Montreal real estate sales hit 9 year high for September, extending hot streak

Montreal real estate sales hit 9 year high for September, extending hot streak
Elena Trigiani and her husband, Thomas Poirier, stand in front of their new home Wednesday, July 18, 2018 in Montreal. Montreal's sizzling real estate market has spawned bidding wars, a common occurrence in recent years in the frenzied Toronto and Vancouver markets, but a rare phenomenon in Canada's second-largest city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL The Montreal real estate market is on a roll.

Residential sales rose eight per cent in September compared to the same month last year, with condominiums making up the bulk of the increase, according to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board.

The 3,220 home sales represent a nine-year high for the month of September.

The median price of single-family homes hit $336,000, up seven per cent year-over-year. Duplexes and similar multi-unit dwellings jumped six per cent to $504,000, while condos climbed four per cent to $263,000.

Sales have been increasing for 43 months straight, said real estate board president Nathalie Begin.

Mortgage stress tests and higher interest rates imposed over the past year haven’t dampened Montreal’s real estate market, even as sales have slowed in Vancouver and Toronto.

In Vancouver, year-over-year sales dropped from February through August. A 20 per cent foreign buyers’ tax, a heightened education tax on $3-million-plus properties and a proposed speculation tax have all put the brakes on home-buying, said Brad Henderson, chief executive of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

“It’s provincial intervention,” he said.

“There is also the fear for many buyers that the prices are maybe too high,” said Paul Cardinal, manager of market analysis at the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board. “This is a preoccupation that we don’t have in Montreal.”

There, strong migration, consumer confidence, economic growth and public infrastructure projects as well as low unemployment are fuelling the surge, he said.

“It’s a seller’s market.”

Rising interest rates could dull the spike, “but then again, it maybe has a counterintuitive effect,” Cardinal said.

“There are some other people who decided that it was the time _ now or never _ to buy a property, because now the interest rates are going up and prices are still going up, so if you wait six months or one year from now maybe you’ll pay more.”

Year-over-year condo sales leaped 23 per cent to 1,206 transactions in September.

“Before, people were getting condos because that was the only thing they felt they could afford. Now there’s a wider range of condo forms and values, so people are finding it more attractive,” Henderson said.

A broader range of buyers is fanning demand, including first-time homebuyers, young families, investors and people that are buying homes more appropriate for their needs.

Single-family home sales in September sat virtually unchanged at 1,660. Year-over-year sales of plexes nudged up one per cent to 349.