BUSINESS

Vancouver, Toronto Prime Real Estate Prices Top Rome And Milan: CBRE

11/07/2014 08:33 EST | Updated 11/10/2014 04:59 EST
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Residents of Toronto and Vancouver ought to ask themselves why they're still living in those cities, when they could buy prime Roman real estate for cheaper.

A map released by commercial real estate company CBRE to The Huffington Post Canada on Thursday showed that prime residential prices per square foot in Vancouver ($1,368) and Toronto ($1,225) exceed prices in both Rome ($1,073) and Milan ($1,073).

They're also not too far off more expensive cities such as Tokyo ($1,482), Singapore ($1,727) and Paris ($2,000).

The reason, said Vancouver-based director of research Ross Moore, is that markets in some cities (particularly Vancouver) are now being driven by international factors such as foreign investment.

"We have a handful of cities around the world whose markets are increasingly being driven by global trends and factors, as opposed to local factors," he said.

The statistics come out of a map that appeared in a recent CBRE report out of the U.K. titled "Global Living: London in an International Context."

The report has a section on overseas investors, in which it names Vancouver among cities that are favoured by Chinese buyers, citing factors such as "well known universities, a strong economic backdrop and world-class lifestyle."

It also says that luxury condos in both Toronto and Vancouver have become increasingly popular with retirees looking to make a "lifestyle shift, without necessarily making a huge sacrifice on the size of the property."

Foreign investment is a particularly touchy subject in Canada, where it's been blamed for an uptick in housing prices that have made home ownership unaffordable for many residents.

How much it's a factor in housing prices remains open to question. Canada does not keep statistics on foreign ownership the way that countries such as the U.S. and Australia do.

Whatever the cause of rising real estate prices, Moore said that both Toronto and Vancouver ought to become used to being globally-competitive cities.

"I don't think it's a trend that's going to peter out," he said. "Once you're on that global stage, you tend to stay."

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