Canada's Condominium Magazine
Another sign that Toronto has arrived as a serious global real estate market comes with the news that a local real estate brokerage that specializes in luxury properties was named Affiliate of the Year (large market) by Christie’s International Real Estate. The award was given to Chestnut Park Real Estate at an event in Dublin, Ireland, on May 5. The official announcement says that the award is for excellence in marketing luxury residential property and for the contribution the Toronto brokerage has made to Christie’s network globally. Selection criteria included creativity, market leadership and utilizing the Christie’s brand in Chestnut Park branding and marketing.
A suitable aura of exclusivity is maintained by reminding us that admittance to the Christie’s International Real Estate network is “by invitation only.” Christie’s says its affiliates are “hand selected” for their success in luxury property sales, and the firm offers them the ability to work with its more famous auction house business.
Given the kind of year it was in Toronto, who else could have taken the award? Christie’s International itself named Toronto the hottest market in the world for luxury real estate in 2015, and Chestnut Park, right at the centre of that market, had a record sales year too.
Globally, according to the statement, Christie’s affiliates sold $119 billion of residential real estate that year. All listings must meet certain luxury criteria, of course. One of those criteria, price, is changing rapidly in Toronto. The current starting price for a luxury property in Toronto, which is classified as a global economic hub, is $3 million, the same as in San Francisco and Paris. Globally the threshold is $2 million. Los Angeles and London have the highest, at $8 million. Much of that recent price growth in Toronto has been the result of low supply. Speaking in the Christie’s International report Luxury Defined 2015, a Chestnut Park spokesperson said that “extremely low supply” of homes had pushed prices to $1–$2 million “for relatively average homes.” The average price of a single detached home in Toronto reached $1.2 million in April
Nevertheless, Toronto had the largest growth in luxury sales of all the global economic hub cities, and it also led in the number of days it took to sell a luxury home. The average number of days to sell for hub cities like Toronto was 141 days; in Toronto, in 2014, luxury homes sold in just 31 days. In San Francisco, it was 71 days. It was this combination of highest sales growth and fastest time to sell that put Toronto at the top of Christie’s “luxury thermometer.”
Meanwhile, another international brokerage that specializes in luxury homes set up shop in Toronto last fall. One might wonder why it took them so long to get here. Engel & Völkers now has over 8,000 members in its international network, 1,000 more than it had just last October. The owner of the Toronto office of the Germany-based firm commented in an interview with Urban Toronto that he saw good growth potential in the luxury condo market in this city. There is still a limited supply of high-end suites in Toronto, so “it’s safe to bet that these properties will offer a great return on investment.”
One developer is about to add, slightly, to the luxury condo inventory. Hirsh Development Group plans a smallish, five-storey building in Forest Hill, with just twenty-two suites. Prices will reportedly start at $3.2 million and ascend all the way to $12 million.