Housing frenzy, which consumed Vancouver and Toronto, shifts to Montreal

By: Jessica Mach on January 8, 2018

In Montreal, home sales are now growing at a faster rate than they are in Toronto.

2,781 home sales took place in the bilingual city in December 2017, up 10% when compared to December 2016, according to stats released by the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board on Monday.

In comparison, last Thursday, the Toronto Real Estate Board announced a 7.1% drop in home sales in December 2017 compared to December 2016. The drop is likely a result of regulations that were introduced at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels to cool the city’s expensive market.

As in Toronto, the type of housing that saw the biggest sales growth was condos, which saw a 35% year-over-year jump, followed by sales of plexes, which increased by 5%.

Also in keeping with Toronto is the fall in demand for detached houses. In Montreal, sales for this type of housing fell by 1%. However, the city has a comparatively low inventory of such houses, with many more duplexes and triplexes.

Overall, total housing sales increased even though fewer homes were on the market. As a matter of fact, December 2017 represents the 27th consecutive month in a row where the number of listings have decreased — falling 9% compared to December 2016.

Prices are also slightly up: the average price for a single-family home in Montreal was $305,000, a year-over-year increase of 2%. Condos, meanwhile, saw an 8% price jump in the same time frame, whereas the price of plexes grew by 3%.

All of this reflects higher demand in the city. According to a Stats Canada statement that was released last week, Quebec saw faster employment growth in 2017 than Ontario and Canada as a whole.

Montreal has also imposed less regulations on its housing markets than Toronto, which saw the introduction of a host of new rules in 2017, including a foreign buyer’s tax and Airbnb regulations. Some have pointed to foreign buyers as potentially inflating Montreal’s market given the restrictions in Toronto and Vancouver.

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