Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report
Table of Contents Introduction
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.
Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021 5
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
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.
Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021 7
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.
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
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
12 Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021
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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.
14 Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021
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
Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021 15
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.
Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021 21
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
24 Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021
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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
Engel & Völkers Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report Mid-Year 2021 27
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
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
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
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
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.