Luxury sales experience serious upward momentum in major Canadian markets, says RE/MAX



    KELOWNA, BC, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Consistent return on investment has prompted
an unprecedented upswing in luxury home sales in major Canadian centres so far
this year, according to a report released by RE/MAX.
    The RE/MAX Upper-End Market Trends Report examined trends and activity in
16 markets across the country between January and July 2007. Luxury home sales
were up over the same period one-year ago in all markets, with percentage
increases ranging from 13 per cent in Victoria to 521 per cent in Edmonton.
Four markets, including Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Ottawa, reported
triple-digit increases while double-digit gains characterized remaining
markets. The report also found that the upper-end price points were under
stress in most markets surveyed.
    "Strong economic performance, especially in Western Canadian provinces,
has bolstered consumer confidence levels to such a degree that purchasers in
the upper-end are comfortable with a million dollar plus investment in real
estate," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western
Canada. "Recent volatility in the stock market may trigger further investment
in real estate as purchasers move to reallocate their holdings."

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Year-to-Date (January to July) Unit Sales by Market
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Upper-End  Unit Sales  Unit Sales
    Market                   Price Point        2006        2007  % Increase
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver                 $2 million         166         249          48
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    White Rock              $1.2 million          73         105          44
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Victoria                  $1 million         128         137          13
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kelowna                   $1 million          36          59          64
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary                   $1 million         198         311          57
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Edmonton                    $900,000          14          87         521
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatoon                   $500,000          14          60         328
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regina                      $500,000           2          11         450
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnipeg                    $400,000          91         170          86
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Greater Toronto Area    $1.5 million         395         505          28
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton-Burlington         $500,000         342         460          34
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kitchener-Waterloo          $500,000          87         111          12
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    London                      $500,000          47          62          32
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                      $750,000          46          99         115
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax                     $350,000         257         376          46
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. John's                  $350,000          22          53          57
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Solid gains in housing values - especially in the top-end of the market -
have garnered much attention. The steady upward trending has attracted a
growing number of affluent purchasers who are taking advantage of both the
increased equity and the capital gains exemption for a principle residence.
    "The consumer appetite for luxury property has been insatiable," says
Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX
Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Unabated demand throughout the year has created
tight market conditions in a number of blue chip neighbourhoods. Limited
availability of product has, in turn, placed mounting pressure on housing
values. As a result, the million dollar home no longer holds the same cache it
once did and in larger markets such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, it's
simply a starting price."
    Out-of-province and international purchasers are active in most markets
surveyed, but locals still account for the majority of upper-end sales.
Benchmark sales, including one home priced at close to $16 million in Toronto,
are occurring with greater frequency and overall, there are more sales taking
place in the very upper reaches of the marketplace this year. In smaller
centres, benchmarks have been set throughout the year and although some, such
as Regina, have yet to report a $1 million sale, the day is nearing.
    Upscale condominium sales are also climbing as empty-nesters and retirees
up the ante for these types of property. The most expensive sale to date
occurred in Vancouver at close to $5 million, while the priciest listing
carries a price tag of $18.2 million in the same centre.
    "It appears that a growing percentage of the population has that kind of
money to spend," says Polzler. "Growth in market capitalization has generated
tremendous wealth in recent years - in fact, both the Dow Jones and S&P 500
reported double-digit growth in 2006. Demand for luxury goods overall -
upscale homes, fine art, collectable cars - is outpacing demand for everyday
consumables. Inheritance has played a significant role as well, with the
download on an estimated $1 trillion amount already underway."
    "When it comes to shelter, these upscale purchasers clearly want it all,"
says Ash. "Price is really no obstacle when it comes to creating a legacy."

    To view the full RE/MAX Upper-End Market Trends Report 2007, click
    here: http://files.newswire.ca/40/REMAXUpperEnd07.pdf

    RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,500
sales associates situated throughout its more than 640 independently owned and
operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its
34th year of consecutive growth, is a global real estate system operating in
over 65 countries. More than 7,000 independently owned offices engage 120,000
member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations,
experience and production while providing real estate services in residential,
commercial, referral, relocation and asset management. For more information,
visit: www.remax.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Marie Selby, RE/MAX of Western Canada, (250)
860-3628; Eva Blay, Charlene McAdam, Kim Kofman, Point Blank Communications,
(416) 781-3911


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