Bidding wars, multiple offers ‘the norm’ in Montreal real estate market

Real estate broker Nathalie Bégin can’t recall a time during her three-decade career that the local market has been so tilted toward sellers.

Bégin, who runs Ahuntsic office, cites the recent case of a duplex in the neighbourhood that drew 15 offers in a mere four days. It eventually sold for $110,000 above the asking price, she said, declining to disclose the exact amount of the transaction.

“It’s extremely difficult to be a buyer these days — but if you’ve got a house to sell and don’t need to buy a new one in the city, this is heaven,” Bégin, who is also chair of the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, said Tuesday in an interview. “It’s not rare to see more than 10 offers on a property. In all my years in the business, I’ve never seen a market like this one.”

In fact, Ahuntsic didn’t even crack the Top 10 list of the city’s hottest real estate neighbourhoods during the past year, a Montreal Gazette analysis of QPAREB data shows.

The bidding war crown belongs to Rosemont, where 35 per cent of all real estate transactions concluded during the year ended Sept. 30 resulted in selling prices that exceeded asking prices, according to the QPAREB data. That’s the highest proportion among Montreal Island neighbourhoods.

QPAREB’s figures take into account the properties that were listed on the Centris system.

Plateau-Mont-Royal, Sud-Ouest, Villeray and Nuns’ Island rounded out the Top 5 of Montreal’s hottest neighbourhoods — all with scores in excess of 25 per cent.

Broker Romain Lecomte of Via Capitale du Mont-Royal, who covers central Montreal districts such as Plateau-Mont-Royal and Rosemont, said the vast majority of the transactions he has worked on of late have involved multiple offers. The most he has seen for a single property is 25, he said.

“People want to be in the central districts, and there simply aren’t that many properties listed,” Lecomte said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “Multiple offers and bidding wars have become the norm. Things are moving extremely fast, and people don’t have much time to react.”

Some buyers are so eager to close transactions they will often drop conditions or forgo the inspection altogether to improve their chances, Bégin and Lecomte both said.

“People are going to great lengths to buy property, but they might regret this in a few years’ time when renovations are required,” Bégin said. “I’m finding this a little bit scary for the buyers.”

When overbidding did occur, selling prices in the greater Montreal area exceeded asking prices by an average of 3.7 per cent, or $14,776, in the year to Sept. 30, the data show. The gap was even higher on the island of Montreal, at 4.4 per cent, or $20,596.

If you were looking to sell a condominium during the past year, Rosemont was — again — the place to be.

About 37 per cent of condo sales in Rosemont in the year to Sept. 30 resulted in bidding wars, QPAREB data show. Other hot neighbourhoods included Plateau Mont-Royal and Outremont, with 32 per cent each, and Sud-Ouest and Villeray, with 30 per cent each.

Those last two areas provided the best environment for selling a house. Thirty per cent of all single-family property sales in Sud-Ouest and Villeray triggered bidding wars, the data show. Rosemont followed with 29 per cent, compared with 25 per cent for Pointe-Claire and 24 per cent for Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

For plexes, Westmount led the way with half of transactions topping the asking price. Verdun/Nuns’ Island with 43 per cent, Rosemont with 33 per cent, Sud-Ouest with 30 per cent and Plateau Mont-Royal with 29 per cent also made the Top 5.

Montreal is already the Quebec region with the highest proportion of bidding wars, and the trend is accelerating. About 15 per cent of all real estate transactions in the greater Montreal area resulted in selling prices that exceeded asking prices. In the year-earlier period, the figure was 11 per cent.


Proportion of bidding wars, by Montreal Island neighbourhood (October 2018-September 2019)

Rosemont 35%

Plateau Mont-Royal 31%

Sud-Ouest 30%

Villeray 27%

Nun’s Island 26%

Proportion of bidding wars, by off-island municipality or sector

Sud-Ouest de la Rive-Sud (South Shore) 18%

St-Hubert (South Shore) 18%

Fabreville (Laval) 15%

Boucherville/St-Bruno (South Shore) 15%

Vieux-Longueuil (South Shore) 15%

Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers

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