By John Bermingham
Luxury living is getting more expensive as the high-end hot housing market surges.
Metro Vancouver now holds the title for the most expensive home sold through MLS listings in the first quarter in Canada — a $10.06-million, 11,600-square-foot home on three-quarters of an acre on Vancouver’s westside.
A $22-million mansion on Osler Street in Shaughnessy is Vancouver’s most expensive listing.
The top price for a condo topped out at a whopping $5.69 million.
In fact, Vancouver tops the entry-level luxury market for high-end homes at $2 million.
Toronto and Montreal Island come in second, at $1.5 million.
The Lower Mainland’s hot market for luxury homes is mainly being driven by buyers from Mainland China, realtors say.
They’re snapping up $2-million-plus homes on Vancouver’s tony westside, and in West Vancouver’s upper levels, starting at $3 million.
It’s helped fuel a record first quarter of luxury home sales, with 227 luxury homes sold in Metro Vancouver, an 184-per-cent spike over the same period last year.
“Recovery in the upper end has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of Re/Max of Western Canada, on Monday.
Ash said the majority are “move-up” buyers, trading up into bigger homes, after selling for between $900,000 and $1.4 million. “There was just this domino effect,” he said. “It’s pushing prices back up.”
A phone-around of Re/Max offices shows that Asian demand is a strong driver for high-priced homes:
■ Wayne Ryan of Re/Max Crest Realty says new Chinese immigrants and other offshore buyers are fuelling strong demand for $3-million-plus homes on Vancouver’s westside.
“It’s the Mainland Chinese that are definitely driving this market,” said Ryan. “I don’t see anything out there that is going to stop it.”
Point Grey, Shaughnessy, South Granville, Kerrisdale and Dunbar are the preferred neighbourhoods.
■ In West Vancouver, Mainland Chinese buyers are snapping up new and view homes over $2 million, said Keith Finney of Re/Max Masters Realty.
■ In White Rock/South Surrey, Re/Max Colonial Pacific realtor Linda Pierce said demand for luxury homes, priced at a minimum
$1.3 million, is being driven by people selling in Vancouver and Richmond, and buying into luxury homes that cost $2 million to $4 million less than Vancouver’s westside. “It’s people with families. It’s people who want good schools,” said Pierce.
Tsur Somerville, real-estate economist at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business, said rich foreigners are not driving up the rest of the market.
“It doesn’t mean a whole hill of beans for the rest of us. Rich people are buying very expensive houses now,” and are not driving up prices for the rest of us.© Copyright (c) The Province