The Gazette spreading fear about Mtl's real estate heating up.
Buy now or risk saying bye-bye to affordable Montreal home ownership
Bert Archer, Special to the Montreal Gazette
Published on: April 22, 2017
Montreal’s real estate market is about to become a game of musical chairs, and anybody who doesn’t get a seat soon could be left standing, permanently.
It might be easy to remain complacent about your ability to buy a house in Montreal. After all, Montreal’s median prices for single family homes – detached, semi-detached and row houses, among the first to become unaffordable to the average person – are $300,000 lower than they are in Toronto, and $500,000 less than in Vancouver.
An average person with average income can still entertain thoughts of buying a house downtown. The slow but steady increases in prices – two, three, four per cent – can act like the proverbial slowly heating water the frog doesn’t know is about to boil. But if you’re renting now, and figure you’ll buy a house someday when that next promotion comes through or the baby’s born, it might be too late.
All the signs of a market on the brink of unaffordability are there. Worries about a saturated condo market sagging in 2015 turned around sharply in 2016. Montreal registered the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years last December, and immigration levels are skyrocketing, with the first six months of 2016 – the latest figures available – outstripping all of 2015.
And foreign investors are almost certainly already on their way to the next undervalued, untapped real estate market now that Ontario has imposed a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in Toronto as B.C. did for Metro Vancouver. More money drives prices up. So does more people. Put them both together in a city with the obvious and perennial attractions of Montreal, and it might spell the end of the affordable house on the island.