2023 Mid-Year Canadian Luxury Market Report
Jul 25, 2023
Jul 25, 2023
Engel & Völkers is excited to share our 2023 Mid-Year Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report. This report combines market data with intel from Engel & Völkers’ local Canadian market experts. The result is a residential property analysis covering the markets in Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
The report shares insights on what’s happening inside Canada’s top real estate markets, including notable trends, in-demand neighborhoods, economic factors, and changing buyer and seller preferences in two different price segments; $1-$3.99 million and over $4 million.
This year’s analysis reveals that amidst economic uncertainty, fluctuating interest rates, and forecasts of recession, Canada’s most sought after premium markets are demonstrating resilience.
The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) continues to be one of Canada’s most important real estate markets to watch. Over the past year, the city has experienced a consistent influx of buyers, including many remote workers, who are attracted to Halifax’s affordability and natural beauty.
“Halifax’s population sat at 480,523 as of January, and we are on a trajectory to reach 1 million people by 2025. Of new residents to Halifax, 74.4% were aged 15-44, the largest segment of this age group ever recorded. Many originate from Ontario, Vancouver and Alberta, and have built home equity in these markets. This is translating into multiple offers in the $1 – 3.99 million market, as well as across the conventional market.”
Donna Harding, License Partner, Engel & Völkers Nova Scotia
In 2023, the number of single-family homes listed in Halifax for over $1 million reached 250, accounting for 9.4 percent of the market. This is a notable increase compared to 164 listings in 2020, representing only 2.4 percent of the market. During the first half of the year, the average price for residential class homes in the $1 – 3.99 million bracket was $1,344,279.
Halifax’s housing market continues to favor sellers for homes priced between $1-3.99 million, while properties over $4 million are classified as a buyer’s market, which is standard for this price range. Engel & Völkers forecasts that the market pace observed in the first half of 2023 will persist in the second half, except for a six to eight-week slowdown caused by wildfires. The growth projections for Halifax, coupled with limited supply, indicate it will continue to be a robust seller’s market.
The surge in migration to Halifax has created a challenging situation in the market, as some sellers seeking to downsize struggle to find suitable options, resulting in a market gridlock.
The primary concern in Halifax’s market revolves around the low inventory of available homes for purchase, with an additional issue of limited rental inventory. To address these supply gaps, there is a pressing need for purpose-built rental properties in Halifax. The current new construction is being absorbed rapidly and cannot keep up with the high demand from both local residents and newcomers to Halifax.
After a challenging start to the year with limited buyer and seller activity, Montréal’s housing market is now exhibiting signs of normalization. Buyers are gaining more confidence as interest rates stabilize, leading to an increased interest in property shopping.
Between January and June 2023, the average sales price for residential class homes in the $1 – 3.99 million segment reached $1,462,568, while condos within the same range had an average price of $1,334,534. Notably, there were 12 residential class properties sold for over $4 million, with an average price of $5,012,708. The highest-priced property in this range was sold in March for $5,775,000, located in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighborhood.
Engel & Völkers predicts that Montreal’s housing market will continue its journey towards a balanced state in the second half of the year, maintaining relative stability. However, it is unlikely to shift entirely in favor of buyers.
“Last year, we consistently saw record-breaking sale after record- breaking sale. These buyers made home purchases that they intend to live in long-term. That means many of the properties sold during this period will not come back to the market for another 20 years and premium supply will be constrained. Montréal is like Manhattan, it’s an island, and there are only so many places one can go.”
Patrice Groleau, License Partner, Engel & Völkers Montréal
The low supply of available properties will continue to be a defining characteristic of the market, becoming a prominent topic in upcoming political races. The significant gap in supply between the conventional and premium markets is an important trend to watch. Montreal is currently experiencing a shift, and the economic divide is growing. While new condo projects are entering the market, many middle-class buyers still have a preference for freehold homes, which may need to change.
Engel & Völkers remains optimistic about a return to the typical pre-pandemic real estate cycle. As the market adjusts, it will be essential to work with experienced real estate professionals who specialize in property pricing and negotiation.
Ottawa’s housing market continues to be one of the fastest-growing for premium real estate, attracting investors and families seeking long-term stability and affordability with strong investment returns. However, the market does face challenges, potentially stemming from buyer hesitation due to higher mortgage interest rates and inflation.
While home prices in the conventional market have shown a downward trend, the premium segment has experienced growth. From January to June 2023, the average sale price for residential and condo-class homes in the $1 – 3.99 million bracket increased to $1,362,852, marking a 3.18 percent rise compared to the previous year’s average over the same period of $1,320,835. Notably, there were three significant sales of rare homes priced over $4 million in January ($6,300,000), February ($4,220,000), and May ($4,500,000).
Many listings in Ottawa are approaching the $4 million threshold, with prices ranging from $2.5 to $3 million. The most sought-after premium price range falls between $1.5 to $2.5 million. Competitively priced properties between $1.3 to $2.2 million tend to sell quickly, typically within one to two weeks. While Ottawa’s luxury market is still developing in comparison to Toronto and Vancouver, there are encouraging signs of continued growth.
Engel & Völkers forecasts that the current upswing will maintain its strength throughout the year, indicating a return to a more traditional seasonal pattern, offering reassurance to buyers and sellers planning transactions in the latter part of 2023. Buyers and sellers in Ottawa are gradually adapting to these new, more stable conditions, and the market is expected to firm up over the next four to six months. The $1 – 3.99 million market remains a seller’s market, while the $4 million-plus market leans toward buyers, which is typical for this price point.
Given the uncertainty in the housing market, particularly with changing Bank of Canada interest rates and recession forecasts, high-end rentals in Ottawa’s market are worth watching. Many property owners are opting to lease their assets instead of selling, leading to an increase in high-end rental properties. However, some buyers are facing challenges in finding suitable properties, and certain sellers are hesitant to engage in transactions due to the current market conditions.
Nevertheless, there are signs that some sellers are reevaluating their positions, as prices have shown an upward trend. It remains to be seen how the market will stabilize and what impact this will have on rental figures. It is reassuring to note that many sellers have the financial resources to lease their properties to tenants while awaiting the opportune moment to sell.
Toronto’s real estate market is currently stabilizing after years of rapid growth and seasonal pattern disruptions. However, the normalization process faces hurdles, primarily due to the lack of supply caused by the high demand for housing in this fast-growing capital city. Despite recent interest rate hikes, the impact on market value has been minimal, mainly because of the ongoing inventory problem, resulting in stable prices. Unfortunately, new supply remains limited, indicating that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) will likely continue to grapple with a housing shortage in the coming years.
In the present market, dedicated offer dates are becoming more prevalent, with many single-family homes selling over asking in multiple offers. For instance, single-family homes listed at $999,999 commonly fetch around $1,300,000 on offer dates. Sellers are adapting their strategies based on market activity, leading to intensified competition among buyers vying for available homes. As a result, it is crucial for buyers to collaborate with experienced professionals, staying flexible and well-informed throughout the home-buying process, especially in this challenging negotiation market.
Residential class homes priced over $4 million in Toronto are experiencing a slower sales pace, as buyers in this bracket adopt a long-term perspective, leading to reduced hesitancy in making purchase decisions based on current market conditions. The number of units sold in this price range has shown consistent growth in the first half of the year, starting with 17 sales in January and peaking at 54 in May. Additionally, ten units priced above $8 million have been sold since January.
According to Engel & Völkers, homes priced from $10 – 20 million are currently selling at a slower pace than usual, with increased days on the market. In the same period of January to July 2022, these properties spent 40 days on the market, resulting in seven sales. However, in the corresponding period of 2023, the days on market rose to 112, with five units sold. The rental market catering to this high-end segment is also witnessing an upward trend, likely influenced by the decline in purchasers, partly due to Canada’s foreign buyer ban.
Engel & Völkers predicts that Toronto’s summer market will maintain a slow activity pace. The summer months may present an advantageous opportunity for buyers, as competition is expected to be lower than in the spring. With reduced competition and a potentially more relaxed atmosphere, buyers might find the right property without feeling overwhelmed. However, it’s important to note that even during the summer, desirable properties may still attract multiple offers and competition.
At the end of the first half of 2023, the $1 – 3.99 million property segment in Toronto continues to be a seller’s market, while the $4 million-plus market is balanced. Toronto’s census metropolitan area boasts a population of 6,372,000, with a steady growth rate of 0.93 percent. Despite some outmigration due to affordability reasons, the city continues to attract individuals seeking urban amenities, contributing to its status as one of the fastest-growing cities in North America.
The first half of 2023 in Vancouver brought uncertainty as buyers and sellers hesitated on real estate decisions, awaiting the Bank of Canada’s interest rate announcement. However, after interest rates were held steady in February, buyers regained confidence and re-entered the market. On the other hand, sellers were slower to respond, resulting in an imbalanced market.
During the spring market, sellers faced a dilemma, especially those aiming to level up or downsize. While some sellers were confident about selling their homes quickly, they were unsure about finding a suitable replacement property. This tension between seller hesitancy and strong buyer demand led to price increases in both the conventional and premium segments. Notably, North Vancouver saw a surge in residential class inventory in the $4 – 6 million range, previously uncommon, while East Vancouver’s inventory surpassed the typical high $1 million range, reaching around $2 million.
The average sold price for residential class homes priced between $1 – 3.99 million consistently increased month-over-month from January to June 2023. May recorded the highest average price of $2,038,395, representing a 1.3 percent decrease compared to the previous year. For condo-class homes in this price range, the average was $1,404,413.
In the first half of 2023, the combined average sold price for homes and condos in the $1 – 3.99 million range was $1,675,485, reflecting a 7.22 percent decline compared to the same period in 2022. The total number of units sold in the first half of 2023 was 6,047, down from 8,085 units in the equivalent period in 2022.
“High-demand in the mid-market makes this a great time for sellers who want to level up. We’re advising clients to take advantage of market conditions favoring sellers in the middle market, and the tempered demand in the upper market, which is balanced.”
Andrew Carros, Chief Operating Officer Engel & Völkers Vancouver
Engel & Völkers expects a summer slowdown, following historical seasonal patterns, as both buyers and sellers typically prioritize weather and vacations. Rising interest rates might cause sellers to hold back, while buyers approach deals with caution. Assessing whether the current market truly favors sellers for homes priced at $1 – 3.99 million is challenging due to the significantly low inventory of units for sale. If the inventory levels were similar to those in 2021 or 2022, the market would be closer to a balanced state.
In Vancouver, it is crucial to work with a professional who can accurately distinguish real-time market conditions from surrounding speculation. To succeed in this market, paying close attention to personal financial and lifestyle situations when making decisions is essential.
Engel and Völkers’ 2023 Year End Canadian Luxury Real Estate Market Report reveals the resilience of Canada’s premium real estate market amidst economic uncertainty. The report offers valuable insight into market preferences, economic factors, and evolving preferences for buyers and sellers in Canada’s most sought-after neighborhoods.
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