This stunning Bearspaw Calgary Acreage Sold In 64 Days!!!  I am delighted to report that this sale broke a record in the area!  Congratulations to my client for trusting me with great marketing strategies so sell his home quickly.
Whether the transaction is in the entry-level price range, or in the ultra-luxury market, Steven Hill with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada will deliver a complete package of purchasing or sale expertise for your family’s entire real estate portfolio.
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Don't Blink!

The seller needed an honest, candid listing consultation. 

We put together a strategy that maximized everything we could; area, heritage, zoning.

An offer arrived on Day 9!

C/S in 13 Days and now SOLD!

In this market, you MUST choose wisely who represents you and the strategies you set in place.

Very happy to have been chosen to represent a real estate property in Bragg Creek.  With our family's outdoor wilderness passion and our love for Bragg Creek, Alberta, this sale hit all of us in the heart.

82 White Avenue in Bragg Creek sold by Sotheby's Associate Broker Steven Hill

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Welcome to 82 White Avenue, Bragg Creek

As the saying goes, "If you are lucky enough to have a place in the woods, you are lucky enough"

This is so very true for the hamlet of Bragg Creek.  Such an absolute favorite spot for my family and myself to recharge, we visit weekly.

To represent this gem of a property is an absolute delight.  Bordered on 2 sides by a municipal reserve, this .8 acre lot blends the ideal accessibility to all the renowned trails, outdoor life & boutique shops, with the beauty and rustic charm of a log home. Enjoy!

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Calgary Lake Bonaventure Luxury Home Sold By Calgary Realtor Steven Hill

1063 Lake Placid Drive


1063 Lake Placid Drive Calgary is now SOLD! 

Very pleased to have crossed the finish line for my sellers on this tremendously unique, trophy property!

This amazing lakeside luxury estate offered some of the rarest and most desirable real estate in the city. Facing Fish Creek Park and perched on one of the most sought after lakes anywhere. Presented in original condition with a total of 9372 total developed square feet, this home will surely be a trophy project and statement home for the lucky new owners. 

Sincere Congratulations to my clients, this was a truly extraordinary home to represent.

Steven Hill

Associate Broker

Sotheby's International Realty Canada

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Sotheby's International Realty Canada is teaming up with Liquidity Winery to send one lucky winner to British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley.

The Prize Package Includes

     -  $1000 Air Canada Gift Card
     - Two-Night Stay in the Executive Luxury Suite at Liquidity Winery...
     - Wine Tasting for 2 at Liquidity Winery
     - Dinner for 2 at Liquidity Winery.

Enter to win at: Good luck!

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Augmented Reality virtual staging - actual photos taken from my phone using the industry-first, ground breaking Curate app brought to you by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Really, really, really cool!
I tested it in the hallway entrance of Calgary's Sotheby's International Realty Canada and the results are amazing!
Which design do you like the best?
Augmented Reality virtual staging - actual photos taken from my phone using the industry-first, ground breaking Curate app brought to you by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Really, really, really cool!
@canada_sir @sothebysrealty #luxurycalgaryrealtor #virtualstagingonyourphone #associatebroker #stevenhillsothebys #stevenhillsirc #sircyyc
Augmented Reality virtual staging - actual photos taken from my phone using the industry-first, ground breaking Curate app brought to you by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Really, really, really cool!
@canada_sir @sothebysrealty #luxurycalgaryrealtor #virtualstagingonyourphone #associatebroker #stevenhillsothebys #stevenhillsirc #sircyyc
Augmented Reality virtual staging - actual photos taken from my phone using the industry-first, ground breaking Curate app brought to you by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Really, really, really cool!
@canada_sir @sothebysrealty #luxurycalgaryrealtor #virtualstagingonyourphone #associatebroker #stevenhillsothebys #stevenhillsirc #sircyyc
Augmented Reality virtual staging - actual photos taken from my phone using the industry-first, ground breaking Curate app brought to you by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Really, really, really cool!
@canada_sir @sothebysrealty #luxurycalgaryrealtor #virtualstagingonyourphone #associatebroker #stevenhillsothebys #stevenhillsirc #sircyyc

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It is with great pleausre to announce that this Calgary Tuscany Home at 153 Tuscany Hills Point is now sold.  Congratulations to the new buyers and to my seller.  This is a great home in a wonderful Calgary community.


Steven Hill

Associate Broker

Sotheby's International Realty Canada Calgary

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A new report released today by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada reveals the impact of rising interest rates, stricter mortgage lending guidelines, and recent housing policies and taxes on the country’s major metropolitan top-tier real estate markets during the first half of 2018. While the $1 million-plus Greater Toronto Area (GTA) market remained resilient and the Montreal market flourished, Vancouver and Calgary underwent severe adjustments.

In the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York), market confidence and top-tier sales activity renewed in the first half of 2018 as consumer psychology recovered from the April 2017 introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, particularly within the City of Toronto. Given unprecedented gains in the region’s $1 million-plus sales volume from 2015 to 2017, with surges of 56% in 2015 over 2014, 65% in 2016 over 2015, and 41% in the first half of 2017 over the first half of 2016, year-over-year comparisons of 2018 to 2017 sales activity mask the region’s market resilience. On the surface, $1 million-plus residential real estate sales fell 46% year-over-year in the first half of 2018, while sales over $4 million fell 51%. However, 2018 sales volume trended in line with 2015’s pre-surge levels: GTA $1 million-plus real estate sales in the first half of 2018 increased 25% from the number of units sold in the first half of 2015, while sales over $4 million were up 72%.

Following the Government of B.C.’s February 2018 implementation of a 30-point plan for housing affordability atop governmental policies and taxes implemented since 2016 to overcome the region’s affordability challenges, the City of Vancouver’s $1 million-plus single family home market saw a significant pullback in activity while the condominium and attached home markets remained resilient. Overall residential real estate sales over $1 million decreased 19% and $4 million-plus sales decreased 47% as consumer confidence and market engagement waned. While the top-tier condominium sector experienced 9% year-over-year gains, a dramatic slowdown took place in the single family home market, which entrenched into buyers’ territory as sales over $1 million and $4 million fell 36% and 55% respectively.

The City of Calgary’s top-tier market regressed in the first six months of 2018. Rising interest rates and the introduction of stricter federal mortgage rules that constrained the borrowing capacity of homebuyers had a disproportionate impact within a city still recovering from a severe economic downturn, setting back incremental gains made in 2017. Overall sales of $1 million-plus real estate decreased 11% year-over-year in the first six months of 2018, as rising supply and slowing absorption rates placed downward pressure on pricing.

Following 20% gains in $1 million-plus sales volume in 2017, the City of Montreal was the only major Canadian city to see year-over-year growth in sales over $1 million in the first half of 2018 with a 24% increase to hit new records. However, there were hints that this momentum will level off in the latter half of 2018.

“The collision of rising mortgage rates, stricter lending guidelines and cascading governmental policies and taxes have impacted the performance of several top-tier Canadian markets,” says Brad Henderson, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.  “While the Toronto top-tier market remained remarkably resilient in the first half of 2018, and Montreal continued to exude growth and confidence, the Vancouver and Calgary markets decelerated as consumer optimism and local purchasing power diminished.”

According to Henderson, erosion of homebuyers’ purchasing power, particularly in the market for real estate below the $2 million threshold, has rechanneled an additional cohort into the top-tier condominium and attached home markets in Toronto and Vancouver, elevating demand and sustaining price gains.

Canadian top-tier real estate market highlights included:


Following a 5% year-over-year contraction in top-tier real estate market activity in 2017 compared to 2016, $1 million-plus residential real estate sales (condominiums, attached homes, and single family homes) in the City of Vancouver slackened in the first six months of 2018.

  • Sales over $1 million decreased 19% year-over-year to 1,939 units in the first six months of the year, while $4 million-plus sales decreased 47% to 111 units.
  • While the city’s condominium market remained robust, Vancouver’s $1 million-plus detached home market saw a significant reduction in activity, a result of buyer uncertainty, wavering supply, and the consequences of governmental measures implemented since 2016 to curtail escalating prices.
  • New federal mortgage lending rules that limited borrowing capacity further eroded the accessibility of the conventional real estate market and the single family home market in particular, and cast shadows on consumer confidence.
  • As a result, $1 million-plus single family home sales decreased 36% to 885 homes sold in the first six months of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. Luxury sales over $4 million decreased 55% year-over-year to 86 units.
  • Demand was redirected into the already heated $1 million- plus condominium and attached home markets.  In the first half of 2018, $1 million-plus condo sales increased 9% to 708 homes sold compared to the same period last year.
  • The $4 million-plus segment exhibited year-over-year gains of 35% to 23 units sold.
  • Lack of attached home supply and constrained purchasing power amongst buyers resulted in a 3% decline of attached home sales in the first six months of 2018 to 346 homes sold.
  • Minimal activity took place in the $4 million-plus market where two attached homes sold in the first six months of 2018, compared to three in the same time period last year.


Calgary’s top-tier real estate market saw a regression in the first six months of 2018, following a glimmer of recovery experienced in 2017. The reversion was largely attributed to rising interest rates and the introduction of stricter federal mortgage rules that constrained borrowing capacity, which stalled progress in a city still recovering from a severe economic downturn.  With mounting supply and muted sales, downward price adjustments were common across the top-tier condo, attached, and single-family home markets.

  • Overall, $1 million-plus real estate sales (condominiums, attached homes, and single family homes) decreased 11% year-over-year to 350 units sold in the first half of 2018.
  • The $1 million-plus single family home market decreased 13%, with 304 homes sold in the first half of 2018, while attached home sales over $1 million dipped 24% year-over-year to 29 units sold.
  • In face of rising inventory and softening consumer demand, Calgary’s $1 million-plus condominium market remained quiet in the first half of 2018; 17 properties sold compared to six sold in 2017 during the same time period.


Top-tier real estate in the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York) reflected remarkable resilience in the first six months of 2018 as consumer confidence and market activity renewed following a lull after the April 2017 implementation of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.

  • The resurgence was masked by comparisons to unprecedented gains in the GTA’s $1 million-plus real estate market from 2015 to 2017. $1 million-plus residential real estate sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) increased 56% in 2015 over 2014, 65% in 2016 over 2015, then peaked 41% year-over-year at new records in the first half of 2017.
  • In contrast, during the first half of 2018, a total of 7,684 properties over $1 million sold in the GTA, a 46% year-over-year drop when compared to 2017’s historic highs, while luxury sales over $4 million declined 51% to 127 units sold.
  • In the City of Toronto, 3,526 properties sold over $1 million and 91 properties sold over $4 million during the first half of 2018, a decline of 32% and 52% respectively.
  • Despite declines relative to 2017, 2018 sales trended above 2015’s healthy market activity. GTA $1 million-plus real estate sales in the first half of 2018 increased 25% from the 6,152 units sold in the first half of 2015 while sales over $4 million were up 72%.
  • Compared to the same period of 2015, sales over $1 million in the City of Toronto were up 14% in the first half of 2018, while sales over $4 million were up 44%.
  • Compared to 2017’s historic highs, GTA $1 million-plus and $4 million-plus single family home sales decreased 49% and 52% year-over-year to 6,220 and 116 units respectively. Relative to strong, pre-peak $1 million-plus sales volume in the first half of 2015, GTA single family home sales over $1 million were up 13% while sales over $4 million were up 66%.
  • While $1 million-plus attached home sales volume fell 42% compared to 2017 levels, and $4 million-plus sales fell from three to two units sold, activity reflected limited inventory rather than soft demand. 57% of $1 million-plus attached homes sold above list price in the GTA after spending an average of 15 days on the market, the highest percentage of above-list sales and the shortest number of days on market for residential housing types in the $1 million-plus segment.
  • Similarly, while GTA condo sales over $1 million fell 13% in the first half of 2018 to 658 units and luxury condo sales over $4 million fell 40% to nine units, 31% of the sales took place above list price. Condo sales velocity stayed in line with the brisk pace experienced in the record-setting first half of 2017, at an average 25 days on the market.


Following market momentum in 2017 that drove $1 million-plus sales volume up 20% compared to 2016, top-tier sales in the City of Montreal continued at a strong tempo in the first half of 2018, hitting new records and outpacing gains in other major Canadian cities. The market has been driven by strong local demand, and has been undeterred by rising interest rates and new mortgage rules by Canada’s federal financial regulator. The city has also been sheltered from provincial and municipal cooling policies that have moderated sales in Toronto and Vancouver.

  • Overall $1 million-plus residential real estate sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) in Montreal experienced a 24% year-over-year increase in the first half of 2018 compared to the year prior, totalling 460 sales. $1 million-plus condominiums led in year-over-year percentage gains of all property categories as sales jumped 25% year-over-year to 81 condominiums sold.
  • Multiple bidding wars sparked amongst purchasers, as a result, 14% of $1 million-plus condominiums sold above list price. Montreal’s top-tier attached market surged throughout the first half of 2018, with sales over $1 million increasing 58% year-over-year to 171 units.
  • The single family home market saw a 5% increase from the first half of 2017, with 208 units sold in 2018 compared to 199 units sold the same year prior.


The information contained in this report references market data from MLS boards across Canada. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada cautions that MLS market data can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differentials within local markets. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada or Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates for any loss or damage resultant from any use of, reliance on, or reference to the contents of this document

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Coming Soon to the Calgary Real Estate Market is this very, very special Calgary Luxury Estate property.  Unbelievable location on Lake Bonaventure, massive size, impressive design and very well priced. 

Contact Me To Make Your Luxury Calgary Home The Next I Sell!

Steven Hill

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist


Associate Broker

Sotheby's International Realty Canada

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Very Honoured to be mentioned in the Globe and Mail Done Deals.

Representing this Strathcona home was awesome!

207 Strathearn Cres. SW, Calgary

Asking price: $480,000

Selling price: $480,000

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Taxes: $2,954 (2017)

Days on the market: Four

Listing agent: Steven Hill, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

The action: During the first few months of 2018, agent Steven Hill moved properties quickly in some areas, such as Strathcona Park, where he sold this two-storey house on a 30-foot lot within a few days mid-February.

“Calgary’s market right now is really soft, but this was in a sought-after area and it was priced correctly,” Mr. Hill said.

“This price point for this home is rare for this community. Usually, the homes are $100,000 to $300,000 higher, so for a family to get into Strathcona Park below $500,000 is really attractive.”

What they got: Just a few doors away from a ravine and park system that winds around the low-rise Strathcona Park neighbourhood, this 37-year-old house has its own outdoor retreat with a private backyard, large back deck and double garage.

Inside, there is 1,300 square feet of living space, including a kitchen, living and dining rooms with hardwood floors, as well as three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The 511-square-foot basement has recreation and hobby rooms.

The agent’s take: “It was a lovely small home in a desirable neighbourhood,” Mr. Hill said. “It’s connected to ravines and pathways, and it’s in a great location to get to downtown.”

To Read the article online:  CLICK Here! 

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in Canada is a thing of beauty. Craggy ski resort towns emerge from the snow, covered in wildflowers. Once–storm-swept beaches invite swimming, surfing, and summer bonfires. And snug cabins in the woods open their windows to birdsong and warm breezes rifling the trees. From the sparkling lakes of cottage country to the idyllic islands off the B.C. coast, there are plenty of stunning summer vacation spots to consider in Canada.

And while we all love the usual summer hot spots, don’t be afraid to explore further afield this season: many of the top destinations have hidden treasures next door. Venture off the beaten track for a truly Canadian adventure at one of these six destinations.

If You Love Whistler, Try Pemberton

Located 30 minutes north of the world-renowned ski resort town of Whistler, B.C., Pemberton is an outdoors-lover’s paradise. Hike to Nairn Falls just south of Pemberton, or head 30 minutes east on Highway 99 to appreciate the stunning turquoise waters of Joffre Lakes. If relaxation is more what you have in mind, spend a day basking on the white sands of Pemberton Beach. Golfers will appreciate the challenging 18 hole course at Big Sky Golf Course, one of the top 20 golf courses in Canada. In the evening, drive down to Whistler to stroll through the pedestrian village and enjoy world-class dining at AraxiThe Rimrock Cafe, or Alta Bistro.

Plan your dream summer escape with these sunny Pemberton acreages. Or set up nearby in these mountain-adjacent Whistler chalets.

Instead of Banff, Explore Canmore

Just five minutes from the east gate of UNESCO World Heritage Site Banff National Park, let yourself be impressed by the incredible Rocky Mountain scenery of Canmore, Alberta. Spend an afternoon on the greens at the Les Furber–designed Silvertip Golf Course, or exploring the colourful shops of the town’s Main Street, surrounded by snow-capped peaks—then enjoy pan-seared Arctic char or a forest mushroom pizza and a glass of Pinot Gris at top-ranked Crazyweed Kitchen, known for its excellent wine selection. Adventurous travellers might hike the Grassi Lakes Trail past two glacier lakes, take in the scenery from a saddle on a horseback ride, or try their hand at whitewater rafting on the Kananaskis River.

Find your launchpad to adventure in these impressive Canmore homes.

If You’re Looking for Wine Country, Try Small-Town Okanagan Valley

While many head to Kelowna in the warmer months to experience the best of the B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, there are a variety of smaller towns with just as much recreational appeal. In scenic Penticton, float the 7km Penticton River Channel in an inner tube, and sup on Greek fare at Theo’s in a town whose name means “a place to stay forever”. Or trek to Keremeos, a quiet village tucked in the heart of the Similkameen River Valley known as the Fruit Stand Capital of Canada. Swim or fish in the pristine waters of the Similkameen River, taste local wines at the Corcelettes Estate Winery or Clos du Soleil Winery, or appreciate the scenery (and the working 1877 waterwheel-powered flour mill) at the Grist Mill and Gardens.

Whether you’re establishing your own winery or dropping by for the growing season, watch this page for Keremeos listings, and explore your Okanagan property options.

If You Love Cottage Country, Holiday in Haliburton

Welcome to cottage country. Thought Ontario’s Muskoka Lakes is the more famous summer destination, nearby Haliburton is a perfect spot to relax and unwind. Sometimes called the Haliburton Highlands (and host to an annual Highland Games), the area is spotted with scenic lakes and springs, and bordered by Algonquin Provincial Park to the north. For the culturally inclined, there is no shortage of activities here: visit the Haliburton Sculpture Forest or try your hand at glassblowing, blacksmithing, jewellery-making, pottery, and more at Haliburton School of Art + Design. If your idea of relaxing means staying out of the kitchen, skip the dishes and enjoy excellent German-inspired fare at Rhubarb.

Find your own Haliburton waterfront retreat, or retreat to Muskoka to find a lake to float away on.

Instead of the California Coast, Trek Vancouver Island

With a slightly wilder feel than its Californian cousin, B.C.’s Vancouver Island coastline offers seaside riches to suit all road-trippers and surfers. Scan the seas for migrant orcas on the two-hour ferry ride from the mainland to Nanaimo, then head to the west coast of the island to explore Tofino, a world-renowned surf spot also known for its excellent dining (we suggest Wolf in the FogTacofino, or The Pointe Restaurant). The island is home to innumerable excellent wineries and cideries, top-quality spas and golf, and plenty of gorgeous parks for hiking, kayaking, or just relaxing and enjoying the view. Vancouver Island offers travellers this side of the border a taste of the chill life.

Nestle into one of these stunning Vancouver Island homes, and take your pick of local summer activities.

Instead of Europe, Discover Québec City

If your summer plans don’t include a jaunt to the continent, don’t despair—there’s always Québec City. The capital of Québec and a historical treasure trove, Québec City offers many summer splendours: take a walk in the European-like streets of Old Québec, and visit the Old Port Market for seasonal foodstuffs and icewine. Rent a bike and pedal to the Chute-Montmorency, where a cable car will take you to the top of the falls for a beautiful vista. With a summer season full of buskers and festivals, and an epicurean scene that includes Chez Boulay‘s Nordic cuisine and traditional French-Canadian fare at Chez Muffy, Québec City is the perfect summer destination for holidayers looking to add a splash of the city to their getaway.

Find your summer pied-à-terre in the sky with these Québec City condos.

Whether you’re looking to avoid crowds or simply try something new this summer, these six Canadian destinations offer something special to the intrepid traveller. Discovering the best of the country’s hidden gems and warm-weather excursions will have you making plans to stay all year.

Dreaming of the perfect Canadian vacation home? Get inspired with homes in cottage country, and investigate country living.

Photo Credits: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock Inc., Jon Marc Lyttle / Shutterstock Inc., Chase Clausen / Shutterstock Inc., Mack Male / Flickr, Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock Inc., JmjCarter2 / Shutterstock Inc., mervas / Shutterstock Inc.

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Delighted for both the buyer and seller of this fantastic Calgary Copperfield home.  With the right marketing and strategies, this Calgary home sold in 10 Days on Market.   CONGRATS to everyone!
If you would like the same results or are interested in learning more, please contact Steven Hill directly at
Steven Hill
Associate Broker
Sotheby's International Realty Canada | Calgary
direct: 403-863-6344
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Until now, luxury real estate buyers have found inspiration in properties with a sense of grandeur. Whether via a stately brownstone in a major city, a quiet retreat in cottage country, or a tropical paradise somewhere abroad, they’ve opted for spaciousness, for homes that mirror their success.

While equally invested in purchasing an uplifting pied-à-terre, the next generation of luxury real estate buyers is redefining the priorities of home ownership.

Now in their twenties and thirties, millennials make up the largest living demographic in North America. With the help of the impending wealth transfer from their baby boomer parents, millennials make up half of the 32% of Canadians who are likely to purchase a home in the next two years. The share of home sales to first-time buyers has hit a 17-year high.

But even the most affluent millennial home buyers entering the luxury real estate market aren’t looking for a 10,000-square-foot gated manor with a four-car garage and 16 bedrooms. That’s because, for today’s purchasers, experiences are more important than objects—and that penchant shines through in everything from the properties they prefer to their expectations about their relationship with their REALTOR®️.

An Experience, Not a Product

Emerging luxury real estate buyers think of a property as a journey rather than as a destination. In its 2017 study of the emerging luxury market, Sotheby’s International Realty found that while spending on personal goods has slowed among emerging buyers, spending on experiences—travel, evenings out, spa breaks—is on the rise. The perfect home is less about the things in it, and more about how it will fit into the buyer’s daily life, so listings that show how the property supports a lifestyle are more successful than those that simply reel off amenities.

A home with a large backyard isn’t just more land—it’s a place for picnics and birthday parties, for playing catch or daydreaming in the sun. And an updated bathroom isn’t just a feature to tick off, but a spa-like oasis for a relaxing bath after a long day at work.

Video footage, augmented reality, and top-quality photography all help establish a sense of possibility before a buyer even sets foot on the property.

And as in the past, location is critical—with a twist. Where past generations have moved away from urban centres in favour of room to recreate, millennials are making a return to city life. In most cases, a smaller home located in an interesting up-and-coming neighbourhood is more appealing to today’s buyers than a larger place in the suburbs. Walkability and charm are key.

Character Over Capacity

With the explosion of social media in recent years, storytelling has become a critical life skill. As a result, a property with a story to tell can be at least as appealing to buyers as a brand-new build. Did this loft building used to be a brewery in the 1920s? Was this house built by the founder of a local charity? A home becomes a part of the buyer’s personal narrative, so heritage status, interesting histories, and thoughtful architectural details are all selling points. So, of course, are pure aesthetics: an updated kitchen, original hardwood floors, and plenty of natural light all show well on Instagram.

A Personal Connection

Consumers today value authenticity, curation, and a personal touch. When they shop, they don’t just want a brand that makes good products—they want a brand that aligns with their vision and values, that understands who they are and what they want, and that evolves over time to stay fresh and relevant. Home buyers want the same thing out of a relationship with their real estate agent. A REALTOR®️ who takes the time to build a personal connection and develop a deep understanding of a client’s needs and tastes has a chance of staying with that client from their first apartment to their retirement vacation home.

A Home to Grow In

The cost of housing in Canada has increased much more rapidly than the average salary. The result is that even adults working lucrative white-collar jobs may not be able to afford the same kind of home they grew up in, especially in markets like Vancouver. Instead, millennials are looking for a home that can adapt and meet their needs over time. Basement or attic suites, extra bedrooms, and laneway houses all provide a way to make a home more affordable in the present while holding space to expand into as buyers’ income and affluence rises.

The next generation of luxury real estate buyers isn’t looking for a property—they’re looking for the next chapter in their life story. Where their predecessors were wooed by new windows and roofs, plenty of bedrooms, and multi-car garages, today’s luxury buyers are more interested in updated chef’s kitchens, exposed brick detailing, and backyard orchards. They crave personal connections, historical interest, and curated selections. To reach millennial buyers, real estate organizations need to support their priorities.

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Are you considering purchasing an investment property? The right piece of real estate is a great way to grow your financial portfolio while also potentially earning rental income. However, the recent introduction of a mandatory stress test to the mortgage qualification process means that certain buyers may need to reconsider their options.

What Is the Stress Test?

As of January 1, 2018, Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) instituted a stress test for all mortgages. In the past, stress tests have only been required for insured mortgages—those with a down payment of less than 20%. Now, a test will be required of all home buyers in Canada—including existing homeowners renewing their mortgages, should they choose to switch lenders.

In basic terms, the stress test means that buyers must qualify for a mortgage at a higher interest rate. That rate is the higher of:

As a buyer, you don’t actually have to pay the higher rate now, and you may not in future, either—you just have to qualify for the mortgage as laid out above. The idea behind the stress test is that if rates do rise, homeowners will still be able to afford their mortgage payments, and won’t be at risk of defaulting on their loan or losing their property.

The introduction of the stress test has changed the market, and should also change the way you think about your investment property.

You Will Qualify for a Smaller Mortgage

The stress test reduces the mortgage amount buyers will qualify for by approximately 18.5%. Meaning that if the investment property you’ve been considering is at the edge of your budget, you may face new challenges in making it a viable option. If you do still want to pursue a property in an aspirational price range, you’ll need to have a larger down payment in order to reduce the amount of the mortgage.

On the positive side, if worries about possible rate increases kept you on the fence about buying in the past, you can now buy with greater peace of mind. The stress test ensures that even if rates do go up, you’ll still be well-equipped to manage your mortgage payments.

The Pool of Buyers Is Smaller

It’s estimated that under the new terms, one in five potential buyers, or 20% of applying Canadians, will no longer qualify for their ideal mortgage. As a result, the competition for available homes is less intense than it has been in years past. If there’s an investment property you’ve had your eye on, now might be a good time to put in an offer. With fewer qualified buyers on the market, you have a much better chance of landing the property of your dreams without getting mired in a bidding war.

Rental Income Is Now a Key Part of Your Investment Strategy

As the criteria around home ownership shift, discerning buyers will want to consider rental opportunities when sourcing their next investment purchase. Rental income is an excellent way to ensure continued cash flow while you wait for your property to appreciate—and as more Canadians opt to rent, revenue from tenants becomes a reliable return on investment. If your property is in Vancouver, having a renter also means you won’t have to pay the Empty Homes Tax, a surcharge of 1% of the property’s assessed value based on the previous tax year.

OSFI’s introduction of a stress test for mortgage applicants protects homeowners from purchasing property outside their means. However, if qualifying for a mortgage is not a concern for you, this may be a good opportunity to purchase an investment property while rates are still low and high-end homes are available.

Have questions about how Canada’s stress test will affect your mortgage eligibility? Get in touch with Steven Hill at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, or set up a meeting with a mortgage broker at your local bank or credit union.

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.