Montreal has become a favourite of luxury real estate purchasers, and given the city’s beautiful, and in places European, streetscapes, it’s not hard to understand why.
But according to Amy Assaad, a broker with Royal LePage Du Cartier, there’s a more pragmatic reason luxury buyers, whether local, national or international, are flocking to Montreal.
“Assets here keep going up in value, and the luxury areas in particular don’t see declines. In fact, the luxury areas are seeing 10% annual increases,” she said. “There’s a strong cultural aspect to the city that people really enjoy too, and the city is very affordable compared to Vancouver and Toronto, but it offers as much as those two cities, and in some cases more.”
Montreal is known for its restaurant culture and nightlife, but there’s a different dimension to the city these days, having emerged relatively unscathed from decades of cessation threats, including two failed referendums initiated by sovereignists. Quebec’s political stability has suffused Montreal’s economy with confidence—although the unemployment rate rose as a consequence of the pandemic, it was as low as 6.4% in February 2018—and that’s reflected in the city’s real estate sales. Assaad’s team has completed nearly $171 million in transactions just in 2021 alone.
“We’ve sold over 30 luxury properties this year,” said Assaad. “One important aspect to living in Montreal is most places are no more than 10 km away from the downtown core. Westmount is less than a six-minute drive, the Golden Square Mile is less than two minutes away, but Outremont and Westmount, where most of the important luxury properties are located, are each just a stone’s throw away from downtown.”
Montreal real estate is a propitious investment for savvy international buyers who have realized that properties in the city are following the same trajectories as Vancouver and Toronto, but they’re still comparatively affordable.
“International buyers come from major cities worldwide that have already seen huge increases in pricing over the last year. If you’re a buyer from London or Paris or another major European city, you know that Montreal real estate is going to appreciate,” said Patrice Groleau, owner of McGill Real Estate and owner of Engel & Völkers’ rights to the Quebec market. Engel & Völkers recently reported that international buyers of luxury real estate have a preference for the French Canadian metropolis. Groleau added that one reason Montreal is attractive to them is, unlike Vancouver and Toronto, which respectively have 20% and 15% foreign buyer taxes, they actually settle in the city.
“The problem with Vancouver is that almost all foreign buyers there are taking money out of their countries and putting it in the city’s real estate, and in Toronto it’s about a 50:50 ratio,” said Groleau. “But in Montreal, people are moving here, and even if they enforce a foreign buyer tax in the city, that won’t solve anything because as soon as you have your residency you won’t have to pay the tax. You don’t see empty homes in Montreal, but when you go to Vancouver, you see no lights on in the towers at night because those units are just being used to protect money.”