Homes on Vancouver's West Side drove sales in 2013

Sales of $1-million units were up in 2013, driven by single-family units on Vancouver’s west side

If someone benefited from the 2013 provincial election, it seems to have been B.C.’s luxury real estate agents.

Sales of homes priced upwards of $1 million increased 19 per cent in 2013 over the previous year, according to a report from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

After 19 months of declining sales, the luxury market began to see an uptick last May, leading to a strong second half of the year in which sales were 74 per cent higher in the same period in 2012.

“It’s pent up demand,” says Ross McCredie, president of SIRC, which commissioned the report. “People weren’t sure what was happening this time last year politically and the economic climate didn’t look good.”

Vancouver’s luxe condo and attached markets started slow in the first half of 2013, with sales static or declining compared to 2012. Condo sales strengthened in the summer, but lagged the strong rebound in sales of single family residences.

In his analysis, McCredie credits the re-election of the liberal government, ‘economic certainty’ and Vancouver’s continued desirability amongst out of province and foreign buyers. Moreover, he sees one clear takeaway in the 2013 numbers: “there’s no bubble and there’s no correction coming”

The report, which drew its numbers from local MLS boards, examined sales of residential units for more than $1-million in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

The Lower Mainland, despite its size, still dwarfs its Canadian counterparts in sales of million dollar homes: 2,505 units sold for $1-million in Vancouver and its suburbs–primarily West Vancouver–compared to 5,449 in the Greater Toronto Area, and 390 in Montreal.