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Demand returns for downtown Montreal condos: Builders | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange



IMAGE: The Maestria condos by Devimco. (Courtesy RJV Communications)

The Maestria condos by Devimco. (Courtesy RJV Communications)

Sales of condos at downtown Montreal’s two tallest new condominium projects have been strong in the last few months and people’s interest in living in the core is returning, their developers say.

“We feel there’s traction in the market despite what we’re hearing in the news,” said Marco Fontaine, vice-president of Devimco, as he discussed sales at Maestria Condominiums on Ste. Catherine St. in the Quartier des Spectacles.

Since December, “we’ve seen that the appetite for downtown is still there,” said Vincent Kou, vice-president, corporate development and growth at Brivia Group, which is building 1 Square Phillips.

The two were speaking at a session on the condo market during the Quebec Apartment Investment Conference, held virtually March 23 and 24.

Both Devimco and Brivia say their condo developments are Montreal’s tallest.

Devimco touts Maestria, with its 58- and 61-storey towers, as “the highest residential tower in Montreal and the largest mixed-use residential project in Quebec.” For its part, Brivia describes its 61-storey 1 Square Phillips as “Montreal’s tallest residential tower.”

Sales take off in early 2021

Fontaine says December 2020 was second only to the month before the pandemic began as the best month for sales at Maestria. With vaccines rolling out, “people feel more secure” and more serious about buying.

He added Devimco has received many registrations for its newly launched Griffintown condo project Le Wellington sur le Bassin, at de la Montagne and Wellington Streets just south of downtown, “which is very positive.”

According to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, condominium sales on the island of Montreal increased 16 per cent year-over-year in February.

In recent months, people have been buying units at the 498-unit 1 Square Phillips expressly so they can live downtown, Kou said. “We’re seeing the same thing at Quinzecent,” a 36-storey, 450-unit condo development at 1500 René-Lévesque Blvd. W., which is slated for delivery in 2022.

“There is some level of confidence in the future of downtown,” said Kou, noting the return of immigration and students will bring back vitality to the central core.

Fontaine said the Maestria project is seeing fewer investors than expected and more buyers who plan to live in the units. There have been more buyers than usual from Toronto and Vancouver and a surprising amount of interest from Europe, he said.

“It probably attracts people who say the pandemic will end and that immigration will take off again.”

He added the federal government will increase immigration quotas to compensate for last year’s decline in immigration, which should rejuvenate the downtown condo market.

Fewer new Montreal condo launches

IMAGE: 1 Phillips Square by Brivia Group will be located just off the busy Ste. Catherine St., corridor in downtown Montreal. (Courtesy Brivia)

1 Square Phillips by Brivia Group, located just off the busy Ste. Catherine St., corridor in downtown Montreal. (Courtesy Brivia)

Fontaine said sales are being helped by a decline in the number of new condo project launches downtown, which has reduced the inventory of new units. The number of new projects downtown fell by 61 per cent in 2020, compared with 2019, he said.

Kou has seen a greater interest in one- or two-bedroom condos, at the expense of studios, from buyers who want to live downtown and have at least a part-time work-from-home office.

Meanwhile, Devimco has teamed up with Quebec-based furniture company Artopex to develop three office space models in its condo units. The goal is to integrate office furniture and improved soundproofing in small spaces, Fontaine said.

However, while work- from-home will leave a mark in real estate, “I’m not ready to say people are ready to buy condos that include office spaces,” said Mathieu Collette, vice-president, real estate at Kastello Immobilier. “Their ability to pay is limited.”

Kastello Immobilier is one of the investors in Solstice Montreal, a 44-storey, 339-unit condo development now being built on de la Montagne Street, near the Bell Centre. Kastello is the real estate investment firm of the Fortin family, one of the founders of convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD-A-T).

He noted it was difficult to sell the final units of Aera, a 47-unit condo project in Rosemont, in the city’s east end, which was delivered last summer. However, in January and February, there was an explosion in sales and only a few units are left.

Strong market across Montreal

A condo developer with projects off the island of Montreal also reported strong condo sales at the conference.

Buyers returned in force in January and “we sold an enormous amount in February,” said Yann Lapointe, co-president of Pur Immobilia, which develops condos and multiresidential developments primarily on the North and South Shores of Montreal.

“It was a very big month. People are showing up,” he said, adding sales at the Market condo project in Laval are going well.

The move by some people away from the city to country homes is only temporary, he said, joking there will be plenty of chalets for sale in a few years. “We don’t see people moving away. The city is here to stay and we’ll stay close to the city.”

However, Brivia is hedging its bets. Before the pandemic, the developer began development of a ski-in, ski-out project at Mont Tremblant after it acquired 12 acres of undeveloped land at the site in 2018.

“We’ve accelerated the process to respond to the current market,” Kou said. “We’re putting the pedal to the metal.”

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Hot real estate market sparks warnings to potential buyers as complaints to regulator double



As home sales in the province continue on a dizzying trajectory, the province’s real estate watchdog and regulator are warning buyers to be wary of what they may be getting into.

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate said that in the first three months of 2021, they have seen an increase in inquiries and complaints.

Calls to the regulator were up 42 per cent over the previous year, while complaints, such as how offers were made and accepted, were double the number received in the same period in 2020.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial decisions. There are potential risks at the best of times, but with the added pressure and stress of the current market conditions, those risks are amplified,” Micheal Noseworthy, superintendent of real estate, said in a statement.



The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says sales in the region have continued at a record-setting pace.

Residential home sales covered by the board totalled 5,708 in March 2021, up 126.1 per cent from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and up 53.2 per cent from February of this year.

Rural and suburban areas have experienced the biggest spikes.

For the past two weeks, Jay Park has been in the middle of the buying frenzy.

He and his partner are trying to upgrade from their one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse in Vancouver.

“I wish we had done this a month or two ago,” he said.


A condo tower under construction is pictured in downtown Vancouver in February 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


Park put an offer on a $1-million condo, $4,000 above asking price.

“To entice the [seller], we put in a subject-free offer, but it wasn’t successful,” he said. “They accepted $110,000 over asking price that was also subject-free.”

The hot market has led to bidding wars. Some would-be buyers have even lined up outside for days to try to get a jump on a property.

Erin Seeley, the CEO of the council, is warning buyers to do their research and be aware of risks before making an offer.

“It’s really important that buyers have engaged with their lender before they’re making offers so they know how to stay within a reasonable budget,” she said.

Seeley said some of the complaints the council has heard from buyers is that they weren’t aware the seller has a right to take an early offer.

“And the seller was really in the driver’s seat about setting the pricing,” she said.


Demand continues to outstrip supply for housing in cities like Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)


Aaron Jasper, a Vancouver realtor, advises clients to avoid cash offers and to include finance clauses even if it may mean they lose a deal.

“There’s a lot of frustration among buyers, feeling pressure to take some risk,” he said.

“You’re better to be delayed perhaps a year getting into the market as opposed to being completely financially ruined.”

Jasper also says realtors are limited in the advice they can give to clients on legal matters, home inspections, potential deficiencies with homes, and financing.

‘Caught up in the craziness’

Other tips from the council include seeking professional advice before making a subject-free offer or proceeding without a home inspection, and speaking to a professional to determine how market conditions may be affecting prices.

Meantime, people like Jay Park say they are still keen to buy. Park has more viewings scheduled and is optimistic.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, but I also don’t want to get caught up in the craziness and make a purchase that’s above our means.”

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Black Press Media introduces one of Western Canada's best real estate platforms helping home buyers Find. Love. Live. that new home – Aldergrove Star



Need an agent who knows the community?

Or, is it time to look for a new place to live, but you don’t know what’s on the market?

Whatever the real estate need is for residents in the communities of British Columbia, Yukon & Alberta, there’s a new way to do that one-stop shopping – by visiting Today’s Home.

The slogan for the site is “Find. Love. Live.”

“We want people to find their dream home, love it, and live in it,” said group publisher Lisa Farquharson.

Building on the success of Black Press Media’s niche digital platforms – Today’s Home brings the same wealth of knowledge and local expertise to the search for a home, be it buying, selling, or even just daydreaming about what changes you can make in the future.

Search hundreds of listings that local real estate agents have available.

The listings cover properties around the region, from a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for $339,900 to million-dollar acreages throughout the province of BC, Yukon, Central Alberta and beyond.

Click on a listing, and see not only the realtor handling the property sale, but links to his or her other listings and social media feeds. With the click of a mouse, take a virtual tour of the property, find the property’s walking score, and learn about nearby amenities.

There are links available to schedule a showing, or send the agent a comment or question.

Want to share a listing? When you click on the share button, you’ll actually send an attractive digital flyer of the prospective property, not just a link.

There’s even a button to help determine how much you have to spend, courtesy of the convenient mortgage calculator.

Plus, scroll down the page on Today’s Home and find a list of expert local real estate professionals who can answer questions or help with that home sale, Farquharson explained.

Today’s Home offers the advantage of the massive reach that Black Press Media has built throughout Western Canada with its network of community newspapers and online products. That allows the public to tailor real estate searches based on location, price, and other key factors while allowing real estate professionals to gain unprecedented audience reach with their listings.

Today’s Home will dovetail into the media company’s existing print real estate publications.

“Black Press Media has real estate solutions in print and now we can add in the digital component,” Farquharson said.

Watch for expansion of the Today’s Home platform in the near future, she added. That will come as Black Press Media adds a new component – the development community. Developers will be able to reach a huge audience when their projects are ready for presentation.

For information on Today’s Home, contact group publisher Lisa Farquharson at 604-994-1020 or via email.

Happy house hunting!

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PGIM Real Estate, Revera Affiliate Target UK Market in Newly Formed JV



Real Estate Sales In September

PGIM Real Estate has been active in recent months providing capital to facilitate blockbuster senior housing acquisitions. Now the firm is looking to capitalize on demand for senior housing in the United Kingdom.

The Madison, New Jersey-based real estate investor and lender announced this week it is entering into a joint venture with Signature Senior Lifestyle, an affiliate of Revera, to develop and operate senior housing communities around greater London

Mississauga, Ontario-based Revera serves 20,000 older adults in long-term care homes and retirement residences in Canada. It is also the majority shareholder of Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest senior housing providers in the U.S. The company operates a portfolio of 12 communities in the U.K. under the Signature Senior Lifestyle brand, with one community in development that is slated to open in autumn 2021.


The JV has one development underway — a senior housing community, or “prime care” home, in southwest London. PGIM worked with Elevation Partners, a London-based investor and asset manager in U.K. health care real estate, in sourcing, structuring and executing the venture. Additionally, PGIM will retain the firm to leverage its expertise.

PGIM and Revera did not respond to requests for comment from Senior Housing News regarding details about its development pipeline.

London is emerging as a future hotbed of senior housing development, spurred by favorable demographic growth trends and a lack of available supply, and the PGIM-Revera venture will find competition.


Maplewood Senior Living CEO Gregory Smith told SHN last month that demand for U.K. senior housing is comparable to major U.S. markets such as New York and San Francisco, where supply has historically been constrained.

Maplewood and its investment partner, Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) are looking to expand its luxury Inspir brand to the U.K., and identified five suburban markets around London with high barriers to entry that are favorable for the brand’s growth.

Revera CEO Tom Wellner sees similar untapped upside potential for senior housing in the U.K.

Source: – Senior Housing News

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