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Montreal riding a wave

Montreal has been riding a wave these last couple of years and it will continue through 2019.

According to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s President and CEO Brad Henderson, Montreal is replete with positive dynamics that should allow the city’s real estate market to scorch through next year.

“It’s a positive market that has shown positive dynamics with year-over-year growth in volume and modest increases in price,” said Henderson. “It’s been a market that’s been remarkably stable over the last number of years because of a good balance of supply and demand, having an easier time adding stock to the marketplace compared to Toronto and Vancouver, and that heretofore hasn’t been subject to vast buying and speculation by either international buyers or locals trying to capitalize on the hot market.

“The fundamentals going into next year will be positive, and we should expect more of what we saw in 2018.”

However, the same cannot be said for Vancouver, Canada’s priciest real estate market.

“Vancouver has slowed down based on concerns of government intervention and a shortage of inventory, so people are on the sidelines and there’s a mismatch between buyers’ and sellers’ expectations on price, and activity level has slowed down,” said Henderson. “Product stays on the market longer and sells at a discount of what it would have been at the end, even the beginning, of 2017.”

Toronto, buoyed by population growth and robust employment prospects, will be a strong, if unremarkable, market. Activity is being hampered by supply failing to keep pace with demand, and given the exorbitant price points throughout the largest metropolitan region in the country, qualifying for a new home under the B-20 mortgage stress test is proving insurmountable for many of the city’s residents.

“It, too, is suffering from lack of inventory because people are afraid that if they sell their house they won’t be able to find anything else,” said Henderson.

Condominiums are largely behind Montreal’s ascent as the hottest real estate market in the country, and Henderson credits their relatively quick delivery to market as one reason. They also allow people to live within the vibrant city core.
Marie Champagne, a sales agent at Engel & Völkers Montreal, notes that the largest city in Quebec is routinely on lists of the world’s most livable cities. Not only is it engaged in a constant tug of war with Boston as having North America’s most students per capita, it’s appealing to millennials for both its vibrancy and its affordability.

“It has access to housing and excellent transportation,” she said. “The city isn’t too big, so it’s easy to get around. The food is great, and it has that ‘cool factor’ because of the nightlife, festivals and culture. Quality of life is really important for Montrealers; they need balance between work and family. The city is also very tolerant for immigration, gender equality and LGBT rights. That makes us attractive.”

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