Montreal’s luxury market outpacing conventional market

by Neil Sharma on 31 Mar 2021

Montreal was hit with the strictest COVID-19 lockdown measures of any major Canadian city, but that didn’t soften its luxury and ultra-luxury real estate markets, according to a Sotheby’s International Realty Canada report, which demonstrated they have outperformed even the city’s conventional housing market.

Sotheby’s, therefore, anticipates a torrid spring season in Montreal’s high-end housing market, which would build upon 4% gains seen through the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. In fact, demand pulling ahead of supply caused fierce bidding wars and pushed the median price of single-family homes, condos and multi-family abodes up by 25%, 21%, and 11%, respectively.

“Overall, residential real estate sales over $1 million (condominiums, attached and single-family homes) increased 27% year-over-year to 237 properties sold in the first two months of the year. Although $1–2 million sales increased a healthy 23% to 190 properties sold, these gains were eclipsed by sales activity in the segment between $2–4 million, which surged 55% to 45 properties sold in the first two months of the year,” said the Sotheby’s report.

“Two properties sold over $4 million compared to three properties sold in this price range within the first two months of 2020. Of these, one ultra-luxury property sold over $10 million on MLS where there had been no transactions in this price range at the same time last year. The sale of the penthouse condominium listed at $12.9 million at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Montreal by Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec set a new benchmark as the highest recorded condominium sale through the MLS in Quebec’s history.”

Like in Toronto and Vancouver, the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for Montrealers’ decisions to upgrade their living spaces, and abetted by the Bank of Canada’s decision to drop interest rates, sales in the $1 million-plus category rose by 30% year-over-year through the first two months of the year, while transactions in the $1-2 million and $2-4 million categories respectively rose by 25% and 59% to 76 and 27 home sold.

Before the pandemic, the $1 million-plus condo market in Montreal was steady and strong before sales suddenly surged by 92% through the first two months of 2021 compared to the same two-month period in 2020, reaching 50 sales. Although demand cooled upon the onset of the pandemic last year, the market roared back to close 2020, and its scorching pace has continued into 2021.

“Condominium sales over $1 million remained steady from 2020’s record highs in the first two months of 2021, with 48 units sold, down a nominal 4% from 50 units sold during the same period last year,” said Sotheby’s report. “Sales between $1–2 million comprised the bulk of activity and were consistent with the previous year’s levels, with 41 units sold in January and February 2021 compared to 42 sales during the same months of 2020. $2–4 million condo sales also remained steady with six units sold in the first two months of 2021 compared to seven in 2020; likewise, $4 million-plus sales remained consistent from the previous year’s levels at one unit sold.”

To elucidate the gusto with which luxury properties in Montreal are being bought, Patrice Groleau, licensed partner at Engel & Völkers Montreal, says his brokerage gifts bottles of Dom Perignon to clients and he’s been ordering bottles by the hundreds.

“For us, it’s our best first two months of the year ever. We have an agreement with Don Perignon and I’ve never given away so many bottles,” Groleau told CREW. “One of our clients is an investment fund from Belgium that has $3.5 million to invest in Montreal, and they’re buying real estate because they see Montreal going through the same pattern as Toronto and London.”

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