9 Jan

Montreal’s real estate market sizzled in 2017 with sales hitting 10-year high


Posted by: James Moysey

‘It’s on fire,’ says market analysis manager for Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards

By Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted: Jan 08, 2018 9:38 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 08, 2018 9:38 AM ET


Montreal was one of Canada’s hottest real estate markets last year as low unemployment and economic growth translated into the area’s best sales growth in a decade.

Total sales in the Greater Montreal Area increased eight per cent to 44,448 on the strength of condominium sales and good overall activity on the island of Montreal.

Sales on the island of Montreal increased 15 per cent, outpaced by Laval at 20 per cent and on par with the South Shore.

Sales growth exceeded 20 per cent in five of the city’s most popular boroughs.

That compared with sales decreases of 18 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area and 10 per cent in Greater Vancouver.

Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal doesn’t have a foreign buyers tax.

More than 14,000 condos changed hands across the island of Montreal and nearby communities during the year, marking a 17 per cent increase from 2016.

‘It’s on fire’

“It’s on fire,” said Paul Cardinal, manager market analysis for the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards.

The overall sales growth far exceeded his expectations. He said the last time growth in Montreal sales outpaced Toronto and Vancouver was in 1998.

Cardinal thought new mortgage rules implemented in the fall of 2016 would impair the number of first-time buyers and reduce the total number of transactions.

But Quebec’s best consumer confidence in 15 years and a high number of permanent residences stimulated demand and compensated for the new rules and higher mortgage rates during the summer.

Transactions of single-family homes rose three per cent to 25,601 while sales of buildings with two to five units increased six per cent to 4,336.

Strong demand for luxury homes

Demand was particularly strong for luxury accommodation. Sales of homes exceeding $1 million rose 20 per cent in Greater Montreal and condos priced above $500,000 were up 42 per cent.

The total value of sales grew 13 per cent to $16.2 billion, about half of which was on the island of Montreal.

Montreal Home Sales 20171106

The average price of homes in the Greater Montreal Area increased nearly six per cent to $364,510, the largest increase since 2010. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The average price of homes in the Greater Montreal Area increased nearly six per cent to $364,510. That was the largest increase since 2010, with single-family homes sustaining the greater price increases.

Prices rose 6.1 per cent to $467,496 on the island of Montreal, which includes Canada’s second-largest city and suburbs.

Number of foreign buyers remains marginal

Cardinal said the number of foreign buyers, particularly from China, has grown but remained marginal overall. They were mostly concentrated in wealthier neighbourhoods and the downtown core.

He said Montreal is attractive for foreign buyers because the city provides a high quality of life, affordable housing, low pollution and a university system that contributed to it being named last year as the best city in the world for students.

Direct flights to two major Chinese cities have also made it easier for family visits.

Cardinal is forecasting another strong year in 2018 with the number of sales transactions increasing five per cent.

“That would lead us to a new record so we would beat the 2007 mark,” he said.

Average prices are also expected to increase almost five per cent.

Montreal capped a strong year with total sales across Greater Montreal increasing 10 per cent to 2,781 in December.

That included a 35 per cent increase in condo sales. Total active listings fell nine per cent from a year ago.

2 Sep

Start of work on SOLAR UNIQUARTIER, Québec’s biggest mixed-use real estate project, now valued at $1.3 billion


Posted by: James Moysey

Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and Fondaction are partnering with Devimco.
A Marriott Courtyard hotel will be built there.

BROSSARD, QCAug. 25, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – Devimco Immobilier today revealed the names of its partners in the SOLAR UNIQUARTIER project and announced that this “the South Shore’s new downtown,” regarded as Québec’s biggest mixed-use real estate project, now accounts for an investment of $1.3 billion, or $300 million more than the initial estimate.

The project’s financial partners are Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQFondaction, Devimco Investissement and a Québec pension plan.

These details and many others were revealed by Serge Goulet, President of Devimco Immobilier, at the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 of the project, which was also attended by Gaétan Barrette, Member of the National Assembly for La Pinière riding and Québec Minister of Health and Social Services; Paul Leduc, Mayor of the City of Brossard; Normand Bélanger, President and CEO of Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ; and Léopold Beaulieu, President and CEO of Fondaction.

Mr. Goulet also revealed that the Marriott Courtyard chain will build a 184-room hotel in the first phase. Clients of this hotel, to be managed by Groupe Lixi, will have access to a conference centre with four multi-function rooms boasting a capacity of more than 1,000 people.

An agency in the Careers network of iA Financial Group will occupy one floor of the Place de la Gare tower in late summer 2018 and will officially open its offices at the end of the same year. Some 120 employees and representatives of iA Financial Group will work in the new neighbourhood. Other agreements with equally prestigious companies will be signed in the coming weeks.

Phase 1 of SOLAR UNIQUARTIER will include all the functions of mixed-use real estate, with residential, commercial and office space. Devimco Immobilier will erect the highest tower ever built on Montréal’s South Shore. And, for the first time in the Montréal suburbs, truly urban condominiums will be available.

SOLAR UNIQUARTIER meets the criteria laid out in the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement(Metropolitan Land-Use and Development Plan—PMAD) from the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal with respect to sustainable development of the territory through densification and mixed uses in areas with easy access to public transit and active transportation. “Better yet, our project’s densification exceeds the PMAD’s criteria by 60%,” Mr. Goulet noted.

“The buildable area in the first phase of our new project will be 650,000 square feet,” he said. “The project’s innovative concept will bring future residents, workers and consumers together in a multi-use neighbourhood, giving the community the opportunity  to live, work and play in the same place. The mixed-use concept will be applied starting in the first phase.” Mr. Goulet added that work on the first phase has already begun.

Mr. Bélanger of Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ stated: “SOLAR UNIQUARTIER will offer citizens an amalgam of complementary components to help create a true community. We are proud to be associated with this most formative project for the South Shore of Montréal, with an investment that will support the creation of nearly 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

Mr. Beaulieu of Fondaction added: “We are pleased to be a partner in an original and innovative initiative that is at the leading edge of sustainable development. This mixed real estate project, with its encouragement of public transit and of neighbourhood services in an eco-district, will have clear social benefits while helping fight climate change and supporting the region’s economic development, in particular through job creation.”

An integrated approach
Located at the northeast corner of the junction of Highways 30 and 10, SOLAR UNIQUARTIER offers a dynamic, integrated and well-thought-out approach. The project will include:

  • 2,600 housing units ;
  • The first phase will be the tallest residential tower on the South Shore, offering 245 rental units, each equipped with the same luxurious finishings normally reserved for downtown Montreal apartments; there will also be a 125-unit condominium tower ;
  • A broad expanse of green parkland covering more than 130,000 square feet ;
  • 1,2 million square feet of commercial and office space ;
  • Two hotels, a conference centre and a European-inspired sports, health and recreation complex ;
  • A dynamic public square facing the future Du Quartier light rail station.

“Foodies,” a new concept from Jacques Nantel
Mr. Goulet also announced that an ambience-filled street forming part of SOLAR UNIQUARTIER will be the scene of Québec’s biggest space for foodies. In partnership with Jacques Nantel, Professor Emeritus at HEC Montréal, Devimco Immobilier has developed a new, typically Québécois concept devoted exclusively to Québec fine foods. Based on Quebecers’ gastronomic preferences and on major global trends, Devimco will promote home-grown items, organic foods and local products to be made available in the project’s micro-boutiques.

Light rail station and contribution from the City of Brossard
SOLAR UNIQUARTIER will become the very first TOD (transit-oriented development) project revolving around the Réseau électrique métropolitain, Montréal’s future light-rail network. It will also be the only residential project linked indoors to a light-rail station (Du Quartier station). The project’s occupants will be able to reach downtown Montréal in 10 minutes, more quickly than residents of many neighbourhoods on the Island of Montréal.

Moreover, the City of Brossard will undertake a major infrastructure project to deal with recurring traffic problems. The municipal work includes the broadening and extension of Boulevard du Quartier with the building an overpass above Highway 10 that will include a covered pedestrian and bicycle passageway as well as a ramp providing access to Highway 10.

“The City of Brossard’s contribution to the design and completion of our project has been outstanding,” Mr. Goulet said. “I want to thank Mayor Paul Leduc and his administrative team for believing in the development of this new area in the municipality and devoting the great energy required by a project of this scope.”

Mr. Goulet added that the City of Brossard has innovated by bringing sustainable development criteria into its approval process, standards that must be met by SOLAR UNIQUARTIER. Accordingly, Devimco Immobilier will establish an energy loop that will enable the sharing of energy between the project’s various buildings.

Truly urban condos
Truly urban condos will be built for the first time ever in a Montréal suburb. All of the SOLAR UNIQUARTIER condo projects will have the following features: towers rising 10 to 20 storeys, made of concrete (no more wood and brick!) and providing top-quality soundproofing, indoor parking spaces, as in downtown Montréal, and extensive common spaces.

Called “Magellan Condos,” the first condominium tower in the initial phase will have more than 125 units. Construction is already under way. The Magellan project will offer units of one to three bedrooms, and penthouses will be available. The common areas will include a gymnasium, rooftop pool, roof terrace and lounge. Each condominium will have abundant windows, using the full potential of natural light and providing choice views of the vast SOLAR UNIQUARTIER park. To be launched this fall: www.magellancondos.com

An innovative model and a profusion of green spaces
In addition to its large central park the size of more than two football fields that will provide the district with a true “green lung,” the project will be decisively focused on active transportation, with major consideration given to pedestrians and cyclists. A bicycle path and a walkway nearly three kilometres long will cross the site, leading people to the Place de la Gare and various modes of public transit.

“We are applying all the TOD principles with this project,” Mr. Goulet said. “The future neighbourhood is designed in keeping with innovative planning practices, promoting sustainable development and an environmentally responsible approach, with green spaces playing a central role in the project.”

About Devimco Immobilier
Devimco Immobilier is a Québec real estate development leader that stands out for the creation and execution of large real estate projects, in particular lifestyle and TOD (transit-oriented development) complexes that combine commercial, business, leisure and housing components. The company’s real estate projects are noteworthy for producing unique living environments that take the needs of the people in the community into account. It was the first real estate company in the country to develop a lifestyle complex, with Quartier DIX30TM.

Since 2005, in Griffintown, Devimco Immobilier has been building and expanding the District GriffinTM project, a living environment where the entire social fabric of a true community will be represented. Moreover, in 2017, it launched its Square Children’s project on the site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital, bringing a major community centre and social housing onto the site as well as developing new green spaces and restoring the site’s oldest building.

About Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ
Created in 1991, the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ promotes economic growth and employment in Québec by strategically investing in profitable and socially responsible real estate projects in partnership with other industry leaders. The Fonds immobilier backs residential, office, commercial, institutional and industrial projects of all sizes across Québec. At May 31, 2017, the Fonds immobilier had 49 projects in progress, 45 properties under management, 14 million ft2 of land and $59 million invested in affordable, social and community housing. The Fonds immobilier is a member of the Canada Green Building Council.

About Fondaction
Fondaction invests in Québec SMEs to help maintain and create jobs in Québec based on principles of sustainable development. It manages more than $1.7 billion in assets drawn from the retirement savings of more than 137,000 shareholders. Through its investments and commitments, either directly or through partner or specialized funds, Fondaction supports the development of more thaan 1,200 SMEs, including many social economy enterprises, that make a distinctive contribution to Québec’s economic, social and environmental development.


SOURCE Devimco Immobilier 

For further information: Viviane Ross, 514 843-2318, vross@national.ca


24 Jun

Montreal industrial sector now a ‘landlords’ market’


Posted by: James Moysey

Montreal’s industrial real estate market has become a landlords’ market for the first time in at least 20 years and its office sector is on its way to following suit, says Avi Krispine, managing director of CBRE Quebec.

Maison Manuvie

Maison Manuvie in Montreal, where the industrial real estate sector has become a “landlord’s market” and the office sector could soon follow suit, according to a CBRE report.

“The market in Montreal is looking very healthy in the next three years,” he says. “We’re in a great place right now.”

On the industrial side, the vacancy rate has declined to 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, just above the record low of 6.7 per cent in 2014.

But the situation is better today because a number of companies are expanding, versus one or two big players three years ago.

“You feel it way more today than you would feel it in 2014 when it was all due to one big tenant,” Krispine says.

“We’ve seen so much energy, so much activity and such a low vacancy rate on the industrial side.”

Rental rate gap closes

In addition, the gap between asking rental rates and actual transactions has closed dramatically in Montreal’s 301.5-million-square-foot industrial sector.

While the gap was at least 25 per cent under a year ago, “today, you’re lucky if you get a gap of even five per cent because there’s such a lack of product out there and again the economy in Montreal is doing very, very well.”

There is less and less land available for industrial development, Krispine says.

In addition, the industrial sector is getting a boost from tech and e-commerce office clients leaving office spaces at $45 and $50 per square foot and moving into former industrial properties converted into new office space at between $25 and $30 per square foot.

Montreal’s office sector is becoming a landlords’ market thanks to the city’s improving economy that added more than 70,000 net jobs in 2016, Krispine says.

As a result, there was one million square feet of positive net absorption of office space in the first quarter of 2017, the best start of a calendar year for tenant demand in Montreal since the late 1990s.

Fewer options for prospective tenants

While tenants used to have a number of options due to high vacancy and large amounts of office space available for sublease, the improving economy has tipped the balance back toward landlords.

In addition, the amount of sublease office space in the central business district has fallen by 60 per cent in the last year to a five-year low, an indication companies are performing strongly and are confident in their ability to grow, Krispine says.

According to a CBRE first-quarter 2017 office market report titled “Never-ending clear sky,” vacancy rates in the downtown core declined from 10.6 in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 9.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, while the net asking rent for class-A properties increased from $21.21 to $22.32 per square foot and tenant inducements declined.

As a sign of improving health in Montreal’s office sector, he notes the 28-storey Maison Manuvie, now under construction downtown, has only about 1 1/2 floors vacant. “Nobody thought this would have ever happened and it would have filled up so fast.”

Tour Deloitte close to fully leased

As well, when the 26-storey Tour Deloitte was being built, “people were saying ‘there’s no need to pay $55 to $60 a square foot gross; it doesn’t make sense. It’s never going to happen.’ It’s maybe 1 1/2 floors away from having the entire building filled up.”

Krispine expects the situation in the industrial and office sectors to last a long time because “we are healthy, but still very cheap compared to the rest of Canada.”

As a result, landlords can ask for more and tenants can afford to pay more before real estate becomes their No. 1 expense ahead of labour.

The outlook is bright as well due to the more than $20 billion of infrastructure investments still to be delivered in the city, he says.

Unlike a few years ago, when Montreal was awash in allegations of political corruption, “companies have become ambassadors of the city,” Krispine says.

“People understand that there is so much money (being) invested in infrastructure, there are new companies coming into the city, the economy is rolling and people have finally gotten back to being proud of their city versus a few years ago.

“They’re confident, they’re proud and they sell their city.”