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Friday, April 19, 2013

Half of luxury home buyers in Montreal are from other countries

Foreign investors have a prominent and growing influence in the luxury real estate markets of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, a realtor survey by Sotheby's International Realty Canada suggests.

Half of the luxury home buyers in Montreal are from other countries while in Vancouver it's 40 per cent, the Sotheby's Top Tier Trend Report found.

The company, which specializes in high-end real estate, surveyed around 30 Sotheby's realtors responsible for the firm's biggest deals in a dozen Canadian markets.

"In every market, they're dealing with more international buyers, and in a place like Montreal, it's significantly more than they've ever seen," said company president and CEO Ross McCredie.
Montreal has seen buyers from China, Syria, Mexico, Russia and the U.S. emerging as big players in the luxury market in recent years, and McCredie says agents also reported an increase in buyers from Egypt and the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings in that region.

The highest average entry price for luxury single family homes in Montreal is $3.5 million, with buyers favouring established neighbourhoods like Westmount and Outremont, as well as the downtown district of Ville-Marie and the tony Town of Mount Royal, a small municipality in the centre of the island of Montreal.

Vancouver sees influx of Iranian, U.S. buyers

In Toronto, where international buyers make up 25 per cent of the luxury market, the average starting price for a luxury single family home is $2 million, the same as in Calgary. In Vancouver, it's $2.8 million, although that price can fluctuate from about $4 million in neighbourhoods such as the West Side to $2 million in North Vancouver.

Buyers from China continue to be the most dominant investors influencing the luxury market in Vancouver, the report said, but investors from Iran and the U.S. have recently increased their share of the market.

Foreigners buying luxury homes in Toronto are mainly from the U.S., China, Russia, the Middle East and India and gravitate to wealthy enclaves like Rosedale, Forest Hill or the Bridle Path, as well as downtown areas such as the Annex, Yorkdale and Hoggs Hollow.

While Toronto may have a smaller proportion of foreign buyers, it still has the largest volume of luxury sales, accounting for between 70 and 80 per cent of the market, McCredie said.
"Toronto has been a more established market, and foreigners have been buying there for a long time," he said. "The difference is the foreigners have not been buying in Montreal to the same degree — and Vancouver."


Calgary's luxury market is driven mainly by younger Canadian buyers. The city has the lowest proportion of foreign buyers among the large cities where realtors noted an increase. Foreigners account for only 15 per cent of the luxury market, although McCredie says that is still more than what it was a few years ago.

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