By Sheila O’Hearn, Zoocasa
The short answer: Canada’s vast location, location, location, according to a Royal LePage study,
conducted in January 2017, examining million-dollar homes in seven Canadian markets
(Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax).
In Calgary real estate, the survey noted that, as a result of the province’s recent economic slump,
purchasers wanting to buy $1 million two-storey properties currently realize approximately the
same value they did 10 years ago. In January 2017, the average property that was selling for $1
million provided 3.3 bedrooms, 2.8 bathrooms, 2,477 sq. ft. of living area, and a lot size of 7,004
The majority of Calgary buyers in this market were 30- to 40-year olds who came to the area to
work in the oil industry. For approximately two years, the energy sector’s downturn has subdued
$1-million sales activity and inventory; however, many buyers and sellers have recently begun to
return to the market, causing homes to sell at a much faster pace.
The report says that, in 2016, Calgary’s million-dollar market segment continued to dwindle, due
to low oil prices, resulting in many homeowners remaining on the sidelines in anticipation of
better times ahead. “However, just before the start of 2017, buyers finally realized that prices
were unlikely to drop any further, leading many back into the market,” says John Hripko,
Realtor, Royal LePage Benchmark. “As a result, we expect some upward pressure on prices and
a shift in value over the horizon.”
A million-dollar home in Edmonton real estate illustrated large variances, in which the report
showed a 10-year- old home in a choice neighbourhood in the River Valley, with three bedrooms.
Another home, built in 1975, near the ravine, featured two-stories, six bedrooms, seven
bathrooms, six parking spaces, and a lot size of approximately 9,312 feet.
Top four factors
Extreme value discrepancies can be seen across Canada, from an ultra-luxury residence to an
entry-level dwelling. The top four influencers in the $1-million price range were location, size,
proximity to amenities, and current condition that differed considerably from region to region
and, sometimes within that region itself, as Edmonton demonstrates.
Canada’s two hottest markets were Vancouver, then Toronto, offering in a less desirable
neighbourhood smaller, more dated two-storey “starter” homes that would require renovations,
when compared to larger, luxurious mansions elsewhere.
A $1-million home in the City of Vancouver offered the least amount of space, with an average
of 1,229 sq. ft. on a 3,134 sq. ft. lot, 2.6 bedrooms and 2.1 bathrooms.
The City of Toronto fetched more, with an average of 3.4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. But
“Current market conditions have made it increasingly difficult to find value for $1-million in
central Toronto,” says Cailey Heaps Estrin, broker, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Heaps
Estrin Team. “Buyers will always receive more value the further they venture outside of
Toronto’s core.” She cautions, nevertheless, that the overall home-purchasing power of $1-
million across the GTA has been decreased.
Conversely, Canada’s east coast fared better, with a $1-million home in Halifax offering an
average of 3.1 bedrooms, 3.8 bathrooms, and a gorgeous, generous lot.
The Greater Montreal Area has still managed to hold its position as one of the most affordable
major city centres in Canada, despite a substantial price growth in the last 10 years. Purchasers
with a $1-million budget can get a substantial amount of home for their money. In January 2017,
the average $1-million, two-storey abode offered 4.1 bedrooms, 2.8 bathrooms, 2,758 sq. ft. of
living area, and a lot size of 13,040 sq. ft.
A $1-million home in Winnipeg delivered the biggest bang for one’s bucks, such as a 3,505 sq.
ft. luxury home in a desirable neighbourhood, with an average of 4.1 bedrooms and 4.0
Saskatoon offered the largest lot size of all the regions, with an average of 65,838 sq. ft.
“There are striking differences in the options available for those who are looking to purchase a
$1-million, two-storey home in Canada,” said Dianne Usher, senior vice president of Johnston
and Daniel, a division of Royal LePage. “From an older starter home in Vancouver to a
waterfront property with all of the bells and whistles in Halifax, the amount of value and space
that prospective buyers receive is largely dependent on the characteristics of the market in which
they are located.”
The report shows that the profile of $1-million buyers also varies from region to region:
Developers and first-time buyers dominated the $1-million, two-storey property sector in
Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, while well-to- do, young to mid-life professional couples
with children were the primary purchasers elsewhere.
Zoocasa is a real estate brokerage based in Toronto.
Sheila O’Hearn is a freelance and creative writer, and has worn many hats throughout her career, from general staff reporter to magazine editor. She has a keen interest in business entrepreneurship and currently writes for several outlets. Visit her at LinkedIn for more info.