Victoria in top spot on Christie's global luxury housing markets list

Greater Victoria is on top of the world when it comes to the “hottest” housing markets around the globe, according to Christie’s International Real Estate.

The company’s “luxury thermometer” for primary markets set Victoria on top, followed by San Diego and Orange County in California, Washington, D.C., and Paris.

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Last year, the average time to sell a luxury property, based on a $1-million-and-over sale price, was just 32 days, Christie’s said in its new luxury housing report. That’s down from 41 days in 2016.

“Powered by an influx of buyers from the United States and China, Victoria is experiencing the same rapid growth in housing prices and sales volumes that have strengthened Toronto and Vancouver in recent years,” the report said.

It noted that the province is bringing in measures to cool the market, such as foreign buyer and speculation taxes, and is beefing up transparency rules about who is purchasing properties.

Christie’s predicts that the capital region’s market will continue to perform well despite regulations.

It’s no secret that Greater Victoria has a hot housing market.

Competition is especially stiff for single-family houses in the core municipalities.

Victoria Real Estate Board president Kyle Kerr questions Christie’s definition of luxury in this region, saying the price of a luxury home can vary depending on its location.

With a benchmark price in the core last month of $866,700, that is not far from $1 million and would not necessarily be a luxury house. He said that a luxury home is probably closer to $2 million.

With the high value of land these days, a modest house in an in-demand location could be valued at $1 million or more, he said. “We have a scarcity of land, so the land that these homes sit on will continue to appreciate.”

And although the number of days on the market has decreased for homes of $1 million and up, Kerr said that also applies to homes offered at lower prices, where sales activity is especially brisk.

Kerr also questions Christie’s statement that there has been an “influx” of American and Asian buyers. The province tracks sales to foreign buyers, which come in at between 3.9 to 5.5 per cent. “We definitely have not seen an influx.”

Christie’s listed Toronto in the ninth spot on its list of most luxurious global cities for prime property and Muskoka, Ont. in the second position for its rankings of the hottest secondary home markets.

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