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.
A new report by Sotheby's International Realty Canada says 2013 looks like a good year for sellers of top-end homes, giving 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.
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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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent to 4,900, with 11 per cent of those selling over asking price. Montreal sales of $1-million plus homes rose four per cent to 392, only three per cent of those above asking.