In Echo of Toronto, Condos Start Flooding the Market in Montreal

(Bloomberg) — It’s not just Toronto. Montreal is seeing a flurry of condos being put up for sale, suggesting the city’s housing boom may be fading as the effects of the pandemic start to bite.


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New condo listings on the island of Montreal were up 72% in the third quarter, the biggest annual increase in 17 years, according to data from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers. The greater Montreal area recorded a 61% jump.

A vibrant economy, steady flows of immigrants and affordable home prices compared with Toronto turned Quebec’s biggest city in a hot market in recent years. Now both cities are suffering from side effects of the Covid-19 crisis: Immigration has slowed, depressing the rental market in city centers, while some people who are doing their jobs from home are seeking more space in the suburbs.

Read more: Condo Listings Surge 215% in Signal of Downtown Toronto Weakness

The increase in condo listings in Montreal started a few months ago downtown — traditionally a magnet for foreign buyers and students — and extended more recently to areas such as Plateau Mont Royal, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods for European immigrants, according to Charles Brant, the association’s director of market analysis.

“We can see the wind turning in those markets,” Brant said. “But we’re still in sectors that are favorable to sellers. There’s no catastrophe.”

a group of people on a city street

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New condos under construction in Griffintown in downtown Montreal in 2018

Photographer: Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg

Condo prices on Montreal island are so far holding up, climbing 10% year-over-year in September after an 11% jump in August and 14% in July. But it’s taking longer to deplete inventory. And developers of new condos are handing more of those listings to brokers, in contrast with the past three years, when developers mostly handled the sales themselves, Brant said.

“It means the market is more difficult,” he said.

Tellingly, new listings in the southwest part of the city are up 171%. That area includes Griffintown, a neighborhood of young professionals that’s home to many new condo towers.

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