If one thing's for certain, the Toronto luxury real estate market has remained resilient in the face of the global pandemic.
And while Ontario braces itself for the already-in-motion second wave of the novel coronavirus, according to Royal LePage, there are currently interesting buying opportunities in the Toronto and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) luxury condo market, as buyers seek larger homes to live and work in the pandemic.
This week, Royal LePage released its Luxury Property Report, which includes insights regarding luxury properties -- which are defined as having a value above three times the median price of a house or condominium in its region -- specifically for the Toronto and GTA region.
According to the report, from March 15 to September 9, the price of a luxury condo in Toronto dipped by 1.6% year-over-year to $1,870,000, while in the GTA, the price fell by 3.6% year-over-year to $1,830,000.
Luxury houses in the city, on the other hand, saw gains of 5.4% to a median price of $3,187,500. In the GTA, luxury house prices increased by 5.9% to $ 3,177,500.
Cailey Heaps, managing director and sales representative, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, says demand for luxury properties in Toronto has been driven by low inventory, low-interest rates, and a "renewed focus on lifestyle to accommodate for our new normal.”
Heaps added that buyers seeking luxury property are focused on lifestyle when looking for their perfect home.
"With travel off the table for the near future and many working from home, features such as a home office, outdoor space, a pool and walkability are becoming increasingly important in their search criteria," said Heaps.
"Appropriately priced homes in the established Central Toronto neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Leaside, and Lawrence Park often sell in a matter of days. Multiple offer situations still occur but to a lesser degree than in the pre-COVID landscape, giving buyers an opportunity to purchase in a slightly less competitive market."
While the luxury condominium market has faced some challenges over the recent months, Heaps says the new rules with respect to short-term rentals, higher inventory, and the increased risk that comes with communal spaces or common areas have meant that condos did not perform as well as the freehold market. However, she says buyers will find more selection compared to the inventory of luxury houses.
Heaps noted that while all luxury buyer demographics are still active, boomers are quieter this year than previous years. However, many cautious boomers selling their luxury home have the opportunity to stay at their cottage or a secondary property as an additional option during the pandemic.
Looking towards the remainder of the year, Heaps noted that current demand is slowing, which is typical of fourth-quarter activity.
On a national level, the median price of a luxury house increased 1% year-over-year to $2,500,000, while the median price of a luxury condominium remained constant at $1,250,000.
Royal LePage says recent steep increases in overall Canadian home prices have pushed more properties over the national lower price threshold, increasing the overall quantity of Canadian homes defined as luxury properties.