I get calls from Montreal journalist every time there is a piece to be written about a local market, specially for certain neighbourhoods such as Griffintown, Old Montreal (Ville-Marie) and sometimes Plateau. Such was the case last week, when a journalist from Montreal Mirror called me to find out my opinion on the cooling of Plateau’s market. I often give information, stats and links where they can get the “latest facts and numbers” but not often enough do I get a mention or a quote from them.
This time, Patrick Lejtenyi did include us (the blog and moi) in his article: Hot and bothered The supposed cooling of the Plateau’s housing market may not be telling the whole story
Here is a quote from the article:
In the fourth quarter of 2011, according to FCIQ figures, condo sales, active listings, median price and average price were all up, continuing a trend seen over the past few years. The price of a condo has risen around 40 per cent since 2007, and the neighbourhood is still deemed a seller’s market for anything under $400,000 (the market for more expensive condos is believed to be balanced).
“Developers are focusing on smaller condos because of their affordability,” says Deya Bautista, publisher of the Montreal Real Estate blog. “In fact, in the last few years, we’ve seen a trend for micro-condos, an idea adapted from New York. The idea is to sell to young professionals and get them into what’s called the ‘minimalistic mode.’ We’re selling a lifestyle. Buyers are sacrificing extra square footage to get closer to downtown.”
New buyers may not have a choice. According to McGill urban planning professor Raphaël Fischler, developers are more attracted to smaller buildings for several reasons: they’re less exposed to market fluctuations, it’s easier to get a development loan based on pre-existing sales of smaller units and it helps them meet the city’s suggested demands of setting aside 15 per cent of new buildings for affordable housing. “Cheaper units are smaller units,” he says. “But the trend toward smaller units is a real one.”
Fischler adds that the city has tried to entice developers to build more family-friendly housing, going so far as to offer subsidies to build extra bedrooms, but with limited success. Low interest rates have also drawn younger buyers into the market, and they don’t need the extra space.