There have been record-breaking levels of activity and prices across the country’s major luxury markets through the first half of the year, with Toronto leading the way.

Luxury residential real estate sales in the Greater Toronto Area -- which encompasses Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto, and York -- rebounded in the first half of 2021, shattering sales records and reinforcing the region’s position as the national leader in luxury real estate sales, according to a new report from Sotheby's International Realty Canada.

"Overall, Canadian real estate has had an amazing run so far this year, and I think all markets have been firing across the country, even Calgary has had a lot of activity," CEO and President of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, Don Kottick told STOREYS. "It's the first time in a long time that all major markets are firing on all cylinders, with Toronto leading the pack."

Sales of homes in the GTA worth more than $4 million surged 276% year-over-year, Sotheby's said in the report released Tuesday, with 414 of these properties selling in the first half of 2021. Of these, Sotheby's says 15 ultra-luxury properties sold over $10 million compared to seven properties sold above this price in the first half of 2020.

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Significant gains were experienced across all luxury housing types, with sales over $4 million for condominiums, attached, and single-family homes up 88%, 400% and 290% year-over-year, respectively. Overall, $1 million-plus residential sales surged 217% year-over-year in a market that heavily favoured sellers and fatigued buyers.

Homes in the $2-4 million and $1-2 million range experienced 236% and 213% gains to 3,900 and 25,080 properties sold, respectively. Sales over $1 million were up 217% overall in the first half of the year at 29,394 transactions, with a significant 67% selling above list price.

Following the success of the first half of the year, Kottick noted that while the province continues to open up, with residents going out and heading to their cottages, activity is flourishing.

"Despite it being summer, the Toronto area real estate market is still active, and even as we speak, we're seeing a lot of activity," said Kottick.

Kottick said sales have been strong everywhere in the region, and secondary markets are even seeing robust growth, including Muskoka, Niagara, and Price Edward County.

Here in Toronto, Sotheby's said residential real estate sales of over $4 million increased 188% from 2020 levels to 233 properties sold in the first half of 2021. Of these, nine ultra-luxury homes sold over $10 million, compared to six homes sold in the first half of 2020.

Sales between $2–4 million increased 140% to 1,707 properties sold, while sales between $1–2 million rose 162% year-over-year to 7,061 properties sold. Overall, residential sales over $1 million in Toronto experienced a 159% year-over-year increase to 9,001 properties sold in the first half of 2021, with 64% of these transactions surpassing the list price.

While demand for luxury single-family homes overshadowed that for condos, luxury condo sales over $4 million were still up 88% year-over-year in the GTA, with one unit selling for over $10 million. Luxury condominium sales between $2–4 million were also up 91% to 130 units sold, while condo sales between $1–2 million were up 126% year-over-year to 1,465 units sold. Overall, condo sales over $1 million were up 122% in the first half of 2021 to 1,610 units sold, with 39% of these selling above list price.

In Toronto, luxury condo sales of over $4 million grew 63% year-over-year, while sales between $2–4 million climbed 80% year-over-year to 110 units sold from January to June, as sales between $1–2 million surged a significant 109% year-over-year in the first half of 2021 to 1,191 units sold. Overall, condo sales over $1 million in Toronto were up 105% to 1,314 units sold in the first half of 2021, with 39% of these selling above the list price.

As consumer confidence in Canada's economic recovery strengthens, coupled with the anticipated reopening of provincial and national borders to travel and immigration, as well as the continued access to low-cost borrowing and pent-up household savings, Kottick told STOREYS he believes the Toronto area luxury market will remain strong through the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

"Interest rates, which are a key driver of the economy, are expected to remain low because the Bank of Canada can't raise them too quickly because it'll cause a shock," said Kottick.

"Until the government addresses the current supply issue, this will persist, and I definitely see a very strong fall market which will continue into the new year."