Priced out of the Montreal market, future home-buyers look off-island

As home prices rise, off-island buyers in places like Hudson and St-Lazare have the upper hand when it comes to single-family homes.

The number of homes sold in Montreal has been increasing every year for the past five years. At the same time, the number of properties on the market has been dwindling. The mismatch between supply and demand has pushed prices up and tilted the market in favour of sellers in most parts of Montreal. Yet Off-Island buyers have the upper hand when it comes to one type of property: single-family homes in Hudson and St-Lazare that are listed above $500,000.

Off-Island homes priced under that magical half-million mark are selling briskly, according to the most recent Centris statistics released by the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, but there is a glut of more expensive properties on the market right now in Hudson and St-Lazare, meaning buyers can have their pick of properties.

Part of the reason is that rising prices have pushed more homes above the $500,000 price point. But it’s also that many buyers are shopping Off-Island after being priced out of Montreal — and if they’re spending about as much as they would to buy an apartment or townhouse on the Island, they’re going to think twice whether the extra room is worth the commute.

The most recent Royal LePage house price survey found that prices in the Montreal area went up almost six per cent in the past year. Home prices Off-Island rose more slowly, increasing just 3.5 per cent (an increase of almost $12,000 in the median home price for the area, which is now pegged at $347,000).

What’s interesting is that less-expensive types of properties had the biggest gains in price. Two-storey homes in Vaudreuil-Soulanges showed only a slight increase of less than one per cent year-over-year. Bungalow prices, on the other hand, rose seven per cent while condos jumped nine per cent. The result? A buyer of a bungalow or condo priced in the middle of the market paid about $20,000 more than they would have if they bought a year ago.

As I wrote in my last city column on Monday, the CMHC predicts that home prices in Montreal will keep rising for at least the next two years. If the trend continues, expect the competition for lower-priced homes to heat up.

If the momentum continues, brace yourself: it could be that one day, half a million for a home will seem like a bargain.

How much have home prices gone up in your area?

In the past five years, prices have been rising steadily. Here’s how much the median house price has increased in West Island and Off-Island neighbourhoods since 2014:

  • West Island South (Senneville, Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, Baie-D’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Dorval): 43 per cent
  • West Island North (Île-Bizard, Pierrefonds-Roxoboro, Kirkland, Dollard-des-Ormeaux): 19 per cent
  • Île-Perrot (including NDIPPincourt and Terrasse-Vaudreuil): 27 per cent
  • Vaudreuil-Dorion (including Vaudreuil-sure-le-Lac and L’Île-Cadieux): 27 per cent
  • -Lazare, Hudson and Vaudreuil West: 16 per cent
  • Soulanges South (St.-Zotique, Les Coteaux, Coteau-du-Lac, Les Cèdres and Pointe-des-Cascades): 5 per cent

Note: these numbers are taken from the QPAREB’s latest housing market report (http://communications.centris.ca/apciq/pdf/bar/201903-bar-mtl-en.pdf), which is based on data from the Centris system.

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