Million-dollar homes a new trend in some Canadian cities
Josh Elliott and Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:52AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 4, 2015 10:06PM EST
Depending on where you live in Canada, a million-dollar home can be either a mansion or a fixer-upper.
In cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the average cost of a detached home will set you back more than seven figures. Meanwhile, the market in Alberta has seen sales and prices drop since the collapse of oil.
In January, Deutsche Bank AG warned that homes in Canada are overvalued by 63 per cent, and that homeowners are "in serious trouble" due to rising debt levels. But the Bank of Canada's surprise decision to cut interest rates that same month, has given some Canadians incentive to keep buying property.
In Toronto, skyrocketing real estate prices hit a new high on Wednesday with the average price of a detached house in the city surpassing $1 million.
The average cost of a detached home hit the seven-figure mark for the first time last month, according to numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board. That price was up 8.9 per cent over last year and helped drive the overall average selling price of a Toronto home up to $596,163.
The Toronto real estate scene was a seller's market in February, with more people buying homes and fewer people putting them up on the market. The number of homes sold went up by 11.3 per cent, despite there being 8.7 per cent fewer on the market when compared to February 2014.
"The detached (house) market has been especially tight, we are not seeing a lot of new supply come online, and certainly not a lot of listings," said Jason Mercer, the director of market analysis at the TREB.
The average cost of a detached home in the city came in at $1,040,018 last month, while semi-detached homes went for an average of $702,305, up 4.9 per cent over last year.
The strong gains for Toronto's detached and semi-detached markets were offset by a fall in sale prices for townhouses and condo apartments in the city. The average selling price of a townhouse fell by seven per cent, while condos sale prices dipped by 0.9 per cent.
Rising prices have pushed some prospective home buyers to eye property in the city's suburbs, but they too have been affected by the housing boom.
Residential sale prices were up across the board in the Greater Toronto Area's 905 area code regions. The average price of a semi-detached home surged by 11.6 per cent in the GTA, while fully detached went up 8.5 per cent, condos spiked 10.9 per cent and townhouses were up by eight per cent.
In the nearby Durham Region, the average price for a detached home is more than $467,000.
David Batori is a real estate agent who has been selling homes in the north end of the city for 25 years.
He says he has seen prices in area change drastically.
"When I started you couldn't give a house away from $250,000 in some of these north Toronto neighbourhoods … so yes, I'm completely surprised," he told CTV Toronto.
"Building lots are selling for north of a million dollars," he added.
On the west coast, the housing market has seen record-breaking sales. The average price of a detached home in Vancouver reached almost $1.4 million last month. And last month, the city saw 3,000 properties change hands -- a 60 per cent jump from January.
"There is a shortage of inventory, and also money is cheap right now – interest rates are fantastic," said Charlie Real, a local real estate agent.
That can mean waiting as long as six months to get a winning bid on a home, as was the case for Vancouver native Neil McIver.
"We made bids on three different places, every one of them went above what the asking price was," he said.
"I think it is a little bit irresponsible and a little bit crazy but that is the marketplace in Vancouver (that) you are dealing with," he added.
Meanwhile, sliding oil prices are responsible for a slowdown of the housing market in Western Canada.
Home sales have dropped by a third in Calgary, and the average price of a detached home has fallen four per cent to $462,000.
But some real estate analysts aren't concerned by the recent dip in the province.
"The market has cooled down, (and) we are seeing fewer sales and listings come up," said Felicia Mutheardy, a senior market analyst at the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation.
"The market is taking a step back and returning now to a more balanced terriroty," she added.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Heather Wright and CTV News' Peter Akman