Demand for upscale property kicks into high gear in Q1 as inventory plunges across the GTA, says luxury realtor Barry Cohen

Properties sold in excess of $2 million more than double, while first quarter sales over $5 million rise 183 per cent

TORONTO, April 5, 2017 /CNW/ - Home-buying activity at the top end of the market shifted into high gear in the first quarter of 2017, shattering all existing records for Q1 sales over the $2 million price point in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), according to luxury realtor Barry Cohen.

The high end continues to report record sales across the board, despite falling inventory levels. Home sales over $2 million more than doubled -- and the $5 million plus price point almost tripled – in the first quarter. Based on statistics compiled by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), 1,185 $2 million plus properties sold between January 1 and March 31st of this year, up 137 per cent from the 500 units sold during the same period in 2016. Fifty-one properties, including 48 freehold and three condominium apartments, priced over $5 million, changed hands in Q1, up 183 per cent over the 18 properties sold in the first quarter of last year. 

Residential sales over $2 million in the GTA --
First Quarter


$2M +

$3M +

$4M +

$5M +

2015

279

66

19

9

2016

500

136

46

18

2017

1,185

344

116

51

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board, Market Watch, Barry Cohen Group

 

"The urgency in the luxury market has surpassed all benchmarks set in 2016," says Cohen, a high-end specialist with RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc. "Sales are fast and furious, with one in five homes sold over $5 million selling at or more than list price. Inventory challenges remain at the forefront, with just over 300 freehold properties currently listed for sale over the $2 million price point in the coveted 416 area code -- that's barely enough for a December market, let alone April."

Soaring demand and limited inventory levels have also pushed up the entry level for luxury housing.  The top one per cent of residential sales now start at $3.25 million (263/25,239) compared to $2.575 million (233/22,575) in the first quarter of 2016.  Sales over $2 million represented 4.7 per cent of all residential sales in Q1 2017, up from 2.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

"We're seeing a breakthrough at every price point over $2 million," says Cohen. "The threshold for luxury just keeps on climbing."

Buyer sentiment regarding luxury properties has also shifted, says Cohen. 

"Over the past year, location has become the number one driver for affluent purchasers, with most assigning substantially more value to the land than to the construction," says Cohen.  "It's more about the land than the house.  Buyers know that a strategic purchase in the city core will net them a greater return on their investment down the road.  As a result, more and more buyers are prepared to sit on a potential 'teardown,' rather than buy a turnkey home in the same neighbourhood."

Given solid GDP growth, falling unemployment rates, a vibrant stock market and the low cost of borrowing money, Cohen believes that the momentum at the top end will continue throughout 2017.   "Strong economic fundamentals should support home buying activity for the foreseeable future."

About Barry Cohen

Barry Cohen has been the GTA's top salesperson for luxury home sales over $2 million from 2010 to 2016 combined, according to statistics compiled from the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is ranked as RE/MAX' #1 sales team in Canada (2016), has earned global recognition by placing #2 worldwide twice for RE/MAX LLC, and is the recipient of numerous RE/MAX Awards, including their highest honour, the Luminary of Distinction. 

SOURCE Barry Cohen Group

For further information: Barry Cohen, Broker, RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Office: 416.223.1818, barry@barrycohenhomes.com, www.barrycohenhomes.com; Eva Blay-Silverberg, Point Blank Communications, Office: 416.781.3911 Cell: 416.505.0627, eva@pointblankcommunications.ca

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