West Island and off-island real estate outlook for 2014

By Kevin Woodhouse

There has been a change of late in the Off Island and West Island real estate market. Prior to last year, sellers were overwhelmed with offers but in 2013, and the outlook for the coming year, according to real estate agents Carl Poirier, Royal Lepage Village in Hudson and Daniel Arsenault of Re/Max Royal (Jordan) Inc., is likely to be a buyers’ market.

“Right now, there are a lot of listings and not enough buyers,” Poirier, who works off island, told The Suburban. “For someone interested in buying, it is a great time to purchase because there is a large inventory of properties for every price bracket.

“Vendors right now have to be realistic because the market dictates the price,” said Poirier who cited several possible reasons for the softer market of late.

For first time buyers, newer and more stringent credit lending rules, the flat Quebec economy, the recent exodus of residents seeking fortune in other provinces and the current minority government have given people pause “in a slightly uncertain political landscape.”

And while there is a larger inventory of homes available in such communities like Hudson and St. Lazare, “Vaudreuil-Dorion is still booming as the fastest growing community in the province. We are still seeing a lot of young families move out there but because it is developing so quickly, traffic is increasing for the morning and afternoon commute.”

For home buyers seeking larger homes and yards with increased privacy, the off island is a good idea but commuters working in the city of Montreal should be prepared to drive more than they were used to.

“For commuters who work in the city, the West Island is a better location but the price is more for a property there,” Poirier said.

Arsenault often hears from buyers seeking a smaller home in prime West Island real estate. Prime real estate is anything adjacent to a major infrastructure like a downtown, a train station or a park. Proximity to quality schools is also a factor for younger families.

“With banks being more cautious towards loans and credit for properties and taking fewer risks, there is less money in the market place,” Arsenault said. “When the market is hot, there is more incentive for condo, duplex and triplex owners but rent controls have kept rents at a place where the cost of purchasing a new property is too high for a return on your investment.”

Another trend Arsenault has noticed of late is the number of Baby Boomers who want to down size from their larger homes now that their children have left home. While seeking to downsize, the challenge is finding a market for those higher priced, larger homes. “Because there are no buyers for that range right now, the market place stalls, causing a buyers’ market for homes in the $500,000 range and above,” said the West Island based agent.

And while the larger homes are not moving as fast, “there is a pent up demand for smaller bungalows close to a train,” said Arsenault. “In that instance there is plenty of demand but not enough supply right now.”
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