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Varying market conditions across Quebec: Montreal cools, Quebec City heats up

Last month, the Quebec City Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) had its third-best October in 23 years. This meant tight market conditions in a sellers’ market, with high prices and the lowest level of listings in 15 years.

On the other hand, the Montreal CMA saw its second-lowest transaction level for October in 23 years.

 

Quebec City CMA

 

The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) reports the CMA saw 729 sales, an increase of 89 transactions which is up 14 per cent from the same time last year.

“The Quebec City market continues to impress with its imperviousness to national bad news. This resilience is based on the robustness of the region’s economy, but also on property prices which, in addition to their enviable position compared to other major markets, are experiencing more gradual growth,” notes Charles Brant, QPAREB market analysis director, in a release.

“However, the situation could change if prices continue to increase at the same pace in the coming months. As in any market that presents problems of imbalance between supply and demand, the continuous rise in prices attracts investors despite the higher interest rates. This context could exacerbate speculative behaviour harmful to the housing market in general.”

 

Over 40 per cent climb in sales

Source: QPAREB

 

Small income properties stand out among property categories, with 61 sales, a 42 per cent jump. Active listings hit 3,029, a 3 per cent increase over last year, while average selling time for small income properties was 65 days, 5 days longer than October 2022.

The median price of single-family homes last month was up 1 per cent from October 2022 at $350,000, while the same for condominiums increased by 4 per cent to $249,000 and plexes went down 9 per cent to $385,000.

 

Montreal CMA

 

At the same time, the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) market slowed as active listings returned to pre-pandemic levels – a first for the city. That said, the market still favours sellers as prices climb.

QPAREB reported October sales in the Montreal CMA totalled 2,675, a drop of 2 per cent from the same period last year.

“While there are fewer active buyers in the market, there continues to be latent interest in buying a property. The combination of various negative factors has fuelled a sense of caution and led to a deferment of purchasing plans … Uncertainty has been created by the rapid slowdown of the economy and a greater difficulty in accumulating or maintaining sufficient savings to cover all eventualities,” notes Brant.

“Fixed interest rates, which are now preferred for most new mortgages, have been well above 6 per cent for the shortest-term mortgages since September. This further limits buyers’ ability to qualify with conventional lenders. As a result, the Bank of Canada’s decision not to increase the key rate did not have the stimulating effect on demand as was the case during the last pause,” the director continues.

“The result is an increase in the number of properties on the market to a level not seen since the start of the pandemic. This situation is conducive to a market rebalancing and a plateauing or decline in prices. It also provides more choice in the market for experienced buyers with enough equity to avoid the need for significant mortgage financing.”

 

Higher inventory and prices, fewer sales

Source: QPAREB

 

The Island of Montreal and South Shore of Montreal stood out with transaction increases of 7 per cent and 8 per cent compared to the same period last year (1,022 transactions and 654 transactions, respectively).

The North Shore of Montreal (607 sales), Laval (235 sales), Vaudreuil-Soulanges (105 sales) and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (52 sales) had sales declines of 12 per cent, 17 per cent, 19 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

Total active listings were up 12 per cent to 17,518 compared to a year ago. The inventory level hasn’t been this high since summer 2019. Average selling time for small income properties was 60 days, which was 7 days longer than October 2022.

Finally, median prices in all categories grew compared to the same period last year. Single-family homes were at $545,000, up by 7 per cent, plexes at $735,000, a 5 per cent jump, and condominiums went up to $390,000, an increase of 3 per cent.

 

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