How Toronto became the world’s hottest luxury home market

Prices are rising faster than anywhere else, and Toronto luxury homes are selling faster than in New York, Paris or London

Muskoka cottage with float plane parked out front

A cottage on Lake Joseph in Muskoka. International luxury real estate buyers are flocking to the area, with one property recently listing at $20 million. (James MacDonald/Bloomberg/Getty)

Admit it. Every time there’s a global ranking you instinctively run down the list looking for something to brag about. Lately, if you live in Toronto, there’s been plenty to brag about.

You can add a new one to the list: the world’s hottest luxury real estate market. According to Christie’s International Real Estate, the luxury real estate arm of the global art auction house, the market for luxury properties (especially ultra-tony Muskoka cottages accessible by float plane) grew by 37% last year (registration required), eclipsing London, England for the top spot.

Christie’s report is chock-a-block with brag-worthy facts.

A luxury home in Toronto starts at $3 million, versus $5 million in New York. Both of which make Durban, South Africa look like a bargain at $750K:

Map of the world’s luxury real estate markets

Sales of Luxury properties grew by 37% in 2014, whereas sales shrank by almost 20% in Dubai:

Chart showing luxury property sales by country


It takes an average of 31 days to sell a luxury home in Toronto, versus 165 in London (and 262 in Chicago!):

Chart showing how long it takes to sell a luxury property in various cities

It’s that last fact that put Toronto ahead of other markets, where homes regularly sell for much larger sums. But what’s driving this trend? Well, it’s most likely foreign interest and our struggling dollar. The loonie has dropped 12% in the last year compared to the U.S. dollar. “The Asian, European, and American market has definitely taken notice of the Muskoka area—they haven’t really been around that market and now they see value as an investment,” Badger Storey, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Port Carling, Ont., told Bloomberg this week. (Love the incredulous headline: Canada Has a Hamptons and It’s Booming.)

So yeah, Muskoka mansions are flying off the shelves. But probably not because you or I am buying them. Still, it might be a good time to set up a float plane share service or even an artisanal lemonade stand at the dock.