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Greater Montréal Real Estate Board Statistics
Home sales increase in February Île des Soeurs, March 3, 2005 – Households bought a lot of homes in February. According to statistics published by the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB), 4,859 sales were recorded on the S.I.A.®/MLS® system in February 2005, compared to 4,797 sales for the same month in 2004 (29 days).

The total sales dollar volume of units sold approached $1 billion, totalling $941 million, an 11% increase compared to $850 million in February 2004.

As of February 28, there were 31,712 residential listings on S.I.A.®/MLS®, while at the same time period a year ago, there were 24,024. Also, 9,192 new listings were entered in our system in February 2005 (+11%).

“The increase in sales in February shows that the enthusiasm for home ownership remains high,” says Michel Beauséjour, FCA, GMREB Chief Executive Officer. “Consumers realize that a home is still the most important asset a family can have.

“All indicators point to another strong year for real estate in 2005, with interest rates that will remain low and a recent survey by Ipsos Reid/RBC Financial Group which says that buying intentions are stronger, especially among 25-34 year olds,” says Beauséjour. The spokesman adds that first-time buyers have access to several interesting programs, such as Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP), subsidies programs from certain cities and mortgage insurance for borrowers programs, which enable some families to buy a home with zero down, under certain conditions.

Given the strength of the real estate market, the GMREB has recently published the guide “Real Estate – Tips on Buying and Selling” which is designed for buyers and sellers. This 32-page magazine is jam-packed with insightful articles on such topics as “Buying a first house”, “Are you a new buyer? Avoid the pitfalls!”, “Should I buy or sell first”, “The compensation: well-deserved pay”, “Second homes: a fast growing market”, “Buying a condo or a plex”, etc. Please note that this guide is exclusively distributed by real estate agents who are members of the GMREB.

Average price

In February 2005, the average price of single-family homes was $195,000 in Greater Montreal, up by 11% when compared to $176,000 in February 2004.

Here are the average prices of single-family homes sold in February 2005 when dividing the territory into administrative regions:

• Montreal: $302,000 (+10% compared to February 2004)
• Laval: $194,000 (+13%)
• Montérégie: $181,000 (+11%)
• Laurentians: $173,000 (+11%)
• Lanaudière: $145,000 (+10%)

This is not necessarily a true indication of the actual price of single-family homes in all sectors of the Greater Montreal area, but rather an indication of the trend in the average cost of properties located in the areas covered by the GMREB.

The Greater Montréal Real Estate Board is a non-profit organization and has more than 8,000 members, real estate brokers and agents. It is the third most important board in Canada and its mission is to actively promote and protect its members’ professional and business interests in order for them to successfully meet their business objectives.

For further information:

Linda Grondin
Assistant Director, Communications, Industry Relations
and Legal Affairs Greater Montréal Real Estate Board
Tel.: (514) 762-2181, extension 130

Montréal, March 2, 2005 – In the Greater Montréal area, the final months of 2004, in comparison with the last months of 2003, ended with a decrease of 7 per cent in the number of properties (7,871) sold through the S.I.A.®/MLS® network. This result followed a decline observed in the third quarter, as well.

After having declined slightly (-3 per cent) in 2003, sales went up by 2 per cent in 2004, for a total of 36,022 transactions. “In sum, from a small decrease to a small increase, the market seems to have reached a certain plateau. Steady job creation since the mid-1990s and continued very low mortgage rates are allowing the resale market to surf the wave near the peak,” explained Paul Cardinal, Senior Market Analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Since there were slightly fewer transactions recorded in 2004 than in 2002, this result cannot be considered as a record level of activity for the Montréal metropolitan area. The same does not hold true, however, for the entire Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB) territory, which includes rural sectors where activity has just kept rising. “In the last four years, the overall increase in sales reached 22 per cent in Montréal and its suburbs, while the gain attained 81 percent in the outlying area. It seems that some households are therefore more inclined to move further away, since housing is more affordable in the outlying areas,” commented Michel Beauséjour, FCA, Chief Executive Officer of the GMREB.

The small rise in active listings in 2003 significantly picked up the pace last year and reached 30 percent. The Island of Montréal, mainly the central sectors (zones 4 and 5), largely contributed to this increase, but the suburbs also came into play during the second half of the year. The rise in the number of condominiums for sale in the North Shore sector was particularly notable.

While the market continues to favour sellers, their negotiating power is slowly waning, as an inevitable result of the decrease in sales and the increase in the number of units for sale.

Condominiums are once again the property type that is posting the greatest activity, currently with six sellers per buyer, a trend that could bring back a balanced market for this housing type by the end of 2005.

The spectacular increase in home prices in Greater Montréal continued last year. Despite the fact that sales slowed down and listings rose, the average selling price, for all housing types combined, jumped up by another 13 per cent in 2004. In particular, the average price of an existing home has exceeded the $300,000 mark on the Island of Montréal and will move very close to $200,000 in the suburbs as of this year.

If there is one property type that is enjoying a level of popularity that few had predicted, it is condominium housing. Since the market bottomed out in 1995, its appeal, in terms of sales, has grown twice as fast as that of other housing types. This housing formula is experiencing some jolts, however, with supply increasing at an accelerated pace and sellers gradually losing their edge on the market. This particularly holds true in the suburbs, which are less conducive to this housing type, and which had in fact been harder hit during the difficult period of the early 1990s.

It can also be seen that condominium construction is intensifying in several sectors, notably in the outlying area, such as in the MRC des Moulins (Terrebonne, Mascouche, La Plaine, Lachenaie). More and more, new units are providing competition for existing units. In this context, it will be important to keep a close watch on condominium prices in 2005.

The Analysis of the Resale Market: Montreal Metropolitan Area is available online.

For more information, please contact:

Paul Cardinal
Analyste principal de marché
Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de
Tél. : (514) 283-8391
Linda Grondin
Directrice adjointe, Communications, relations
avec l’industrie et affaires légales
Chambre immobilière du Grand Montréal
Tél. : (514) 762-2181, poste 130