The differences between how home prices have appreciated in various cities and towns across Canada have contributed to a wide variety of the types of properties that a prospective homebuyer can buy with $1 million, according to Royal LePage, Canada’s leading real estate services provider.
 
A $1 million price tag used to mean living in the lap of luxury. In some housing markets it still can, and is out of the reach of many residents. In other markets, however, it pretty much equates to an entry-level residence, and in still other markets, it runs the gamut of everything in between.
 
“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.”
 
A $1 million home’s location, size, proximity to amenities and current condition ranked as the top four factors that influenced its pricing, not unlike homes in other price ranges. However, together, these four characteristics varied considerably from region to region, with Canada’s two hottest markets – Toronto and Vancouver – offering smaller, more dated two-storey “starter” homes in this price point compared to larger, luxurious mansions elsewhere. While the average number of bedrooms and bathrooms typically found in a $1 million dollar home did not differ by region as materially as the aforementioned four factors, there were other noticeable differences between certain regions.
 
“What used to be considered a luxury price point is now the status quo in Canada’s two hottest markets,” Usher said. “Once carrying significant purchasing power, $1 million is now either below or on par with the price of an average two-storey home in Toronto and Greater Vancouver. Now, instead of a fully upgraded three bedroom, three bathroom two-storey property in prestigious neighbourhoods like Rosedale or West Vancouver, you’re getting a much smaller two or three bedroom, two bathroom property in need of renovation in a less sought-after location.”
 
In January, 2017, a $1 million home in the City of Vancouver had an average of 2.6 bedrooms and 2.1 bathrooms, while on the east coast, a $1 million home in Halifax had an average of 3.1 bedrooms and 3.8 bathrooms. In Central Canada, a $1 million home averaged of 3.4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in the City of Toronto, while purchasing a $1 million home in Winnipeg delivered an average of 4.1 bedrooms and 4.0 bathrooms – the most for your money in all of the cities included in the report.
 
Of the seven cities studied across Canada – including Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax – Winnipeg provided the most living space overall, with $1 million fetching on average, a 3,505 sq. ft. luxury home in a desirable neighbourhood. In terms of size, $1 million in Saskatoon secured the largest lot size of all regions, with an average of 65,838 sq. ft. Vancouver, on the other hand, offered prospective homebuyers the least amount of home for $1 million, with an average of 1,229 sq. ft. on a 3,134 sq. ft. lot.
 
When looking at inventory levels and sales activity, $1 million properties and transactions have been more prevalent in highly sought-after markets where greater demand has pushed home values higher. As a result, this has led these regions to experience a weakening in the overall value received for $1 million when compared to other areas across the nation that are less constrained by supply and demand.
 
While smaller, regional markets have continued to maintain their value over the last decade, 10 years ago prospective homeowners in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas were able to purchase fully-renovated homes in desirable neighbourhoods with considerably more space for $1 million.
 
“Significant value can still be found in the suburbs or city-centres like Saskatoon and Montreal, where homes are more affordable, landing you substantially more home with better features as a result,” Usher said.
 
The people buying $1 million homes looked different from region to region as well. In the $1 million two-storey property segment in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, some buyers were developers, while some were – perhaps somewhat surprisingly – first-time home buyers. In other areas of Canada, wealthy young to middle-aged professional couples with children were the predominant purchasers.
 
 
Aggregate and regional $1 million two-storey home attributes*

 

Region

Year

Bedrooms

Bathrooms

Living Area

Lot Size

Canada

2007

3.9

3.3

2,860 sq. ft.

26,684 sq. ft.

2016

3.8

3.0

2,454 sq. ft.

23,226 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.8

2.9

2,436 sq. ft.

22,624 sq. ft.

Greater Vancouver

2007

4.0

3.4

2,664 sq. ft.

16,429 sq. ft.

2016

3.8

2.9

2,175 sq. ft.

8,402 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.7

2.9

2,166 sq. ft.

8,149 sq. ft.

Greater Toronto Area

2007

4.0

3.4

2,843 sq. ft.

17,170 sq. ft.

2016

3.8

2.9

2,387 sq. ft.

8,336 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.8

2.9

2,363 sq. ft.

8,168 sq. ft.

Greater Montreal Area

2007

5.8

5.9

5,429 sq. ft.

12,756 sq. ft.

2016

4.1

2.8

2,732 sq. ft.

13,058 sq. ft.

January 2017

4.1

2.8

2,758 sq. ft.

13,040 sq. ft.

Vancouver

2007

3.5

2.6

1,846 sq. ft.

4,798 sq. ft.

2016

2.6

2.1

1,241 sq. ft.

3,134 sq. ft.

January 2017

2.6

2.1

1,229 sq. ft.

3,134 sq. ft.

Calgary

2007

3.3

2.6

2,513 sq. ft.

6,897 sq. ft.

2016

3.4

2.8

2,492 sq. ft.

7,129 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.3

2.8

2,477 sq. ft.

7,004 sq. ft.

Saskatoon

2008*

4.0

3.3

3,117 sq. ft.

6,250 sq. ft.

2016

3.1

2.6

2,775 sq. ft.

71,767 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.2

2.7

2,829 sq. ft.

65,838 sq. ft.

Winnipeg

2007

4.3

4.2

4,400 sq. ft.

65,838 sq. ft.

2016

4.3

3.8

3,385 sq. ft.

65,838 sq. ft.

January 2017

4.1

4.0

3,505 sq. ft.

13,453 sq. ft.

Toronto

2007

3.9

3.4

2,664 sq. ft.

5,669 sq. ft.

2016

3.5

2.5

1,747 sq. ft.

3,744 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.4

2.5

1,722 sq. ft.

3,731 sq. ft.

Montreal

2007

4.5

2.3

2,984 sq. ft.

3,986 sq. ft.

2016

4.0

2.6

2,585 sq. ft.

5,361 sq. ft.

January 2017

4.0

2.6

2,585 sq. ft.

5,361 sq. ft.

Halifax

2007

3.3

2.5

3,154 sq. ft.

23,144 sq. ft.

2016

2.8

2.7

2,945 sq. ft.

55,582 sq. ft.

January 2017

3.1

3.8

3,316 sq. ft.

43,521 sq. ft.


*Powered by Brookfield RPS
**Limited sample size skewed 2007 Saskatoon data

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