The Montreal real estate market has long been bucking the trend established by the other two major Canadian metropolises of Toronto and Vancouver. While these other two cities have long been characterized by wildly accelerating and volatile real estate markets, Montreal has instead painted a picture of long term stability with much more gradual changes emerging over time. The end of 2016 has proven no different, with only small – though still significant – shifts demonstrated when compared to 2015’s year end.
When examining the real estate industry, several different measures are used to assess pricing and how it compares to previous figures. Often, the most reliable measure is the Home Price Index Benchmark Price. When looking at the HPI for all of the Greater Montreal Area, we find that the benchmark price at the end of 2016 was $312,700. This was 3.3% higher than 2015, demonstrating the kind of gradual growth expected in Montreal. Compare this to the 21.05% and 17.80% year-over-year changes seen in Toronto and Vancouver respectively, and it becomes clear how the real estate trends in Montreal differ from those cities.
Moderate Sales Growth Seen in 2015 in Montreal
Sales were up in Montreal in 2016, but much like the pricing trends seen in the city the shifts were moderate. The total number of sales in December was 2,476, up 3% from the previous year. Over the year to date, 39,926 homes were sold in the city, a 5% annual increase. December sales of detached homes were up only 1% while condo sales stayed even at 722. It was the sales of plex units where the primary increase in sales figures was observed, with the 330 sales equaling the 21% increase of the previous year.
Listings Tightening Up Significantly in Montreal
While the other trends have stayed steady in Montreal, the listings in the city have dropped by a larger margin than the shift observed in other real estate statistics in Montreal. Active listings for the month of December totaled 25,672, a drop of 13% compared to the previous year. In terms of housing categories, the largest drop was seen in the single-family home segment which at 12,318 listings was down 18% compared to last year.
The start of 2017 will be carefully observed by those involved in real estate in Montreal. The tightening of listings could be an independent phenomenon, or it could be increasingly tied to future shifts in the Montreal market.
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