Real Estate

This is what $1 million will get you across the country

This home in Bedford, Nova Scotia is listed by Royal LePage for $964,900. It features 3,241 square feet, including five bedrooms and four bathrooms. (Royal LePage Atlantic, Listing Agent: Krista Jensen)

Owning a million dollar home can mean dramatically different things, depending on where you live in Canada.

Royal LePage released a report on Thursday analyzing million dollar properties (homes between $950,000 and $1,050,000) in Canada as of Dec. 2023. It found that, on average, $1 million would get you a home with 1,760 square feet of living space. That is essentially unchanged from what you could get in December of last year, when a million dollars fetched a home of 1,763 square feet of space.

But how far a million dollars will go depends on where you want to buy a home. Prospective buyers can get the most out of their money in Edmonton, where a million dollars will get you an average of 2,675 square feet. In Halifax, a million dollars will get you a home with an average of 2,543 square feet. On the other end of the affordability spectrum, Vancouver has the lowest square footage on average, with a million dollars getting you 900 square feet. In Toronto, one million dollars would get you an average of 1,218 square feet.

“Years ago, a $1 million budget could buy a generous amount of square footage and access to sought-after neighbourhoods in almost any market. Over time, however, we have watched the purchasing power of $1 million vary more widely between cities,” Royal LePage’s chief operating officer Karen Yolevski said in a news release.

“These days, this budget can buy a luxurious detached home in one location, or a two-bedroom condominium in another.”

Still, about two-thirds of Canadians (64 per cent) believe that $1 million in today’s real estate market is a reasonable budget to afford a home to meet their household needs, according to a Royal LePage survey conducted by Leger, while 22 per cent believe a million dollars is “not enough.” (Fourteen per cent of respondents say they did not know or preferred not to answer.) The number of respondents who believe a million dollars is “not enough” went up in Ontario and British Columbia, home to Canada’s hottest housing markets. In Ontario, 31 per cent of respondents say a budget of $1 million is not enough to meet household needs, while 45 per cent of those in B.C. say it’s insufficient.

While a million dollars will still get you a similar-sized home on average nationwide, the monthly payments for such a home have gone up due to higher interest rates, even as prices flatlined in 2023.

But that is expected to change in 2024, as economists widely expect that the central bank will begin cutting interest rates later this year. Yolevski says many buyers are expected to come off the sidelines as interest rates are cut.

“This increased activity will undoubtedly put upward pressure on property prices, perpetuating affordability challenges even as monthly carrying costs are reduced,” she said.

“Without a significant increase in supply, especially in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, the standard for a $1-million property will continue to evolve away from large homes.”

The Royal LePage-Leger survey was an online poll of 1,579 Canadians conducted between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28. There is no margin of error with the survey.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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