Vancouver's market for single-family detached houses is getting so pricey that even Toronto seems like a bargain.
Amid the skyrocketing prices in Vancouver, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. devised what the industry calls "comparables" to highlight the growing gap between Canada's two most expensive real estate markets.
Despite the differences in property features, the examples are meant to symbolize how housing prices in Vancouver are generally more expensive than in Toronto. In September, the price of a detached home in Vancouver averaged $2.2-million, compared with $1.05-million in Toronto.
A four-bedroom detached home in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood on Vancouver's west side is listed at $3.17-million. The asking price in Toronto's Forest Hill area is $1.85-million for a four-bedroom house on a larger lot but busier street. Each higher-end property is located less than eight kilometres from their respective downtown cores.
The Vancouver home (including a laneway house in the back) sold Wednesday for $3.1-million and the Toronto listing (including an attached garage) is also expected to sell close to the asking price.
The new house in Kerrisdale is on a lot measuring 33 feet by 119.2 feet. Before construction, the property last sold for $1.49-million in June, 2013. Its history is marked by a series of sales, including changing hands for $682,000 in 2004 and $885,500 in 2006. The 74-year-old Forest Hill home is on a lot that is 53.5 feet by 105 feet. The property, which last sold for $530,000 in 1993, underwent recent renovations.
Robyn Adamache, CMHC's senior market analyst for Metro Vancouver, also compared two relatively modest houses, each with four bedrooms and on similar-sized lots. In Vancouver's Commercial Drive neighbourhood, the detached home is listed at $1.19-million, versus a similar property in the Danforth district in Toronto at about $750,000.
In the suburbs, however, a three-bedroom detached home in Whitby in the Greater Toronto Area is listed for $539,000, compared with a property at $495,000 in Maple Ridge in suburban Vancouver, according to another CMHC example.
Ms. Adamache said prices in the Vancouver region have risen amid low interest rates, a healthy economy and reduced listings.
While some observers say buyers from China have been the major force behind escalating prices for detached properties on Vancouver's west side, Ms. Adamache played down that angle and the potential ripple effects on Metro Vancouver. "That is not going to have a huge impact on the overall Vancouver market. Now, in some particular neighbourhoods of single-family homes and in some particular condo buildings, we will see a larger impact perhaps," she said.
On Thursday, the Toronto Real Estate Board will release its October statistics. In September, prices for detached houses sold in the 416 area code averaged $1.05-million, up 10.7 per cent over the past year. The figures are lower when factoring both the city and suburbs, with the Greater Toronto Area's detached houses selling for an average of $819,853 in September, up 11.2 per cent .
The average price for detached houses in Greater Vancouver hit a new high of $1.58-million in October, up 26.7 per cent from the same month last year.
On Tuesday, fresh data on detached houses showed record prices in a wide range of areas in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.