The most important question in real estate – perhaps the only question in real estate – is “how much is it worth?”
Selling agents do their best to find the highest price for their clients, buying agents strategize to find the right home for the right price for their clients. In the end though, what the market will bear is the only real answer: what it actually transacts for ends the speculation about value and confers a final judgment.
Here’s a look at some of the highest sale prices achieved across some of our major cities in 2022. The rise in private listing for high-value homes complicates the question of whether this or that home is the most expensive sale of the year in a given area, but for homes listed on multiple listing services that sold as of Dec. 24, here are the big winners.
2883 POINT GREY RD.
Built in 2020, this modernist house is just a few doors away from Volunteer Park in Kitsilano, where Point Grey Road breaks and allows only bike-lane access to the eastern stretch of the sought-after “Golden Mile” of Vancouver real estate.
A minimalist stack of boxes in grey slopes down to a sculptural Corten steel alloy seawall shared by some of the neighbours, below which is the gravel beach and views of English Bay. “Beach house” means different things to different people, but this modernist four-bedroom structure (with a four-car garage) makes the most of its narrow 45-foot-wide lot. Concrete construction and metal cladding could be forbidding, but large windows and deep skylights pull in light that reflects off polished concrete floors and illuminates pale and grey wood cladding on some interior walls. The primary bedroom has a rear wall of windows that looks right across the water to West Vancouver and the mountains beyond.
The average detached home in Greater Vancouver cost $1,856,800 in November, 2022, which is down 1.7 per cent from the year before. That means 2883 Point Grey Rd., is only 11 times more expensive than the hypothetical average detached home, and it’s actually a bargain considering the initial asking price was north of $25-million.
2984 Trail’s End Lane
This bulky chalet is found in an enclave of massive mountain homes separated from Whistler Creekside by Big Timber Park. The building climbs down the mountain slope across three levels clad in wood with two large balconies offering vistas of the valley below and two patios, one with a fire pit and one with an in-ground hot tub and putting green on the lowest level.
It’s got its own elevator, eight bathrooms (six of them are ensuites for the six bedrooms), a gym better than most condo buildings and a primary bedroom suite that’s bigger many most one-bedroom apartments. The interior is modernist and filled with custom wood cabinetry.
According to real estate data site Zealty, the median selling price for Whistler is $3,350,000, which means this monster at Trail’s End is only five times more expensive. If you’re sad you missed out on this opportunity, listing agent Maggi Thornhill of Engel & Völkers Whistler has another half-dozen multi-million-dollar lodges for sale now.
925 Durham Ave. SW
According to the folks at Honestdoor.com (one of the few online real estate services that provides selling price data for Alberta real estate) 925 Durham Ave., is the most expensive Calgary sale of 2022, even if the price tag is below a previous sale for $9-million in 2017.
Alberta’s biggest city and the province’s business capital has long been known for boom-and-bust real estate values. Prices are currently on a modest upward trajectory, but the average detached home is still priced well below similar structures in Vancouver or Toronto.
The Durham home is not a heritage protected building, unlike next door’s Devenish Estate, even though the original structure was built in the same time period of 1910. There are some more recent additions and renovations at 925 but the main house’s red-brick exterior with Tudor styling touches along with some very generous interior spaces (the living room is a two-storey loft and there’s a connected and enclosed indoor pool off the main structure) lend it some grandeur. In 2006, a previous owner bought the lot to the south and added two detached garage/coach houses to make a five-car auto court, bringing the total interior space on the lot to 12,000 square feet.
30 Fifeshire Rd.
The most expensive house of the year sold through MLS was a Bridle Path-adjacent contemporary McMansion at 25 Country Lane: it sold for $19.8-million after 10 months on the market (below its list of $21-million). Frankly, it’s nowhere near as interesting as 30 Fifeshire Rd, a wildly over-styled confection of a mansion.
This house was a fairly typical North York suburban home in 2008 when it was purchased for $1.6-million by condominium developer Varoujan Lapoyan. This is an area that has seen a number of bungalow-to-mansion conversions but it seems Mr. Lapoyan’s ambitions weren’t merely to dramatically increase the square footage.
What Mr. Lapoyan built was a nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom pile that whips the spirit of French Baroque with over-the-top Miami gilt and marble in a kind of New Orleans City Hall meets Cartel-style opulence. If you watched the TV show Schitt’s Creek you might recognize it, it was the setting for the temple of clueless wealth the Rose family is forced to vacate when their financial fortunes turn south at the beginning of the series. One can easily imagine Johnny Rose in the golf simulator, Moira Rose riding the elevator to the indoor pool, and “ew David” in the sauna.
The house has some darker moments in its history: in 2012 a construction worker died from a fall while working on the house’s limestone balconies. Mr. Lapoyan’s company VHL was the contractor on the home and paid a $125,000 fine in 2013 after a justice of the peace concluded the scaffolding did not have proper guardrails to ensure safety of workers.
16 Chemin de Senneville, Senneville, Que.
None of the sales recorded by Montreal’s multiple listing service topped $10-million, but a couple of places came close.
The L-shaped mansion at 16 Chemin de Senneville is on the waterfront of Baie de Vaudreuil (the southern part of the Lake of Two Mountains) on the far western tip of the Island of Montreal in the town of Senneville. The lot is just under two acres but most of the value comes from the enormous home, which was rebuilt around an original 1875 structure. (By comparison, a nearby home on five acres sold for $50,000 less).
The home was designed by architect Remi Fortier for client Brian McManus, who was chief executive officer of lumber products company Stella-Jones Inc. for almost 20 years. Perhaps indicative of his professional background the home is chock-a-block with wood; Stella-Jones is known for making pressure treated lumber and rail ties and the huge beams of Douglas fir that are exposed indoors and out look chunky enough to be used for a railroad. Timber products are everywhere: sure the French oak floors, but also the garage doors, the kitchen island top, treads on floating steel stairs, on some rooms on the ceiling, a huge walkway above the great-room/kitchen, the shingle roof. Even the primary bedroom’s ensuite, which is in the rounded turret (featuring a round soaker tub in the centre of the space) has a sink vessel carved out of wood.
The rough-cut fieldstone walls are exposed in many parts of the interior, and almost the entire exterior cladding is stone (where its not barnboard siding), all of which adds up to a lakeside croft on steroids.