category, one unit sold for $4,128,500 in May

of 28.4 per cent from May 2020.15 Reports emerged

2021. The premium condo market is positioned to continue

that Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver are now the least

making gains post-reopening.

affordable cities in North America, beating New York and

15 16

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, May 2021 Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, June 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  33

In June, homes priced $1 million or higher saw a year-over-year sales increase of 68.5 per cent compared to June 2020. However, month-over-month, June sales demonstrated a move away from the COVID-era real estate buying frenzy, with 273 less units sold than May 2021. This is reflected in a 100 per cent increase in days on market year-over-year. In June 2021, homes priced $1 million to $3.99 million were on market for 14 days whereas in June 2020, this number was seven. In the ultra-luxury market, this increase was not as drastic, with days on market in June 2021 totalling 25 compared to 20 in 2020.

Market outlook Engel & Völkers predicts the market will continue to balance after a real estate frenzy in the first three and a half months of the year. New inventory coming on the market will remain low, which will likely increase pressure for buyers looking to enter the market. While the city and GTA have not run out of buyers and sellers, Engel & Völkers predicts a slow summer and holding pattern scenario as lockdown restrictions ease. With some companies opting for more flexible work situations, buyers may continue to look for homes outside the downtown core. However, many homebuyers who have made the move to rural areas are keeping a pied-à-terre type property in the city. With eased lockdown restrictions and the return of full-time or part-time commuting for some workers, this could change. Government regulations, like the newly introduced mortgage stress test, are not anticipated to affect the premium market. Rather, they will have a bigger impact on first-time homebuyers and the middle market. 34  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Vancouver Low international migration has Vancouverites realizing the value of real estate and investing in their own city. Welcome to Vancouver Like Toronto, Vancouver is emerging from the third

but rather, with the quality of the home they are investing in, including amenities and value.

wave of the pandemic in a promising position. While most pandemic property purchasers were local, border reopenings and increased vaccination rates keep Engel & Völkers optimistic about the rest of 2021 with anticipation for what may come in 2022. What is keeping the market strong is buyers’ confidence in the real estate market as an investment and, specifically, the value of owning your primary residence. Recreational property and homes outside of the city continue to see high sales as people search for an escape from the city, resort-style amenities and larger spaces. However, the third wave of COVID sent Vancouver into another province-

“ Local buyers have really driven the Vancouver real estate market over the course of the pandemic, which is especially important since the market is

wide lockdown, making it difficult for buyers to purchase

normally buoyed by international buyers.

property outside of their regional health authorities.

The $4 million plus and $10 million plus

Buyers are purchasing property in Vancouver and its

brackets have been really interesting

surrounding regions as a way to transfer money and

during this time, and we’re seeing more

expand their investment portfolios. Low interest rates

prestigious listings selling and coming

combined with property appreciation gave people the flexibility to leverage their assets, even in a time when their businesses may have been down. Homes at all levels within premium and ultra-luxury markets continue to sell with an increased focus on quality over quantity. Wealthy buyers are not concerned

to the market. Buyers are recognizing that real estate is a valuable and stable investment, despite rising home prices. ” Andrew Carros, License Partner Engel & Völkers Vancouver

with the amount of money they are spending on a home, Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  35

5583 MacKenzie Street Engel & Völkers Vancouver

36  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  37

Residential home sales breakdown The year started off strong in Vancouver’s real estate market, with high numbers of listings coming on the market which were sold at even faster rates. January showed signs of a buzzing market from the start, with home sales increasing 52 per cent from January 2020.18 The condo market also started off strong, with 57 units sold priced between $1 million to $3.99 million. Of all residential properties in this price bracket, condos saw the most sales in January 2021. Days on market for premium properties priced between $1

February 2021 continued to see rising numbers across the board and markets, breaking real estate records. Residential home sales volume increased 73 per cent compared to February 2020 — almost 43 per cent above the 10-year February sales average.19 Homes priced $1 million to $3.99 million sat on market for 36 days, while homes over $4 million were on market for 73 days. Undeniably, the February market favoured sellers. Compared to February 2020, 13 per cent fewer homes were listed on the premium market and two per cent fewer ultra-luxury homes were listed.

million and $3.99 million sat at 47, with the average home

Looking solely at numbers, March 2021 was the best

selling for $1,668,434. Homes priced above $4 million

March in a decade, with residential home sales increasing

were on the market for 74 days at an average price of

by 126 per cent compared to March 2020.20 This statistic

$5,758,777. Active listings in January 2021 were almost 12

is skewed, however, considering Canada entered a nation-

per cent less than January 2020.

wide lockdown in the second half of March 2020. Like most

38  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021

18 19

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, January 2021 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, February 2021 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, March 2021


other major metropolitan markets in Canada, March was

of $3 million. Driving the luxury condo market are exceptional

the peak of real estate activity in 2021 thus far. Homes sold,

spaces, not necessarily in the city. Buyers are prioritizing the

priced $1 million and higher, were up almost 166 per cent

quality of the space, including views, parking, amenities and

in March 2021 compared to March 2020. The number of

square footage.

active listings entering the market for premium and ultraluxury homes for March 2021 was a minimal increase from March 2020. Condo sales in the $1 million to $3.99 million bracket hit a peak in March 2021, with 278 units sold.

While condos remain stable, townhouses are seeing an increase in popularity, with buyers wanting to bypass condo lobbies and regulations and instead have their own front door and space. In March 2021, 304 townhouses priced $1 million

Engel & Völkers reports a robust condo market in Vancouver

to $3.99 million sold, compared to 85 in March 2020, for an

since the start of 2021. Condos are remaining on the market

average price of $1,347,440. In the ultra-luxury market, two


townhouses sold in March 2021, averaging $4,100,000.

longer than usual, especially in the downtown core.

However, sales remain stable and are continuing to increase, signalling that buyers are still interested in condo living or taking an initial step into real estate. Prices start at $600,000 for a small space in the downtown core and reach upwards

April and May 2021 were the start of Vancouver’s real estate cool down. Compared to March 2021, April and May have seen a downwards trend in sales and listings, which Engel & Völkers suggests is a sign of a return to a stable and

Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021  39

balanced market. While residential home sales increased 342.6 per cent from April 2020, the active listings total was 11 per cent below the 10-year April average.21 Like March 2020, the numbers for April are skewed due to COVID lockdowns. The total number of units sold has decreased from March 2021’s peak. In the premium and ultra-luxury markets, 2,155 and 81 homes sold, respectively, in April 2021. In May, these numbers were even lower, with 1,781 and 74 homes sold in these same categories. Single-detached homes continue to be key drivers of the premium and ultra-luxury markets. The market continued to normalize into June, with local advisors noting a decrease in sales and listings at a similar pace. Similar to Toronto, Vancouver saw an increase of homes sold in the $1 million to $3.99 million bracket in June year-over-year, with a jump of 79.9 per cent. Month-over-month, however, the total units sold in this group decreased 11 per cent. Across the premium and ultra-luxury markets, total active listings were up 12.8 and 49 per cent, respectively, from 2020. Homes continue to sit on market for shorter periods than in June 2020. Those priced $1 million to $3.99 million were on market for 22 days in June 2021 compared to 37 in 2020. In that same month, homes priced $4 million and higher were on market for 38 days compared to 100 last year.

Market outlook While Vancouver is still in a seller’s market, the city will begin to see a normalization period and return to a more balanced market in the fall. Driving this trend will be Canada’s new mortgage stress test, which Engel & Völkers reports will greatly affect first-time homebuyers in Vancouver. With the gradual reopenings of provinces across Canada, Vancouver is poised to see an influx of national and international migration, potentially from regions like Hong Kong and California. The luxury market, starting at $1 million, will continue to grow steadily and see increasingly more ultra-luxury homes sell. Engel & Völkers predicts that 2022 will be a big year for real estate, driven by continued low inventory, more international migration and stabilized prices. 40  Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021


Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, April 2021

evrealestate.com ©2021 Engel & Völkers Canada, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Each brokerage independently is owned and operated. The information contained in this report, gathered by Engel & Völkers Canada, Inc., references market data from MLS boards across Canada and commentary from its trusted license partners and advisors. Actual results may vary and we cannot represent that the content is accurate or complete. This market report is provided for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Engel & Völkers Canada, Inc. and its affiliates do not assume any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any loss or damage that may result from any use of, reliance upon, or reference to the information provided in this market report. This document is not an offering of a franchise, and where required by law, an offering can only be made 14 days after delivery of the applicable franchise disclosure document.