- New post-pandemic benchmarks for Canadian real estate were established in 2022 as the market settled to more normalized levels after an era of intense hyperinflation.
- Luxury housing supply dissipated in the last half of 2022 as sellers dispersed to market sidelines in the near-term, frustrating local demand for top-tier housing mobility and limiting sales activity.
- The gap between sellers’ heightened price expectations and the new realities of a normalizing market widened over the course of 2022, stalling transactions.
- Price adjustments are anticipated in 2023 to match new market realities, particularly in cities that saw housing price hyperinflation in recent years.
- Montreal residential $4 million-plus sales held steady with a nominal 2% annual increase in 2022, while sales over $1 million fell 18% year-over-year.
- Luxury housing supply faded from the Greater Toronto Area in the last half of 2022, contributing to an annual decline of 24% in residential sales over $4 million.
- Vancouver luxury sales slowed abruptly at the end of the first quarter, and sales volume over $4 million closed 2022 at levels that were down 30% from 2021.
- Reinvigorated by economic recovery and record interprovincial migration into the province, Alberta’s luxury market performance was an outlier in Canadian real estate in 2022, as Calgary residential sales over $1 million and $4 million climbed 16% and 50% year-over-year.
TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Following an era of exorbitant hyperinflation in Canadian luxury real estate, new post-pandemic benchmarks were established in 2022 as the housing market responded to a cascade of stressors. Against a backdrop of mounting economic uncertainty, steep interest rate hikes, escalating inflation, a stubborn deficit of housing inventory and sweeping housing taxation and regulatory changes, prospective luxury real estate sellers and buyers withdrew strategically from the market in anticipation of greater opportunity in 2023. By the end of 2022, the country’s major metropolitan areas emerged from a historic chapter of hyperinflation into a new era where consumer demand for housing and housing mobility remained unrelenting, just as market conditions verged on favouring buyers.
According to new data released by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, luxury sales activity in the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York) receded through the course of 2022, as listings supply faded, and buyers temporarily retreated. Residential real estate sales over $4 million (condominiums, attached and single family homes) fell 24% year-over-year, while ultra-luxury sales over $10 million on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 29% from 2021 levels. Sales of condominiums, attached and single family homes over $4 million fell 29%, 25% and 23% year-over-year, respectively. Overall, $1 million-plus residential sales saw an annual decline of 28%, despite underlying demand for top-tier housing and housing mobility.
Vancouver’s luxury real estate market experienced a sharp decline in sales activity following the first quarter of the year as prospective buyers, frustrated by an era of heated market conditions, paused in anticipation of more favourable opportunities ahead. Overall, residential sales over $4 million and $10 million closed at volumes 30% and 46% below 2021 levels. Luxury condominium sales over $4 million remained stable with a nominal 3% year-over-year uptick, while attached home sales declined 73%. The city’s $4 million-plus single family home saw sales decrease 32% year-over-year, while ultra-luxury single family home sales over $10 million fell 46%. Overall, residential real estate sales over $1 million were down 29% in 2022 from the city’s record sales volume in 2021.
Montreal’s luxury real estate market tempered to more balanced conditions over the course of 2022. The city closed the year with $4 million-plus residential real estate sales nearly on par with 2021 levels, with a modest 2% year-over-year uptick, while sales activity over $1 million experienced an 18% annual decline. Overall, $1 million-plus single family home sales were down 22% year-over-year, while attached home and condominium sales over $1 million fell 23% and 5%, respectively.
Calgary’s luxury real estate market out-performed that of Canada’s largest major metropolitan areas, as the city’s strengthening economic fundamentals ignited consumer confidence and civic optimism and as interprovincial-migration lifted demand for the city’s conventional and top-tier housing. As a result, the city’s top-tier market rebounded in 2022, and sales over $1 million rose 16% year-over-year from 2021 levels. Sales over $4 million increased 50% to six properties sold. $1 million-plus single family and attached homes sales saw 12% and 68% annual sales gains, respectively, while condominium sales over $1 million experienced a significant 79% year-over-year increase.
“After an era of intense hyperinflation, new post-pandemic benchmarks for Canadian conventional and luxury real estate were established in 2022 as the market processed the impact of aggressive interest rate hikes and the effects of an increasingly uncertain global and domestic economic climate. By the end of the year, luxury housing segments in several major metropolitan areas were on the brink of buyers’ market conditions, while others had very clearly shifted into this territory,” says Don Kottick, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “The market is now on the verge of another important adjustment, this time in terms of pricing. It has taken several months for home sellers to realize the impact of the changing market on the market values of their properties. As new property listings come onto the market in 2023, their pricing will shift to meet current realities. This will start to unlock long-awaited opportunities for buyers and upsizers to purchase homes that meet their lifestyle needs as they acclimatize to the market.”
According to Kottick, a fundamental deficit of housing across every property type and price category will continue to challenge major metropolitan housing markets, and in particular, Vancouver and Toronto. Although housing prices are expected to adjust downward to realistic market norms in several major metropolitan areas, pent-up demand for housing mobility as well as anticipated population gains from immigration will continue to support housing values in the long term. The “Prohibition on the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians Act” (the “Foreign Buyers Ban”) that came into force January 1, 2023, as well as demand-side policies and taxes will have a negligible effect on affordability, according to Kottick, and have largely served to confuse and frustrate prospective new Canadians at a time when the country is aiming to attract skills, talent and capital.
2022 Top-Tier Market Highlights
Following a frenzied launch into 2022 that propelled luxury real estate sales and prices to record highs through the first quarter of the year, the City of Vancouver abruptly shifted course, adjusting towards a new post-pandemic reality as sales activity and prices calmed in response to climbing mortgage rates and consumer inflation. Despite pent-up consumer demand and widespread need for housing mobility, the city’s luxury market settled to balanced conditions by year’s end as potential transactions were thwarted by sellers with pricing expectations that no longer aligned with market realities, and as buyers prepared to wait for fresh supply at adjusted prices to be introduced in the months ahead.
As home sellers’ and buyers’ willingness to engage in the market faltered in face of swiftly changing conditions, the city’s already scant inventory of luxury real estate evaporated, and with it, sales activity. Overall, luxury residential real estate sales over $4 million (condominiums, attached and single family homes) declined 30% year-over-year to 299 properties sold in 2022, with 13 of these sold above $10 million on Multiple Listing Services (MLS), down 46% annually. Overall, residential real estate sales over $1 million fell 29% to 4,166 properties sold in 2022.
$4 million-plus sales activity in the last half of 2022 reflected the market’s sharp adjustment to multiple interest rate hikes and the flight of real estate buyers and sellers to the sidelines as a result. Despite strong underlying demand, evaporating luxury supply and increasing market uncertainty resulted in a dramatic moderation of the luxury market. Between July 1 – December 31, 2022, residential sales over $4 million decreased 50% to 88 properties sold, while $10 million-plus sales on MLS fell to five properties sold compared to eight sold in the last half of 2021. Overall, $1 million-plus sales were down 48% to 1,346 properties sold in the latter half of 2022.
Post-pandemic, the City of Vancouver had experienced its initial luxury housing rebound in its single family home segment, resulting in historic highs in sales activity and pricing that peaked in the first quarter of 2022. Through the remainder of the year however, the city’s luxury single family home market normalized. Overall, in 2022, single family home sales over $4 million receded 32% year-over-year to 257 properties sold, while ultra-luxury sales over $10 million fell 46% to 13 sold in 2022. $1 million-plus single family home sales were down 41% year-over-year to 1,744 homes sold.
In the latter half of 2022, luxury single family home sales reflected the market’s rapid shift towards balanced conditions. $4 million-plus home sales fell 51% to 75 homes sold between July 1– December 31, while ultra-luxury home sales over $10 million declined to five homes sold compared to eight sold in the latter half of 2021. Overall, sales over $1 million were down 51% year-over-year to 597 homes sold in the last half of 2022.
The city’s chronically under-supplied luxury attached home market also normalized through the course of 2022, as sales over $4 million declined to three homes sold compared to 11 sold in 2021. As in 2021, there were no ultra-luxury attached home sales over $10 million reported in 2022. Overall, 915 attached homes sold over $1 million in 2022, down 30% year-over-year overall. Luxury attached home sales were quiet in the last half of 2022, reflecting the market’s dramatic normalization. There were no sales recorded above $4 million between July 1 – December 31, compared to three sold in the last half of 2021. Overall, $1 million-plus attached home sales were down 47% year-over-year during this period with 305 homes sold.
Despite strong demand and activity in Vancouver’s luxury condominium market in the first half of 2022, the market calmed in the latter half of 2022, as prospective buyers and investors withdrew from the market in anticipation of continued market moderation. Luxury condominium sales over $4 million were stable, with a nominal 3% year-over-year increase to 39 units sold in 2022, while the ultra-luxury market above $10 million remained quiet, as was the case in 2021. $1 million-plus condominium sales saw an 8% annual decline to 1,507 units sold in 2022.
Luxury condominium sales in the latter half of 2022 reflected the striking pace of moderation experienced across the market. From July 1– December 31, sales of condominiums over $4 million contracted 32% year-over-year to 13 units sold, while $1 million-plus sales fell 43% to 444 properties sold.
Although the city’s luxury sales activity was subdued in 2022, the undercurrent of demand for Vancouver luxury real estate remains strong, and the city is on the brink of renewed activity in 2023. According to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada experts, the catalysts for the reactivation of the luxury market will be the introduction of fresh property listings selection for prospective buyers and investors in the coming months, as well as widely anticipated price moderation for those listings to meet current market conditions. Both factors are expected to facilitate consumer re-engagement in the 2023 top-tier market.
The City of Calgary cemented itself as one of the country’s leading economic and luxury real estate performers in 2022, surpassing other major metropolitan areas in top-tier sales activity and consumer confidence. Commodity price-driven momentum, as well as the city’s flourishing and rapidly diversifying economy bolstered the readiness of luxury home buyers, sellers and investors to transact despite the headwinds of inflation and rising interest rates. Furthermore, Calgary attracted in-migration from other major Canadian regions, most notably Ontario, as young professionals and families seeking a lower cost of living, better quality of life, and attainable conventional and luxury homes flocked to the city.
As a result, Calgary transformed into a healthy and active sellers’ market through the course of 2022, with residential sales over $1 million seeing substantial gains throughout the year, even as days on market fell. Overall, $1 million-plus sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) increased 16% year-over-year to 1,280 properties sold. The city’s $4 million-plus housing sales increased 50% year-over-year to six properties sold. Consistent with 2021, MLS reported no ultra-luxury home sales in Calgary of over $10 million in 2022.
Calgary’s top-tier real estate market eased slightly in the second half of the year as rising interest rates and the cost of inflation dulled real estate sales between $1–2 million, which comprised 90% of Calgary sales over $1 million in 2022. Overall, residential real estate sales over $1 million contracted 13% to 419 total properties sold between July 1– December 31. During this time, Calgary’s $4 million-plus luxury sales fell to one home sold compared to three sales in the last half of 2021. According to experts from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, sales activity was hampered in the latter half of the year by a shortage of available inventory rather than a lack of consumer confidence or demand. This underlying optimism is a promising indicator for a healthy market at the outset of 2023.
Comprising 88% of the city’s $1 million-plus residential real estate transactions in 2022, Calgary saw single family home sales over $1 million increase 12% year-over-year in 2022 to 1,126 homes sold. Six single family homes in the luxury $4 million-plus segment sold in 2022, doubling from the three home sales reported in this price segment in 2021. Limited listing availability, rising home prices, and increasing buyer selectiveness led to a slight pullback in sales activity in the latter half of the year. Between July 1 – December 31, single family home sales over $1 million fell by 20% to 354 total properties sold, while luxury single family home sales over $4 million decreased to one home sold, compared to three sold in the last half of 2021. By December of 2022, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board, Calgary’s single family home market posted 23% fewer listings year-over-year overall, with improvements to listing inventory that created more balanced conditions in the market’s higher end.
With the average price of row and semi-detached homes in Calgary up 14% and 9% year-over-year, respectively in December 2022, the city’s luxury attached home market showed strong demand and solid gains in 2022. Overall, $1 million-plus attached home sales surged a significant 68% year-over-year to 111 homes sold in 2022. Consistent with 2021 numbers, there were no $4 million-plus attached home sales reported in 2022. Despite the growing pressures of rising interest rates on entry-level luxury home buyers in the latter half of the year, attached home sales over $1 million were up 44% year-over-year between July 1– December 31, to 39 homes sold.
Calgary’s luxury condominium market posted the strongest year-over-year sales gains of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas in 2022, driven by the revitalization of the downtown core given the city’s strong economic recovery, ongoing job gains and in-migration of young professionals and families. Overall, condominium sales over $1 million increased a notable 79% year-over-year to 43 properties sold. Of these $1 million-plus condominium sales in 2022, 26 did so between July 1–December 31, a substantial 73% year-over-year increase. There were no luxury condominium sales over $4 million in all of 2022, compared to one transaction in 2021.
Boasting some of the country’s most accessible pricing in real estate and now ranking as the third most livable city in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Global Livability Index, the City of Calgary has emerged to prominence on the national stage as a destination market for conventional and luxury housing, as well as a desirable lifestyle. Furthermore, the city’s broadening economy, as well as the Government of Alberta’s projected $12.3 billion budget surplus for 2022 and its projected 2.7% provincial GDP increase for 2023, positions Calgary to weather economic challenges with greater resilience than other major Canadian cities. As a result, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada experts anticipate continued momentum in the city’s luxury real estate market into the initial months of 2023, even as the introduction of new inventory eases the higher-end market to more balanced conditions.
Greater Toronto Area
Consumer demand for luxury real estate in the country’s largest housing market maintained stamina in 2022, even as sales activity and price escalation calmed across the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York). As the region absorbed the impact of a rapid battery of interest rate hikes and the pressures of tightening inventory, and as market conditions normalized from the extreme highs of the pandemic era, local demand for housing mobility remained undiminished. According to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada experts, consumer and industry confidence in the long term fundamentals and performance of the local housing market remains unwavering. However, as the market came into balance through the course of 2022, prospective home buyers and investors became increasingly willing to wait for fresh inventory and favourable price declines and less willing to compromise on desired home features and conditions. As a result, luxury properties priced above new market conditions languished unsold on the market, while those in premier condition and priced appropriately for new norms garnered qualified interest and offers, resulting in successful sales.
As a result, following 2021, a year that saw GTA luxury residential real estate sales over $4 million (condominiums, attached and single family homes) soar 224% year-over-year, the market gradually normalized over the course of 2022, resulting in a 24% annual decline in $4 million-plus sales to 611 properties sold in 2022. Ultra-luxury sales over $10 million contracted 29% year-over-year to 22 properties sold on MLS. Overall, real estate transactions above the $1 million mark were down 28% to 38,022 properties sold in the GTA in 2022. Within the City of Toronto, luxury sales over $4 million fell 22% year-over-year to 364 properties sold in 2022. Of these, ten properties sold over $10 million, down 44% from 2021 levels. Overall, top-tier sales over $1 million in the City of Toronto decreased 25% from 2021 to 12,017 properties sold.
Despite robust consumer demand and healthy, albeit moderated levels of activity, luxury sales in the last half of 2022 reflected growing tensions between home sellers with elevated price expectations and buyers prepared to wait for new listings inventory, softening prices and, ultimately, a property that met their criteria. From July 1–December 31, the GTA’s $4 million-plus sales saw a 55% decline to 175 properties sold, while ultra-luxury sales over $10 million fell to six units sold from 16 properties sold in the last half of 2021. During this period, sales over $1 million decreased 50% year-over-year to 11,660 properties sold. City of Toronto sales over $4 million between July 1–December 31 fell 58% year-over-year to 98 properties sold, while sales over $10 million decreased to three units sold compared to ten in the last half of 2021. $1 million-plus sales were down 46% year-over-year in the latter half of 2022, at 3,773 properties sold.
The GTA luxury condominium market gradually de-escalated from its pandemic era of over-exuberance to end 2022 in a more balanced state. Overall luxury condominium sales over $4 million were down a moderate 29% year-over-year to 30 units sold in 2022, with no ultra-luxury transactions over $10 million on MLS compared to two units sold above this price-point in 2021. Overall, $1 million-plus sales were up a modest 6% year-over-year to 3,389 units sold in 2022.
The condo market’s steady normalization was reflected in the last half of 2022, as sales over $4 million fell 52% year-over-year to 13 condominiums sold, while ultra-luxury sales over $10 million remained quiet, as was the case in the last half of 2021. During this period, GTA condo sales over $1 million were down 43% overall to 910 properties sold. Between July 1–December 31, condominium sales over $4 million in the City of Toronto dipped 54% year-over-year to 12 properties sold, while the market over $10 million remained quiet, as was the case in the last half of 2021. Overall, $1 million-plus sales in the city declined 45% year-over-year in the latter half of 2022 to 685 condominiums sold.
The region’s crippling shortage of top-tier attached homes continued to challenge buyers even as market conditions normalized. In 2022, $4 million-plus attached home sales fell 25% from the previous year’s sales levels to 12 homes sold, all in the City of Toronto, while the $10 million attached home segment remained quiet. Overall, attached home sales over $1 million fell 10% to 8,253 homes sold in the GTA. Overall, the City of Toronto $1 million-plus attached home sales were down 26% to 2,780 units sold overall.
Despite underlying demand from diverse consumers, luxury attached home sales activity calmed through the latter half of 2022. In the GTA, two attached homes sold over $4 million compared to 11 units sold between July 1– December 31, 2021, with all transactions taking place within the City of Toronto. During this period, GTA sales over $1 million were down 56% year-over-year to 2,027 properties sold, while $1 million-plus attached home sales in the City of Toronto were down 50% year-over-year to 799 properties sold in the last half of 2022.
In 2022, the GTA’s luxury single family home market evolved to more balanced conditions, even as the temporary withdrawal of sellers from uncertain market conditions amplified the region’s continued deficit of housing supply. Sales over $4 million were down 23% from 2021’s record highs to 569 homes sold in 2022. Ultra-luxury sales over $10 million fell 24% from to 22 homes sold in 2022. Overall, $1 million-plus single family home sales saw an annual decline of 35% year-over-year to 26,380 homes sold. Annual City of Toronto single family home sales over $4 million and $10 million were down 21% and 41% year-over-year to 323 and 10 homes sold in 2022, while sales over $1 million fell 31% to 6,876 homes sold.
GTA luxury single family home sales activity in the latter half of 2022 reflected a market in transition. Luxury sales over $4 million fell to 160 properties sold during this period, down 55% year-over-year, while six ultra-luxury homes sold over $10 million, down from 15 properties sold in the latter half of 2021. GTA single family home sales over $1 million were down 50% year-over-year in the latter half of 2022, with 8,723 homes sold overall. During this time, City of Toronto single family home sales over $4 million fell 57% year-over-year to 84 properties sold. Of these, three homes sold over $10 million compared to nine sold above this price threshold in the last half of 2021. During this time, $1 million-plus sales contracted 48% to 2,289 transactions.
Despite short-term uncertainty, the Greater Toronto Area’s luxury housing market continues to weather the headwinds of rising interest rates, slowing economic growth and mounting consumer inflation from a position of underlying strength, both as Canada’s largest economic region, as well as the country’s top destination for immigration, with 29.5% of recent immigrants to Canada settling in the region, according to Statistics Canada. As sellers’ price expectations moderate in the upcoming months and as inventory levels replenish in premier neighbourhoods in the spring, activity is expected to renew against a backdrop that is now far more favourable to buyers and investors than in recent years.
Following a record-breaking 2021 that saw luxury residential real estate sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) over $4 million soar 171% year-over-year, the City of Montreal’s luxury housing market stabilized to balanced market conditions in 2022. Growing consumer unease with shifting market conditions sparked by multiple Bank of Canada rate hikes, was partially tempered by continued job gains and economic performance in the city. However, despite underlying consumer confidence in both the fundamentals of the economy and the housing market, bidding wars faded from market norms over the course of 2022, and property listings required increased marketing and time on the market to attract qualified offers. While housing prices remained resilient in 2022, they are expected to gradually ease across several conventional and luxury market segments in the coming year.
Overall, Montreal’s $1 million-plus residential sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) decreased 18% year-over-year to 1,476 total units sold in 2022, while the city’s luxury $4 million-plus market held steady, posting a nominal increase of 2%, with 42 property sales reported in this price segment. Montreal recorded no ultra-luxury $10 million-plus sales on MLS in 2022 compared to two properties sold above this price point in 2021.
Luxury sales activity and velocity slowed markedly in the latter half of 2022 as market uncertainty dampened real estate consumer sentiment. Between July 1 – December 31, top-tier residential real estate sales over $1 million saw an annual decline of 38%, with 509 total properties sold. Of these homes sold, 19 did so in the luxury $4 million-plus price segment, marking a decrease of 30% year-over-year.
Montreal’s luxury condominium market, which has seen a steady influx of new and resale inventory in recent years, remained robust throughout 2022 and experienced a less pronounced year-over-year decline in sales volume than the city’s luxury single family and attached home segments. Overall, top-tier condominium sales over $1 million held relatively steady, contracting 5% year-over-over to 416 total properties sold. Montreal’s luxury $4 million-plus condominium market was notably strong, posting gains of 86% year-over-year to 13 units sold.
Despite resilient local demand for urban, high density luxury housing, the city’s top-tier condominium market calmed in the latter half of 2022 as rising interest rates and general market uncertainty impacted the entry-level luxury home buyer. Overall, from July 1 – December 31, top-tier condominium sales over $1 million decreased by 36% year-over-year. During this time, five $4 million-plus condominium sales were recorded, down from six sold in the last half of 2021. According to Sotheby’s International Realty Québec experts, the completion of new construction and pre-construction luxury condominiums over the next three years will add a consequential volume of inventory to the market, with the potential of impacting prices; however, the city’s most prestigious condominium brands and addresses are expected to continue to attract steady local and international demand.
Montreal’s luxury attached home market saw sales recede in 2022 as vanishing inventory limited prospective transactions. Overall, attached home sales over $1 million saw a year-over-year decrease of 23% in 2022, with 445 properties sold. Of these $1 million-plus transactions, one did so in the $4 million-plus price bracket, down from two properties sold above this price point in 2021. In the second half of the year, top-tier attached home sales over $1 million decreased 41% year-over-year to 139 properties sold. There were no sales over $4 million during this time, compared to two properties sold in the same period of 2021.
Montreal’s top-tier single family home market saw the beginnings of a shift toward a buyers’ market in 2022. Overall, top-tier single family home sales over $1 million decreased 22% year-over-year to 615 properties sold. The luxury $4 million-plus single family home market, however, saw a less pronounced decline indicating steadier demand for premier luxury properties. The city saw 28 total transactions in this price bracket, a decrease of 13% from 2021 levels.
In the second half of 2022, between July 1 – December 31, single family home sales over $1 million were down 38% to 223 properties sold. Luxury single family home sales over $4 million posted a moderate decrease of 26% year-over-year, with 14 properties sold between July 1 – December 31. No homes were sold over $10 million on MLS, compared to one transaction recorded in the second half of 2021.
Despite recent headwinds, Montreal’s luxury real estate market is well-established on the national and global stage as a desirable location to live, work and study. In welcoming 12.2% of new Canadian immigrants in 2021, the metropolitan area also remains the second highest destination for new immigrants to Canada, and with them, new demand for conventional and luxury housing. With sound underlying market fundamentals, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada experts anticipate that the city’s market will remain balanced into the initial months of 2023, enabling both buyers and sellers to strategically pursue opportunities.
For more information on Sotheby’s International Realty Canada and the 2022 Year End Top-Tier Real Estate Report contact:
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About Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Combining the world’s most prestigious real estate brand with local market knowledge and specialized marketing expertise, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada is the leading real estate sales and marketing company for the country’s most exceptional properties. With offices in over 35 residential and resort markets nationwide, our professional associates provide the highest caliber of real estate service, unrivalled local and international marketing solutions and a global affiliate sales network of approximately 1,000 offices in 81+ countries and territories to manage the real estate portfolios of discerning clients from around the world. For further information, visit www.sothebysrealty.ca.
The information contained in this report references market data from MLS boards across Canada. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada cautions that MLS market data can be useful in establishing trends over time but does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differentials within local markets. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada or Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates for any loss or damage resultant from any use of, reliance on, or reference to the contents of this document.
Housing Statistics in Canada Residential real estate investors and investment properties in 2020
For the first time, the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) is publishing data on investors. This article presents a profile of these owners and the residential properties they owned in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia in 2020.
- The proportion of investors among owners varied from 20.2% in Ontario to 31.5% in Nova Scotia.
- Among houses and condominium apartments, just under one in five properties was used as an investment in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined.
- Condominium apartments were used as an investment more often than houses (single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses, and mobile homes). Ontario topped the list with the highest rate of condominium apartments used as an investment, at 41.9%.
- Houses used as an investment were mainly owned by individuals living in the same province as the property.
Residential properties can be owned for several reasons: for use as a primary place of residence, but also for occasional use as a secondary residence, to generate income or other investment purposes. When properties are owned by investors, they can contribute to the rental housing supply—and therefore meet the population’s need for rental housing—but that can also limit the number of properties available to buyers who intend to use it as a primary place of residence. Data from the 2021 Census showed that the proportion of Canadian households who owned their home fell from 69.0% in 2011 to 66.5% in 2021. This article distinguishes between investors and other types of owners to better understand the profile of investors, what they own, and the role they play in the market.
This topic is especially important since, in the United States, the study by Haughwout et al. (2011) showed an increase in the proportion of investors among buyers from 2000 to 2007, when a housing bubble emerged. These borrowers then contributed considerably to the rise in delinquency rates during the 2007/2008 housing crisis. Analyzing the subsequent period in the United States (2009 to 2013), the study by Allen et al. (2018) also found that an increase in the percentage of houses purchased by investors in a given area led to higher prices in that market.
North of the border, the Bank of Canada (2022) analyzed the importance of investors—defined as buyers who own multiple mortgaged properties—and found an increase in the proportion of purchases by investors in Canada in the first half of 2021. Teranet (2022) made a similar observation in an analysis of transactions carried out by owners of multiple properties in Ontario. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (2016) also investigated investors — defined as households who own a primary residence and at least one secondary condominium unit — using a survey of condominium owner households in Toronto and Vancouver. They found that 48.4% of investors in 2015 stated that their secondary unit was rented out while 42.0% stated that they or a family member were using the unit.
In this release, the CHSP follows a different approach by identifying properties owned by investors among the entire stock of residential properties in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia for the reference year 2020.Note The findings provide a snapshot of the situation in these provinces before the COVID-19 pandemic and can therefore be used as a point of comparison to determine the effects of the public health crisis when examining subsequent years.
What is an investor?
In this analysis, owners are divided into three categories: investors, investor-occupants, and non-investors.
An investor is defined as an owner who owns at least one residential property that is not used as their primary place of residence. Individual owners who own a single property in the same province as where they reside are not considered investors, so long as it is not a property with multiple units.
Specifically, the following owners are considered to be investors:
- A business or government that owns at least one residential property, excluding Canadian non-profit organizations.Note Given the predominance of businesses in this category, they will simply be referred to as “business” in what follows.
- An individual owner who is not resident in Canada, referred to as a “non-resident investor” below.
- An individual owner who lives outside the province where they own residential property, referred to as an “out-of-province investor” in the province of the non-principal residence.
- An individual owner who lives in the province and owns two or more residential properties, or owns a property with multiple residential units who does not occupy that property. These individuals will be referred to as “in-province investors”.
The investor category thus can include, among others, secondary residence owners, landlords, short-term rental owners, developers, for-profit businesses and speculators.
An owner is classified as an investor-occupant if they own a single property with multiple residential units, one of which is their primary place of residence. For example, this category includes owners of a house with a laneway unit or basement suite and owners of a duplex who live in one of the units. In all cases, at least one of the units must be occupied by one of the owners.
An owner is classified as a non-investor when they are not an investor or an investor-occupant. This category primarily includes owners who live in the province where the property is located, who own a single property, and this property does not have multiple residential units. Canadian non-profit businesses are also included in this category.Note
More than one in five owners is an investor
For British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined, CHSP data show that a total of 21.9% of owners were investors in 2020. The proportion of investors was higher in Nova Scotia (31.5%) and New Brunswick (29.0%) than in British Columbia (23.3%), Manitoba (20.4%), and Ontario (20.2%).
Data table for Chart 1
This difference is largely due to a higher proportion of vacant land in the two Atlantic provinces, which is a type of property often owned in addition to the primary place of residence. The proportion of investors who live in the province and own one or two pieces of vacant land in addition to their primary place of residence was 6.7% in Nova Scotia and 7.7% in New Brunswick. If we remove this type of investor, the rate of investors falls to 24.8% in Nova Scotia and 21.3% in New Brunswick. The proportions of investors are then more comparable to those of the other provinces.
Given that the stock of vacant land is proportionally lower and more expensive in British Columbia and Ontario, less than 2% of owners in these provinces were in-province investors who owned one or two pieces of vacant land in addition to their primary place of residence. In Manitoba, the proportion of homeowners in this situation was also low, at 2.5%.
Investor-occupants are more common in British Columbia, where they made up 9.6% of owners. This higher proportion is mostly due to the composition of the housing stock. In this province, properties with multiple residential units represented 11.7% of the stock, a higher proportion than in the other provinces, where it varied from 2.9% in Ontario to 5.7% in Nova Scotia. This higher percentage in British Columbia was mostly attributable to many residences with a laneway unit or a basement suite among properties with multiple residential units. These kinds of properties were more likely to be occupied by the owner when compared to apartment buildings in British Columbia and elsewhere.
How is the investment status of the property defined?
An analysis of properties used as an investment helps clarify the role that investors play in the housing market. The investment status of the property is determined by analyzing the investor status of the owner and the use of the property. Properties are divided into one of the following three categories: an investment property, an owner-occupied investment property, and a non-investment property.Note
An investment property is defined as a property owned by at least one investor that is not the primary place of residence of any of the owners. This can include, for example, a rented property with one or more units, a cottage or a property owned for speculative purposes.
If the property is not included in the previous category, it can be considered an owner-occupied investment property if it is a property with multiple residential units where at least one of the owners occupies a unit.Note
Finally, the non-investment property category includes properties owned only by non-investors or those used as a primary place of residence by at least one of the owners.
The proportion of investment properties varies greatly by the type of property analyzed. Vacant land and properties with multiple residential units are used more for investment than single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses, and mobile homes — which we refer to as “houses” in this article — and condominium apartments.
In all the provinces analyzed in this study combined, more than 9 in 10 vacant lots were investment properties or were owned by a non-profit organization. The remainder were owned by individuals residing in the province where they owned a single vacant lot. Similarly, for all these provinces, 96.7% of properties with multiple residential units were either investment properties (45.6%) or owner-occupied investment properties (51.1%), while the rest were owned by non-profit organizations. However, these proportions varied from one province to another. In British Columbia, 73.0% of properties with multiple dwellings were owner-occupied investment properties. By contrast, in the other provinces, the majority of properties with multiple dwellings were investment properties, with the proportion reaching 72.0% in Manitoba.
As a result, provinces with a large stock of vacant land, such as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and those with a high proportion of properties with multiple residential units, such as British Columbia, had high rates of investors or investor-occupants. The portrait shifts when the focus is on houses and condominium apartments, which are more likely to be owner-occupied, and therefore not used for investment purposes. In the following sections, the analysis of properties focuses exclusively on houses and condominium apartments, and excludes properties with multiple dwellings and vacant land.
In Nova Scotia, more than 1 in 20 houses is used as an investment by a person living outside the province or the country
The analysis by property type found that investors were drawn more to condominium apartments than houses. The share of houses used as an investment varied from 14.3% in New Brunswick to 20.1% in Nova Scotia, with an overall average of 15.6% for all five provinces. By comparison, this same statistic for condominium apartments was 39.4%. For the five provinces, a total of 918,695 houses were used as an investment, 584,615 of which were in Ontario. A regional analysis found that the proportion of houses used as an investment was generally higher in more touristic regions, where there may be more cottages.
In-province investors owned, as investment properties, between 8.7% of the houses in New Brunswick and 12.4% in Nova Scotia, and, as such, they owned more houses used as an investment than all the other types of investors combined.
Data table for Chart 2
Out-of-province investors owned proportionally fewer houses used as an investment in Ontario (0.3%) than out-of-province investors in the other provinces, which is likely partly due to higher real estate prices in Ontario than most of the provinces. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia seemed more popular with out-of-province investors, who owned, as investments, 2.3%, 1.6% and 1.7% of houses, respectively. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia may have attracted residents from other provinces with lower average housing prices than in other provinces. As for British Columbia, the number of out-of-province investors was particularly high in the areas near the Alberta border. In British Columbia, non-residents and out-of-province investors owned 43,890 houses used as an investment.
Condominium apartments are more popular with investors than houses
The share of condominium apartments used as an investment was higher than for houses, varying from 22.6% in New Brunswick to 41.9% in Ontario and totalling 39.4% for all five provinces. Although this share was higher in Ontario and British Columbia (36.2%) than in Manitoba (29.2%) and New Brunswick, this does not appear to be attributable to the large census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in those provinces. In fact, the rate of condominium apartments used as investment was lower in the CMAs of Toronto (36.2%) and Vancouver (34.0%) than the rate in the rest of their respective provinces.
Data table for Chart 3
There was a higher rate of business-owned investment properties among the condominium apartment stock than in the stock of houses. In Ontario, businesses owned 74,485 condominium apartments for investment purposes, or 13.4% of all properties of this type, which is the highest share among the provinces analyzed. Nevertheless, most condominium apartments used as an investment in both Ontario and Manitoba were owned by in-province investors. In the other jurisdictions, this was not the case.
The proportion of condominium apartments owned for investment purposes by non-resident investors was the highest in British Columbia (7.0%), followed by Ontario (5.6%).
More investment properties outside CMAs and census agglomerations (CAs) seem to be used as a secondary residence
While some investors rent out their investment property, others may use it as a secondary residence. Properties located outside CMAs and CAs are more likely to be used as secondary or recreational properties, such as cottages, when the owners are residents of the province and only own one additional property outside the region of their primary residence.Note These properties may or may not be rented.
Outside the major centres, this type of investment made up between 3.2% of houses and condominium apartments in New Brunswick and 11.1% in Ontario. In the latter, this amounted to 70,610 properties, or 1.6% of all houses and condominium apartments in the province. Of these, more than 99% were houses, while condominium apartments, which are less common outside major centres, represented less than 1% of the investment properties of this type.
In British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, Nova Scotia, the share of potential secondary residences owned by out-of-province investors was higher than in the other jurisdictions. In British Columbia, investment properties owned by out-of-province residents represented 6.3% of the houses and condominium apartments outside CMAs and CAs, while the figure for Nova Scotia was 3.5%.
Data table for Chart 4
Although a secondary residence could also be a pied-à-terre in the city, this seemed less common. In large urban centres, the proportion of houses and condominium apartments used as an investment owned by residents from outside the region or the province was lower than in areas outside CMAs or CAs. This proportion was highest in the CAs and CMAs in Nova Scotia (2.2%) and British Columbia (2.2%). In CMAs and CAs of the five provinces, the second property of in-province investors living in a different region was more often a condominium (23.0% of cases) than was the case outside major centres.
Data table for Chart 5
In the Toronto and Vancouver CMAs, investment properties were concentrated in the downtown core
In both Toronto and Vancouver CMAs, there was a higher proportion of investment properties in the core census subdivisions (CSDs). In the Vancouver CMA, the Greater Vancouver ANote CSD was the one exception, with a higher proportion of houses and condominium apartments used as an investment (42.1%) than in the other CSDs in the region. This is consistent with other trends observed for Greater Vancouver A. According to the 2021 Census, this CSD had a higher proportion of renters (57.3% of households) than in the rest of the CMA. This difference is partially due to the students who attend the University of British Columbia, which is located in this area. Students are more likely to be renters, but they could also be owners, or they could live in a second property owned by a family member. In addition, this CSD had the highest non-resident ownership rate (14.9%) in the CMA in 2020.
In the City of Vancouver, which is the core CSD, the proportion of houses and condominium apartments used as an investment was 32.5%, the second highest proportion in the Vancouver CMA, which had an overall rate of 21.3%. The higher share of investment properties in the core CSD is partly due to a greater concentration of condominium apartments, which are more often used as an investment. However, even considering condominium apartments and single detached houses separately, both had a higher rate of properties used as an investment in the Vancouver CSD than in the rest of the CMA.
Description for Map 1
The finding was similar in Toronto, where the proportion of investment properties was higher in the core CSD of the City of Toronto (21.7%) than in the CMA as a whole (16.3%). For the CSD, this amounts to 112,220 condominium apartments and 52,935 houses used as an investment.
Note to readers
The Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) is an innovative data project that leverages existing data sources and transforms them into new and timely indicators on Canadian housing.
The data in this study are compiled from the CHSP for the reference year 2020. Complete information about the reference years of the property stock, by province and territory, are available here.
Investor status and investment status of the residential property take into consideration the type of property as obtained by our data providers. Certain properties may have secondary units that are not known to the authorities. As a result, we cannot account for them. The counts and distribution of properties are calculated based on the property classifications established by the CHSP. These may differ from the ones used by local authorities.
Once the property is categorized as an investment property, a subcategory is created to determine the type of investment property. This is based on the type of investor who owns it. The order of priority is as follows:
- Investment property owned by at least one business or one government;
- Investment property owned by at least one non-resident individual;
- Investment property owned by at least one out-of-province individual;
- Investment property owned by an individual living in the province.
Properties cannot be included in more than one investment property category. If the property has multiple owners with various profiles, once an owner fits in one of the categories, by order of priority, then the property is included in that category.
In CHSP releases, data are based on the geographical boundaries from the Standard Geographical Classification 2016.
The CHSP database does not contain information about residential properties on Indian reserves.
A property owner refers to an individual or an entity included in the classification of ‘business and government’ (such as corporations, governments, sole proprietorships and partnerships, and other legal types) that has property title transferred to, recorded in, registered in, or otherwise carried in their name.
A property may have more than one owner or an owner may have more than one property, therefore the count of owners and properties can differ.
An individual is considered a non-resident if their primary dwelling is outside the economic territory of Canada.
The core of a geographic area, for the purposes of this release, refers to the census subdivision (CSD) within a census metropolitan area (CMA) with the highest number of residential properties.
An investor is defined as an owner who owns at least one residential property that is not used as their primary place of residence, excluding Canadian non-profit organizations. An individual owner who owns a single property in the same province as where they reside is not considered an investor, so long as it is not a property with multiple residential units. This category excludes investor-occupants.
An investor-occupant is defined as an owner who possesses a single property with multiple residential units and who occupies that property.
A non-investor is defined as an owner who is not an investor or an investor-occupant. An owner who lives in the same province as where the property is owned and owns a single property is included in this category, so long as it is not a property with multiple residential units.
An investment property refers to a residential property owned by at least one investor and is not used as a primary place of residence by any of the owners. This category excludes owner-occupied investment properties.
An owner-occupied investment property refers to a property with multiple residential units where at least one of the owners occupies a unit.
A non-investment property refers to a property held solely by non-investors or a property being used as a primary place of residence by at least one of the owners and that is not an owner-occupied investment property.
The term unspecified investment property status refers to properties whose owner is unknown, and therefore the investment status of the property cannot be determined.
A property with multiple residential units refers to a property containing more than one set of living quarters owned by the same owner(s), as is the case for an apartment building or a duplex or a property with two houses on the same lot.
A condominium apartment refers to a set of living quarters that is owned individually, while land and common elements are held in joint ownership with others.
Commercial real estate prices in P.E.I. stabilizing but supply issues remain, realtors say
After a turbulent few years, real estate agents on Prince Edward Island say the commercial real estate market is starting to show signs of stabilizing, but supply challenges continue.
Over the past two to three years, commercial real estate prices on P.E.I. saw a jump, said Kevin Quinn, a realtor with Remax Charlottetown.
“We had a pretty good demand for product, but yet we just didn’t have the inventory to handle that,” said Quinn.
Now, he said prices are showing signs of cooling. But limited supply remains an issue, especially in certain parts of the Island, like Charlottetown.
There are currently 73 commercial properties available on P.E.I., which Quinn said is about average. But the majority of those listings are located on P.E.I.’s north and south shore, or in the eastern part of the province.
“People looking in the Charlottetown area are having to struggle to find something,” he said.
A ‘very tough’ search
Nguyen Tuan knows first-hand how challenging it can be to find a commercial property in Charlottetown. He’s been looking for more than four months without any luck.
“It’s very tough now,” said Tuan of his search so far.
Tuan said he’s looking for a building that’s 800 to 1,000 square feet to open a Vietnamese restaurant, but so far buildings are either between 300 to 500 square feet or larger properties more than 2,000 square feet.
Along with a lack of options, rent is also expensive. Tuan said he’s trying to find a place that’s under $2,000 a month, but prices in the few available properties have been two or three times higher.
“We see one or two locations in Charlottetown with space of about 1,000 square feet, the rent [was] about $4,000 something,” he said, adding he was surprised to see such high prices.
Now, Tuan said he’s started looking in Stratford instead and is hoping to find a property better suited for his needs sometime soon.
Shortage of Charlottetown properties
Quinn said he’s heard from prospective buyers and renters that finding certain commercial places is especially difficult. People wanting to find smaller properties that are less than 1,000 square feet, for example, might face added challenges.
“There is a demand there and the volume is not overly high right now, especially in the Charlottetown area,” he said.
Newly built commercial properties are being snatched up quickly, “sometimes even before a shovel went in the ground,” Quinn said.
Older properties will likely stay on the market longer before selling, he added. Quinn said there is still reluctance from buyers, especially over the past year which saw rising interest rates.
“Prices don’t usually skyrocket on P.E.I. The last few years, I think, has been a bit of an anomaly,” he said, adding he expects prices to stay roughly the same moving forward.
Higher interest rates
As Canada’s interest rates continue to rise, realtor Clifford Lee said it’s a reality buyers should be preparing for.
Lee said people have become used to seeing interest rates less than two and three per cent for a few years, but that won’t be likely to return anytime soon.
“I really think it’s a matter of us getting used to the new normal interest rates of what we anticipate they’re going to be,” he said.
The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 4.5 per cent in January. It was the eighth time in less than a year the bank has raised rates, in an effort to stem record-high inflation across the country.
People are concerned about entering the commercial market right now, Lee said, but for the most part, prices in P.E.I. are reasonable. It’s a stark contrast to other national trends.
We didn’t have the big boom, and we’re not going to experience a big bust.– Clifford Lee, realtor
Lee said over the past few years, commercial real estate prices skyrocketed in bigger centres like Toronto and Vancouver. Prices on P.E.I. also saw a bump, but not to the same extent as in larger cities, he added.
“We didn’t have the big boom, and we’re not going to experience a big bust,” he said.
While prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon, Lee said they likely won’t increase either.
“I think the prices now have certainly stabilized,” he said on what the market will look like in the coming months.
China’s real estate crisis isn’t over yet, IMF says – CNBC
BEIJING — China needs to do more in order to fix its real estate problems, the International Monetary Fund said Friday.
The property market contributes to about a quarter of China’s GDP and has been a drag on growth, especially since Beijing cracked down on developers’ high reliance on debt in 2020.
Chinese authorities started to ease restrictions on financing for the sector over the last several months.
“Authorities’ recent policy measures are welcome, but in our view additional action will be needed in order to end the real estate crisis,” Thomas Helbling, deputy director in the IMF’s Asia Pacific Department, said in a briefing.
“If you look at the measures, a lot of them address financing issues for the developers that are still in relatively good financial health, so that will help,” he added in an interview with CNBC. “But the problems of the property developers’ facing severe financial difficulties are not yet addressed. The issue of the large stock of unfinished housing more broadly is not yet addressed.”
Apartments in China are typically sold to homebuyers before completion. Covid and financial difficulties slowed construction so much that some homebuyers halted their mortgage payments last summer in protest.
Chinese authorities subsequently emphasized the need to help developers finish building those pre-sold apartments. Still, residential floor space sold in China dropped by nearly 27% last year, while real estate investment fell by 10%, according to official numbers.
“I think it would be helpful to point to a way out and … how the restructuring could be done and who will absorb losses if there are any losses,” Helbling said. He also called for additional measures to address the large stock of unfinished apartments.
“Otherwise the sector will continue to slump and remain a risk and also constrain households that are overexposed to the property sector, and will have cash tied up and their savings tied up which will be a handicap for the broader economic recovery,” he said.
Helbling declined to name a specific timeframe within which authorities needed to act before the situation got much worse.
“The sooner you address downside risks the better.”
The IMF analysis was part of the organization’s latest report on China, following annual discussions with Chinese officials that ended in November.
The officials pushed back on the IMF’s real estate assessment, according to a statement in the IMF report by Zhengxin Zhang, executive director for People’s Republic of China, and Xuefei Bai, senior advisor to the executive director, dated Jan. 12.
China’s property market has generally operated smoothly and “is not in a ‘crisis’ situation,” the statement said, casting the sector’s situation as “a natural evolution of ‘deleveraging and destocking’ in the past few years.”
“The related risks are local and only concern individual firms, and their impact on the rest of the world has been relatively small,” the central bank representatives said. Looking ahead, the Chinese side said they would work toward ensuring the delivery of completed apartments, and merging developers.
Chinese property developers such as Country Garden, Longfor and R&F Properties have seen their shares nearly double or more over the last 60 trading days — about three months, according to Wind Information. But trading in shares of one-time giants Evergrande, Shimao and Sunac have been halted since March 2022.
The IMF report pointed out that a significant portion of investors in Chinese developers’ bonds have been affected.
“As of November 2022, developers that have already defaulted or are likely to default — with average bond prices below 40 percent of face value — represented 38 percent of the 2020 market share of firms with available bond pricing,” the report said.
“The sector’s contraction is also leading to strains in local governments. Falling land sale revenues have reduced their fiscal capacity at the same time as local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) have also significantly increased land purchases.”
The IMF on Monday raised its global growth expectations for the year due to better-than-expected growth in major countries late last year, softening inflationary pressures and the end of China’s Covid controls.
The new 2.9% forecast for the world is 0.2 percentage points better than anticipated in October. But it’s still a slowdown from 3.4% growth in 2022.
For China, the IMF projects growth of 5.2% this year, faster than the 3% pace in 2022.
— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.
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