Toronto, Victoria Named World’s “Hottest” Luxury Real Estate Markets

Vancouver nowhere to be seen in Christie’s 2016 rankings of prime global markets, either by growth, overall prices or per-square-foot costs
Joannah Connolly
May 10, 2017

Last year was a scorching year for Vancouver real estate, with high-end home prices only beginning to soften slightly in the fall, following the introduction of the foreign buyer tax in August. But the city doesn’t even figure on the world stage for luxury real estate in 2016 – either in terms of overall prices, price growth or per-square-foot costs, according to a white paper released May 10 by Christie’s International Real Estate.

In its 2017 Luxury Defined report, the high-end global real estate brokerage ranked Hong Kong as the world’s leading prime real estate market in its Luxury Index. The rankings are defined by a combination of the 2016 top sales price in the city, average price per square foot for US$1 million-plus homes, number of sales over $1 million, number of $1 million-plus sales relative to total sales and average $1 million-plus sales price in 2016.

Hong Kong usurped London, UK, which has been in the top spot since Christie’s started the rankings five years ago and is now in second place.

Christie's Luxury Index
Source: Christie's Luxury Real Estate

However, in terms of growth in the luxury real estate market in 2016, the top city in the world was Toronto – followed by Victoria, BC.

The report’s Luxury Thermometer ranking is calculated by growth in US$1 million-plus sales in 2016 vs 2015, change in average number of days on market for $1 million-plus homes in 2016 vs 2015, change in average $1 million-plus sales price in 2016 over 2015 and change in the average home price for the entire market in 2016 over 2015 – among other factors.

Christie's International Thermometer
Source: Christie's Luxury Real Estate

Vancouver also did not appear in the top 15 most expensive cities when ranked by average cost per square foot of US$1 million-plus homes. That dubious honour went to Monaco, at US$5,420 per square foot – and there was a high proportion of resort cities on this chart.

Monaco was followed by Hong Kong, St Moritz, London, Cannes, Manhattan, Paris, Los Angeles, Stockholm, San Francisco, Zurich, Amsterdam, Kaui (on Maui, Hawaii), Santa Barbara and ending at #15 with Singapore at US$797 per square foot.

Although the $1 million benchmark was used for calculating market activity, Christie’s said that the new bar for super-prime real estate is now considered to be $100 million, with activity above that price range increasing in recent years.

To read the full report, download it for free by clicking here. 

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.