According to the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB), condo sales were up three per cent in February, compared to the year-ago period. That increase in sales, paired with a one per cent rise in single detached homes, offset a 19 per cent drop in plex sales in the city – the first such drop in five months.
“A lot of people are getting older so they want to downsize,” Annelie Tourville, a broker in Montreal, tells REP. “And there’s the fact there are fewer condo projects last year compared to this year. Instead of starting new condos, [developers] want to sell what they already have.”
Despite a two per cent increase in median price, Tourville says condos remain an attractive choice for homebuyers, particularly those first entering the market, because of their low cost - $230,000 in February. That increase, however, was in-line with price hikes for single-family homes and plexes, which were up two per cent, to rest at $280,000 for detached properties and $430,000 for plexes last month.
The GMREB reported a total of 3,281 property sales in February, which were flat against the year-ago period but represent a nearly 69.6 per cent increase over January sales. Those January numbers were five per cent lower than they were a year ago.
“In early 2015, similar to what we saw in the last months of last year, the areas of the Island of Montréal and the South Shore are much more dynamic," said Diane Ménard, vice president of the GMREB board of directors. “For January and February, the Island of Montréal (+1 per cent) and the South Shore (+2 per cent) were the two areas to post a growth in sales."
Indeed, the south-central parts of the region were able to offset massive decreases in the less-populated North Shore and Vaudreuil-Solanges, which reported sales declines of nine per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, over the year-ago period. The Island of Montréal, Laval and the South Shore posted year-over-year sales increases of eight per cent, three per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Listings were also up at the end of February, rising to five per cent higher than in the same month last year, and up 8.5 per cent from January. Last month, though, Ménard said the board is enthusiastic that low interest rates will give the market a much-needed boost come spring.
“Fortunately,” she said, “the recent drop in interest rates could reinvigorate the real estate market in the coming months.”
The aging baby boomer population is proving its force in the market, driving the Montréal condo sector to lead the region’s growth.