Sales of Edmonton luxury homes spike!!

Edmontonians have been snapping up some pricey real estate.

The sale of luxury homes jumped 164% during the first three months of the year in the Alberta capital, according to Re/Max figures released Monday — a sign officials say show consumer confidence is on the rise.

The highest priced house to sell during that time was a 4,500-square-foot dwelling in the west end that fetched $1.8 million, according to the brokerage.

The priciest condo went for $1.65 million in the upscale One River Park development on Saskatchewan Drive.

It’s a similar trend across the country.

“Recovery in the upper end has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice president with Re/Max of Western Canada.

“This segment of the market was hardest hit when the recession took hold — yet its comeback has been fast and furious.”

The brokerage defines a luxury home in Edmonton as having a value over $850,000.

Re-Max reports the sale of 37 homes in that category between January and March. Eighteen of those sold for over $1 million. That’s up from 14 luxury homes sold during the same period one year earlier.

Jon Hall, spokesman for the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said overall, 149 homes sold last year in Edmonton for over $800,000. That’s close to being on par for the 148 that changed hands in 2008, but far below the 252 that sold in 2007 — at the height of the housing boom, he said.

“The people that are going to buy a luxury home, they’re not watching the market,” said Hall. “When they find a house they like, they’re going to buy it.

“It’s not a matter financing or what the economy is doing or whatever.”

Across the country, the largest gains in the sale of top-end homes were reported in Kelowna, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton. Edmonton placed seventh.

Bill Briggs, who owns the Re/Max Real Estate Central Branch in Edmonton, said the luxury home sales still represent less than 1.5% of the overall marketplace.

“We’ve got to remember, we’re not becoming a Vancouver, Toronto or even a Calgary,” said Briggs.

He said in cities like Vancouver, foreign buyers are driving up prices, whereas in Edmonton, professionals and entrepreneurs are buying the pricier properties.

“But the good news is we are moving some of these upper-end properties, and I think that’s a direct indication of the confidence that people have in the situation we’re in economically.”

Sales of luxury homes were up 91% in Calgary, where 67 swanky properties sold in the first three months of 2010, according to Re/Max, compared to 35 a year earlier. Re/Max defines a luxury home in Calgary as a property with a price tag of over $1 million.

frank.landry@sunmedia.ca

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Michael Pino (Edmonton Luxury Properties), Re/Max Elite
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