After heating up quickly in the past couple of years, Montreal’s real estate market was suddenly put on pause for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was during the three months that are normally the busiest: March, April and May.
With that pause now behind us, the latest statistics show that the rebound in sales and listings during the 2020 summer months extended to all areas of Montreal. The most sought-after type of property in Montreal currently is single-family homes. And real estate markets across Canada are seeing big price increases.
The catch-up of transactions that could not be concluded in early spring because of measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 explains the extension of this sales rebound into late summer.
Here are several factors to consider this autumn:
- Ongoing COVID-19 containment efforts in Quebec: New cases were falling but are still higher than in other provinces.
- How well the U.S. manages the pandemic. Roughly 25 per cent of the Canadian economy relies on exports to south of the border. As well, most tourists to Canada are from the U.S.
- The impact of expiring eviction freezes and mortgage payment deferrals: These are delaying the true impact of the pandemic on housing. They cannot be extended indefinitely.
- Short-term rentals in Montreal (now vacant because of the pandemic) may be converted to long-term apartment rentals or sold, and this could add unexpected supply to the market.
According to many reports, attractive properties located in high-demand areas are still selling quickly and, in some cases, attracting multiple offers. Montreal is a strong real estate market for sellers. Inventory is low and demand is here to stay. The market is very active now. With new additional precautions and guidelines in place, I have been seeing mostly “serious” buyers and sellers in the current market. Deals are closing at a fast rate.
Another key element in the uptick of real estate activity is exceptionally low mortgage rates. If you are a prospective homebuyer whose income has been temporarily impacted by the pandemic, I advise you to explore options with a mortgage broker who has experience working with a wide range of mortgages. That person may be able to guide you toward alternative products and lenders who offer more flexibility.
If you are thinking of selling this fall, do implement home improvements now before you list your home for sale. These renovations can sometimes bring a return on investment that is between five and six times their cost:
- Flooring: The installation of hardwood flooring creates an immediate increase in property value. Existing hardwood floors that are refinished are ideal because they cost less to restore and are in higher demand than new flooring.
- Fixtures: Replacing or updating cabinet hardware, lighting, countertops, and faucets results in an immediate increase in your home’s value.
- Bathroom: The bathroom is the second most important room in the home in terms of value. If you can add a three-piece bathroom to a home that has only one full bathroom, you will see a dramatic rise in the market value of your home.
- Kitchen: The kitchen can make a significant difference in the value of your home. So it’s crucial that you invest in having a modern, fresh, and desirable kitchen.
Whatever the nature of your home, this is a sellers’ market and it’s heating up after months of lock-down. •
Bunny Berke, Real Estate Broker
Christie’s International Realty