Canadian Press | Jan 9, 2013 5:52 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 9, 2013 6:19 PM ET
OTTAWA — While Canada’s housing market appears to be cooling, that may not be the case for homes in the rarefied listings of $1-million and above.
Speaking to a RBC banking conference in Toronto on Tuesday, the country’s top bankers said they don’t expect a dramatic downturn like one experienced by the United States about five years ago.
A new report by Southeby’s International Realty Canada says 2013 looks like a good year for sellers of top-end homes, given the stable Canadian economy, increasing employment and continuing low interest rates.
The firm says it is so confident that it is expanding into two new markets this year — Quebec City and Edmonton — from the four it currently serves: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.
For 2012, the realtor says the market was a bit of a mixed bag for $1-million homes and above, particularly after stricter mortgage rules came into place in July.
Some markets, like Calgary saw the sky as the limit, while previously hot Vancouver came down to earth somewhat. Toronto and Montreal experienced modest growth.
In Vancouver, sales in the top-tier market fell 34% to 1,983, and it took 54 days to sell a $1-million or more listing on average in the last six months of the year, well above the first half or the previous year. Still, five per cent of listings sold over asking.
It was a different story in Calgary, where sales of homes listing over $1-million rose 20% to 535 with five per cent selling above asking.
Toronto and Montreal experienced more modest swings from the previous year, but the trend was positive.
In Toronto, sales of top-end homes rose 13% to 4,900, with 11% of those selling over asking price. Montreal sales of $1-million plus homes rose four per cent to 392, only 3% of those above asking.