Greater Montreal's real estate market off to best start in four years

MONTREAL – Greater Montreal’s real estate market got off to the best start in four years in 2016, buoyed by a surge in demand for condominiums in the first quarter, a local real estate organization said Thursday.

About 10,600 home sales closed in the first three months of the year, up from 9,645 in the same period a year ago — representing a 10 per cent increase, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board said.

Sales rose in all five main geographic areas in and around Canada’s second-largest city, the board said.

Condo sales grew 12 per cent to 3,185, though median prices fell by one per cent to $230,000. Single-family home sales were up eight per cent to 6,449 and median prices rose to $285,000, a bump of two per cent.

Sales of residential buildings with two to five units increased 20 per cent to 958. Sales of properties valued at $500,000 or more jumped 21 per cent.

Market conditions remain relatively balanced across the area for single-family homes and plexes, real estate board president Daniel Dagenais said in a news release.

Although there is still an excess supply of condos, the number of listings became stable after 21 consecutive quarters of increases, he said.

“Because condominium sales are increasing, market conditions have started to tighten for this market segment.”

Montreal has long trailed the hot real estate markets of Toronto and Vancouver. Still, the recent quarter was the seventh consecutive quarterly increases in sales for the city, marking the longest sales streak since the real estate agency began keep statistics in 2000.

There were 34,208 properties for sale in the Montreal area during the quarter, down five per cent from a year ago.

Across Quebec, there were 20,308 sales during the quarter, up eight per cent from the prior year.