Montreal’s residential real estate market shrank for a second straight month in May, though prices continued to climb despite the health-related lockdown.
Residential property sales in the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area tumbled 41 per cent last month, with 3,286 transactions recorded, according to data released Friday by the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers. Prices for single-family homes, multi-dwelling properties and condominiums all advanced.
May’s sales decline comes on the heels of a 68-per-cent plunge in April, which broke a string of 61 consecutive monthly increases. The figures are based on the real-estate brokers’ Centris provincial database.
Montreal has emerged as the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for about half of all Quebec cases. Quebec itself is the hardest-hit Canadian province.
All six areas in greater Montreal recorded fewer property sales last month. Laval and the Island of Montreal bore the brunt of the slowdown, with sales drops of 49 per cent and 51 per cent respectively. Sales fell 16 per cent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which remains the area least affected by the pandemic.
Declines were slowed by the Quebec government’s decision to allow real estate brokers to resume activities May 11 in quasi-normal conditions. The move “clearly had an impact on the gradual recovery of market activity,” the association said.
After two months of lockdown, economic activity in the province began showing signs of life last month. Quebec gradually reopened sections of the economy, with manufacturing and public construction projects restarting May 11. Montreal-area retailers were allowed to resume operations May 25.
Data show the median price of single-family homes in greater Montreal climbed 9 per cent last month from May 2019, reaching $370,000. Plexes, which comprise two to five dwellings, sold for a median price of $597,750, an 8-per-cent increase. Condominium prices also rose 8 per cent, reaching $280,000.
Active property listings fell 31 per cent in May to 13,650, an improvement from the 38-per-cent reduction recorded in April. New listings dropped 21 per cent, compared with a 71-per-cent plunge in April. “This means that the delay in listing properties is diminishing considerably,” the association said.