The Globe's Real Estate Beat offers news and analysis on the Canadian housing market from real estate reporter Tara Perkins. Read more on The Globe's housing page and follow Tara on Twitter @TaraPerkins.
Montreal saw an uptick in sales of homes for more than $1-million after the Parti Québécois lost Quebec's provincial election in April, according to Sotheby's International Realty Canada.
A number of bankers and real estate professionals have been talking about the impact of provincial politics on Montreal's housing market this year, with one telling me tales of buyers who supposedly made their offers conditional on a win for the Quebec Liberal Party. The prospect of another potential referendum on Quebec sovereignty, among other issues, was said to be depressing the real estate market.
But it's been hard to tell from the numbers just how real that effect was. "While difficult to quantify, a recovery in housing has likely been held back by political uncertainty ahead of the provincial election earlier this year," Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Diana Petramala recently wrote about Montreal's housing market. (She predicts that with the election out of the way – while interest rates are still low and the jobs picture is improving – home sales will gain moderate traction during the remainder of this year.)
Now Sotheby's is saying that it sees evidence that the market for high-end homes in Montreal picked up after the election.
"Despite a soft start to 2014, Montreal's high-end real estate market began to recover in April following the provincial election of a Liberal majority government," Sotheby's says in its bi-annual national top tier real estate report, which will be released Tuesday.
"Post-election consumer confidence contributed to an uptick in late-spring sales: 228 Montreal properties (condominiums, attached homes and single-family homes) over $1 million sold between January 1 and June 30, 2014, compared to 206 units sold during the first six months of 2013, amounting to an 11 per cent year-over-year increase. The $4-million-plus market for detached homes, which saw no sales in 2013 and only one sale in 2012, experienced new momentum after April 2014 with the sale of four homes, signaling renewed confidence in this high-end luxury segment. A milestone was also reached with the sale of a condo in the Port-Royal Apartments at the highest price per square foot recorded in Montreal to date."
Sotheby's adds that while sales of condominiums for more than $1-million were four per cent lower in the first six months of this year than last, "the market showed signs of improvement post-election."
Nationally, the report says that sales of homes for more than $1-million in both the Vancouver and Toronto areas increased by 34 per cent during the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. "Calgary's $1-million-plus sales grew 17 per cent compared to the first half of 2013, as limited inventory of homes over $1-million resulted in significant declines in the number of days on market and notable increases in the percentage of homes sold over asking price," it says.