Laval homes still a seller’s market

Property tax freeze motivates Montrealers to migrate

By Robert Frank

Île Jésus has remained the island of choice for homebuyers this year. Laval continues to lead the property price index with a 5.1 per cent increase during the first 11 months of the year.

The figure contrasted sharply with Montreal Island residences, whose prices essentially have remained flat, increasing just 0.3 per cent since January. Only the South Shore came close, seeing property prices rise 4.8 percent.

Together with the North Shore and Vaudreuil-Soulanges regions, the overall Montreal metropolitan are saw and average increase of 2.7 percent.

“Single-family home sellers still had the upper hand only in Laval,” the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) reported last week. The city stood out from the rest of the Montreal area, where the market is fairly balanced, with Vaudreuil-Soulanges the only other region to stand out—as a buyer’s market.

The number of new residences listed on the market fell by nine percent in last year.

“We saw a significant decrease in the number of transactions since July 2012,” GMREB market analysis manager Paul Cardinal told The Suburban. The federal government tightened mortgage-lending regulations last year to cool down a frothy real estate market fuelled by the lowest interest rates in history. 

The number of active Laval listings shot up by 11 per cent compared to last year for the month of November—and by an impressive 17 percent for the year-to-date.

The median price of a single-family Laval home hit $290,000 last month, with condos not far behind at $215,000.

“Supply has increased, and demand has also increased, so [the Laval market] is moving closer to balance, but it is not balanced yet,” Cardinal explained.

With any Montrealers now facing the prospect of sharp property tax hikes, the flood of demand for living space in Laval could increase. Laval’s announcement, earlier this month, that it will freeze property taxes for the coming year, will continue spur the lure of housing here during 2014.

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