In July this year, a realty company that specializes in luxury homes released a report about the top-tier segment of the property market.
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada indicated that “renewed confidence in Canada's post-pandemic return and economic recovery bolstered gains across the country's major metropolitan luxury real estate markets through the first half of 2021”.
These include the Greater Vancouver area, where demand has set the market “ablaze” for high-end properties.
At the very top of this submarket are “ultra-luxury” homes of $10 million and over.
Sotheby’s reported that sales of mega-expensive residences quadrupled to 16 properties from January to June 2021, compared to four during the first half of 2020.
A scan of the market tracking by real-estate information site Zealty.ca suggests that sales of these high-value homes continue into the year.
At least 45 homes priced $10 million and over have been sold so far this year.
The sales were in the markets served by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
Based on Zealty tracking, the latest deal was a Whistler property at 2980 Trail End’s Lane, which sold on September 1 for $14,475,000.
The “ski-in/ski-out estate” spent 25 days on the market after Engel & Volkers Whistler made the listing on August 7 with an asking price of $15,950,000.
Called Antara in the listing, the home features five bedrooms. An additional double bunk room provides “sleeping space for up to 18 people”.
The most expensive deal tracked by Zealty was the sale of a West Vancouver waterfront property that sold on August 3.
The residence at 5365 Seaside Place changed owners for $22.7 million.
The 8,800-square-foot estate spent 28 days on the market after Angell, Hasman & Associates (Malcolm Hasman) Realty Ltd. placed the property on market on July 6 for an asking price of $24,800,000.
“Situated on its own private, fully gated peninsula with unobstructed ocean views”, the property has a “natural shoreline” measuring 500 feet.
Features include a “resort style infinity swimming pool and outdoor spa” and a boat house.
The Zealty tracking does not include the private sale in July of the Belmont Estate in Vancouver for a reported record price of $42 million.
Sotheby’s was the listing agent for the 4743 Belmont Avenue mansion owned by philathropists Joseph and Rosalie Segal.
A public relations pitch for a media release in August identified the new owners of the Belmont Estate as Peter and Stephanie Chung of Surrey.
The August 4, 2021 release announced that the Chung couple made a $250,000 donation to the Vancouver General Hospital and the UBC Hospital Foundation to “support the recruitment of epilepsy program fellows” at VGH.
The donation honours the memory of their son Joseph, who died at the age of 32 “after undergoing complications following a seizure while swimming”. He suffered from “multiple disabilities including autism and epilepsy”.
Zealty CEO Adam Major noted to the Straight that ultra-luxury homes of $10 million and over occupy the top one percent of homes sold in the market.
Like many things, the definition of what constitutes a luxury home is a relative concept.
To explain, Major noted that 32,917 properties consisting of detached homes, townhouses and condo units have sold in the Greater Vancouver area so far this year.
Out of those, only 10 percent have sold for over $2.13 million, so by definition, a luxury home for all of Greater Vancouver is any over that price, the Zealty executive said.
However, he noted that one “can’t get much of a house on the West Side [of Vancouver] for $2.13 million”.
“Although most of us would be happy to own a home worth $2.13 million, in Point Grey with that kind of money, you would be living under an overpass,” Major said.
As a side note, Major noted that the more a house costs, the more realtors earn in commission.
Major knows this because he is a realtor and managing broker with Holywell Properties.
He added that this is why the real-estate industry supports more government stimulus in the housing market.
Amid the ongoing campaign for the September 20 federal election, Major said: “We are caught in a loop where no industry or political party actually supports any incentive to actually reduce house prices.”
Major also mentioned that even the NDP’s support for a longer amortization period does not help.
“You know who wants longer amortizations? The banks! They would be happy to lend us all money forever,” Major said.