Montreal is known as Canada’s city with a certain joie de vivre. Its joyful spirit is only heightened by its culture, people and, of course, the country’s best bagels and smoked meat. Today, it’s also getting recognition for something most wouldn’t necessarily associate with the city — luxury real estate. Montreal has become the hotspot for Canada’s luxury real estate market this year.
While Vancouver and Toronto are Canada’s biggest markets for luxury real estate — the two cities have topped luxury real estate lists both internationally and Canada-wide for the past three years — Montreal is growing quickly behind them.
Montreal sees an uptick in luxury
The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) reports that 2017 held the second highest number of transactions ever recorded and a Sotheby’s International report found that the sale of homes over the $1-million mark increased by 20% in the first months of 2018.
It’s easy to see why many people would love to plant their home base in Montreal, Quebec. With the beautiful scenery, historical culture and affordable lifestyle — it’s not just luxury real estate that’s making a name in this up-and-coming city. It’s retail, too. Craig Patterson, Editor-in-Chief for Retail Insider says the city has seen unprecedented growth in the world of luxury marketing this year. Recently, Montreal has seen an uptick in potential luxury flagships like the ones more commonly seen in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary shopping centres and include Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel and Dior.
When you start to see this type of movement in the retail world, you have to acknowledge that wealth is becoming more evident in all areas. “The lifestyle isn’t just the home. It’s everything. It’s restaurants, it’s clothing and it’s services,” says Patterson. “I think we’re seeing Montreal become a little bit more desirable right now.”
Luxury real estate in Canada
In comparison to international cities and markets such as New York, San Francisco, London and Sydney, Canada’s luxury market is nowhere near as competitive.
“Price-wise and politically we remain one of the best places in the world to live,” says Barb Funt, a luxury real estate agent for Zolo. Funt says that although Canada has a smaller market of people, the appeal goes towards a wider geographic location.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t the occasional bidding wars on luxury detached homes and condominium units in major metropolitan cities.
Toronto luxury real estate market
Always the talk of the town when it comes to real estate, the luxury market in Toronto is no different. Toronto is Canada’s highest ranked city for luxury residential markets, globally and geographically, landing the No. 16 spot out of 100 in Knight Franks annual wealth report. Funt says that nothing has changed as far as upscale properties go, both for buyers and sellers. “Anything over the $2 million mark isn’t flying off the shelves,” says Funt. However, she notes that there are smaller pockets of Toronto that are consistently fielding bidding wars among buyers.
Toronto is no stranger to the high net-worth and ultra high net-worth of real estate investors who are running $1 million in liquid assets and double-digit millions in liquid assets, respectively. Funt says that although Toronto’s luxury market saw a slow start, she expects the spring market will be on par with past years. Although, maybe not the anomaly that was 2017, when 180 luxury real estate transactions were made by April, as opposed to the 76 made this year.
Vancouver luxury real estate market
Coming in at the No. 37 spot on the Knight Frank’s wealth report, Vancouver has seen a slow start to the year due to new government regulations such as an increased foreign buyers tax and significant changes made to the mortgage stress test. Barry Allen, Zolo-founder and West Vancouver agent, says that for many, “buying property in Vancouver is not based on affordability, but rather a personal choice.”
Consistently ranking in one of the top 10 cities in the world, the luxury real estate market has always been booming, if not for anything other than the ocean, mountains and climate. According to a Sotheby’s International report, the sale of homes priced over $4 million in Vancouver has decreased by 33% in 2017. However, the luxury condominium market saw new records increasing sales by 27% at the tail end of 2017. Allen says Vancouver has “weathered the storms, and now it’s spring again.” People are back out looking for homes, luxury market included.
Now that the marketplace in Montreal is growing with its own luxury real estate, there will just be more glorious properties to choose from.