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Demand for luxury properties priced at more than $5 million increased in 2015, says luxury realtor Barry Cohen. As a result, home sales climbed 108% to 77 units in 2015, up from 37 in 2014, he adds.

Overall, says Cohen, “2015 was a banner year for real estate activity across the board. And, nowhere was that more evident than in the upper end.” Also, he notes, “Tight market conditions prevailed throughout much of the year, with fewer ultra high-end listings coming to market […] Pent-up demand is expected to carry over into 2016.”

The vast majority of GTA luxury sales occurred in the Bridle Path-Sunnybrook area, which reported 43% of last year’s high-end sales. Following that, 16% of such sales occurred in Forest Hill South. Meanwhile, listings were scarce in upscale neighbourhoods in close proximity to the downtown core.

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“Given that this segment of the market is typically the first to soften in volatile economic times, it’s surprising that the strength of the high-end has continued,” says Cohen. It seems “recent turbulence in the stock market has prompted renewed interest in other tangible real estate assets, such as second homes and development properties.”

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Also, the strength of the U.S. dollar is expected to bolster demand for luxury real estate in the GTA in 2016, as international purchasers take advantage of the currency exchange. Location and education are the primary drivers for such, says Cohen, who notes Toronto is considered a safe haven for investment.

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For the most part, purchasers in 2015 were local entrepreneurs, business executives and professionals, but foreign investors also factored into the mix,” says Cohen.  “Buyers from Mainland China, in particular, should play an even greater role in the top end of the GTA’s luxury market in the next six to 12 months.”

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Originally published on Advisor.ca

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