Canada's luxury home market on a clear, upward trajectory, marked by record sales in most major centres in 2013, says RE/MAX

Accelerated demand pushing five-year growth rates into double and triple-digit territory

LAVAL, QC, Jan. 28, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Significant gains at the top end of the country's housing market continued to demonstrate the overall strength of Canadian real estate in 2013, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Upper End Report, highlighting trends and developments in 16 major Canadian centres, revealed that:

  • Seventy-five per cent of markets experienced year-over-year percentage increases in sales—including eight markets that posted double-digit gains.  Greater Vancouver led the charge with a 36 per cent increase in luxury sales last year, followed by Calgary at 34 per cent, Edmonton at 32 per cent, Hamilton-Burlington at 31 per cent, Kitchener-Waterloo at 27 per cent, Winnipeg at 26 per cent, Greater Toronto at 18 per cent, and Saskatoon at 15 per cent.
  • Over two-thirds of markets set new records for high-end sales in 2013.  Markets included St. John's, Quebec City, Greater Toronto, Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, London-St. Thomas, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary.
  • Luxury sales have close to quadrupled since 2009 in Regina (up 288 per cent), tripled in St. John's (219 per cent), and more than doubled in Winnipeg (189 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (173 per cent), Saskatoon (157 per cent), the Greater Toronto Area (147 per cent), Greater Vancouver (125 per cent), and Calgary (115 per cent).  London-St. Thomas was up 90 per cent, Ottawa increased 86 per cent, Edmonton rose 81 per cent, while Quebec City jumped 76 per cent and Montreal climbed 61 per cent in the five-year period.

"Canada's upper-end housing market continues to set a new standard year after year," says Sylvain Dansereau, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Quebec.  "Demand and sales are unprecedented, but what's also striking is the increasing level of luxury that homebuyers are demanding and that homeowners are instilling in existing product.  From high-end homes to condominiums, the market is evolving.  It's not only raising the bar, but price tags in the process."

Last year's relatively low interest rate environment, substantial equity gains in Canadian real estate markets, stellar performance in US equity markets, and improving economic conditions contributed to the upswing in luxury home sales, driving close to 70 per cent of Canadian markets to new heights in 2013.

Diminished supply of single-family homes—particularly in markets like the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver—contributed to steady homebuying activity, as pent-up demand persisted.  Yet, most purchasers remained grounded, especially at higher price points, and the climate proved fundamentally healthy.

Greater Vancouver experienced the largest bounce back in 2013, with sales of luxury homes posting the second highest year on record.  Western Canada claimed the country's top three high-end markets in 2013.  Ontario continued to demonstrate strength in the upper end, especially in Hamilton-Burlington and Kitchener-WaterlooCanada's largest real estate market—the GTA—also reported healthy activity in 2013.  Quebec held its own, with luxury sales outperforming overall residential market activity in both Greater Montreal and Quebec CityAtlantic Canada experienced solid demand in St. John's, where upper end sales were up, but posted a decline in Halifax-Dartmouth.

UPPER-END RESIDENTIAL SALES - January 1 to December 31
Market Price Point Sales '09 Sales '10 Sales '11 Sales '12 Sales '13 % +/-
St. John's $500,000 54 86 115 161 172 7%
Halifax-Dartmouth $500,000 181 205 291 299 268 -10%
Quebec City $500,000 116 150 150 196 204 4%
Greater Montréal $1 million 251 330 406 436 405 -7%
Ottawa $750,000 210 244 360 392 390 -1%
Greater Toronto $1.5 million 774 1069 1391 1617 1908 18%
- Oakville $1.5 million 74 74 95 131 156 19%
Hamilton-Burlington $750,000 160 194 249 334 436 31%
Kitchener-Waterloo $750,000 n/a 81 86 83 105 27%
London-St. Thomas $500,000 107 167 185 194 203 5%
Winnipeg $500,000 152 290 359 349 439 26%
Regina $500,000 80 127 198 303 310 2%
Saskatoon $500,000 197 232 332 440 507 15%
Edmonton $750,000 202 248 220 277 365 32%
Calgary $1 million 340 367 447 548 732 34%
Greater Vancouver $2 million 715 1008 1880 1184 1609 36%
Victoria $1 million 219 240 229 227 200 -12%
Source: RE/MAX, Local Real Estate Boards

The surge in high-end homebuying activity dovetails with growing strength in global markets, including London (where sales of homes priced in excess of $8 million are up 24 per cent), and the US, where sales at high end of the market - homes priced at $1 million or more - are selling at nearly triple the pace of everything else.

"From a real estate perspective, Canada continues to gain a stronger presence on the world stage," explains Dansereau.  "It bodes well for both sales and prices, particularly given our relative affordability to other international hot spots, where benchmarks continue to be set.  In New York, for example, one of the most expensive sales ever recorded was $90 million for a condominium penthouse.  Yet, Canada's highest sale—also a condo, located in Greater Vancouver—reached $25 millionQuebec represents tremendous value, with the most expensive property in 2013 changing hands for $9 million.  Interestingly enough, it was a condominium unit in coveted Westmount.  The appeal of Canadian real estate is clear, and it suggests that there's further room for growth in the country's luxury markets."

Local purchasers continue to be the primary drivers in the upper end of the market, as Canadian affluence climbs.  The ranks of Canadian millionaires are growing - up approximately 6.5 per cent to 298,000 individuals in 2012 (over 2011) -- and with it, the undeniable appeal of bricks and mortar.  The CapGemini report also found that Canadian wealth expanded to $897 billion in 2012 -- with investment in equities and real estate contributing to the upswing in growth.  Some foreign investment was also noted in 2013, most prevalent in markets such as Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area.

"With the economic picture set to improve in major centres from coast to coast in 2014, including Quebec, confidence is building," explains Dansereau.  "As a result, buying intentions at the upper end should remain solid, providing another positive indicator for the overall health of Canada's real estate market."

About the RE/MAX Network
RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. Over 90,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of more than 90 countries. RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with approximately 19,000 sales associates and 750 independently-owned and operated offices nationwide.
RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world's leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, is a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RMAX).   For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit www.remax.ca.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "expect", "estimate", "plan", "outlook", "poised," "should" and "project" and other similar words and expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. Forward looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. Forward looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made and/or management's good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward looking statements. Such risks include, without limitation, those described in the sections "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation in RE/MAX Holdings Inc.'s registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and (1) changes in business and economic activity in general, (2) changes in the real estate market, including changes due to interest rates and availability of financing,  and (3) changes in laws and regulations that may affect our business or the real estate market. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Except as required by law, RE/MAX Holdings Inc. does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances. Investors are referred to in RE/MAX Holding Inc.'s registration statement on Form S-1 and subsequent reports filed with the SEC.

Data Source:  Historical data is sourced from Local Real Estate Boards.  Estimates and forecasts are based on the opinion of independent RE/MAX broker/owners and affiliates. 

SOURCE RE/MAX

For further information:

Stéphanie Gauthier
RE/MAX Québec Inc.
450 668-7743
Stephanie.gauthier@remax-quebec.com 

Elaine Mayrand/Jeanne Hébert
Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations
514 842-2455 ext. 24/ 23
emayrand@mflrp.cajhébert@mflrp.ca