07/03/2015 11:42 EDT | Updated 07/03/2016 05:59 EDT

Luxury car sales in B.C. nearly 50 per cent above the national average

When it comes to buying luxury cars, British Columbia leads the rest of Canada, says a new report from Scotiabank.

Luxury car sales account for 15 per cent of overall car sales in the province, nearly 50 per cent above the national average.

Not only are sales higher in B.C., they're also growing faster, said Carlos Gomes, senior economist with Scotiabank.  Canada has seen a 12 per cent increase in luxury car sales, but B.C. has seen 16 per cent growth. 

Higher end of luxury leading gains

In the report, the bottom end of luxury is considered to be the BMW 3 Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-class, which retail in the mid $30,000 range, said Gomes.

"Though the interesting thing is when we look at the numbers both for B.C. and for Canada, it's really the higher end of the luxury market that's doing better in terms of the growth."

House prices driving sales

Growth in household wealth has been a key driver of luxury car sales, said Gomes.

Data from Statistics Canada indicate that household wealth in B.C. is more than 30% above the Canadian average, with homes accounting for most of that wealth.

"In B.C., we're probably seeing a double-digit gain [in house prices] over the past year. That's despite some fear mongering out there that prices may be overvalued," Gomes said.  

High consumer confidence in B.C.

"When you look at luxury numbers, when you look at indicators such as confidence levels, in B.C., consumer confidence is currently at the highest level since 2007, prior to the economic meltdown.

"That's different than what we're experiencing in the rest of Canada."

To hear the full interview with Carlos Gomes, listen to the audio labelled: Luxury car sales in B.C.