What Home Do You Expect to Purchase for $1 Million in Canada?

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

sq. ft.


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.”


Who’s buying?

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.