Already hot before the pandemic, the local real estate market is still on fire, but buyers have different priorities now.
If Montreal’s real estate market was on fire at the beginning of this year, the pandemic has only fanned the flames. Yet in a reversal of the sales trends we saw last year, the hottest activity is now at the perimeter of the city.
Priorities have changed. The hustle and bustle of the city feels like danger, not excitement. The commute is now from bed to kitchen table. Everything keeps changing and nothing is predictable anymore.
According to Charles Brant, Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers director of market analysis, while there are some places on the island of Montreal where sales remain strong, downtown is showing signs of weakness. There’s a notable increase in new listings in the city and a shrinking pool of homes for sale off-island.
That doesn’t mean all buyers are fleeing the city. While condo sales in August were down 11 per cent in Ville-Marie compared with last year, realtors report a surge of interest in luxury property in the city, especially single-family homes.
Living through last spring’s lockdown gave many people a new appreciation for basements and backyards. Drive time and bridge construction no longer factor into the equation for those who have made a permanent transition to working from home, so Montrealers are more free to trade in their condos for bungalows. They are taking advantage of low interest rates to move into bigger homes with more room to work and play.
So which areas are hot and which are not? Let’s take a quick tour through the August sales statistics and see where we’re at this year compared with last.