Following years of political uncertainty that reverberated through Montréal’s real estate market, renewed confidence following the provincial election of a Liberal majority government in the spring of 2014 led to an upswing in the city’s top-tier real estate market. Since then, the market has reflected consistent gains and relative stability.
We sat down with Sylvain Thibault, managing broker of Sotheby’s International Realty Québec to discuss the state of the top-tier real estate market heading into fall 2016.
The Montréal real estate market has maintained a healthy balance over the past few years, especially compared to markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, which have both seen radical sales and price gains. How has the city performed so far this year, particularly in the luxury segment?
One of Montréal’s greatest strengths is that the real estate market has maintained a healthy and consistent pace of growth over the past few years. We have not seen the sudden spikes in housing prices that cities like Vancouver and Toronto have, and this is a positive thing.
It would be a mistake to think that a stable market is a sleepy one. Montréal’s top-tier real estate market has seen increased activity. In the first half of 2016, real estate sales over $1 million went up by 16 per cent – single family home sales only saw a slight year-over-year increase in units sold, but attached home sales over $1 million were up 13 per cent and sales of condos were up 23 per cent. We had a strong summer market as well, and this bodes well for a healthy fall.
How have real estate prices in Montréal been tracking against the rest of the country?
Compared to other major Canadian cities, Montréal’s real estate prices have been more favourable for homebuyers and investors. The average benchmark price for residential real estate in Toronto is up 13 per cent to $682,000 compared to last year, and in Vancouver, it shot up over 30 per cent to over $986,000 on the city’s east-side and to over $1.2 million on the city’s more affluent west-side. Here in Montréal, the median selling price on the Island of Montréal is just over $400,000. It’s not just conventional homes that are more affordable; homebuyers are also able to access the luxury housing market more easily in Montréal.
The average prices for a single family home in some of our most prestigious neighbourhoods like Westmount and Outremont are in the $1.7 million/ $1.8 million range. In Toronto luxury neighbourhoods such as Forest Hill and Rosedale, average prices are closer to $2.5 and $3 million, and in Vancouver luxury neighbourhoods like Kerrisdale, prices are well over $4 million.
Montréal’s single-family home market has been quite balanced, but several market analysts have noted that with the city’s recent condo boom, the volume of new units on the market is outpacing demand, especially in the luxury segment. Is that the case?
Condos have not claimed as large a portion of the real estate market in Montréal than in other major Canadian cities. In the first half of 2016, we saw the number of condo sales over $1 million increase over 20% – but this was to just over 40 condos, which is a very small segment of luxury sales overall.
To date, the number of condos that have come onto the market have been absorbed by consumer demand. In the coming months, as new real estate projects complete and brand new condos come onto the market, we expect that the additional inventory will have an impact on prices. Buyers will have more choices and negotiating power, and we will not be surprised if prices shift down.
What insight can you provide on how the top- tier Montréal market will perform this fall?
The Montréal market has experienced consistent gains so far in 2016– and its steady performance is actually one of its greatest strengths. There is every indication that this healthy growth will keep pace into the fall.
*This Article First Appeared in the Fall 2016 Issue of INSIGHT: The Art of Living