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Real estate: Montreal one of Canada’s hottest markets for luxury homes – Montreal Gazette



“Montreal has truly become a global city. And when you have global cities, obviously, real estate tends to increase.”

This luxury condo in Old Montreal sold in 2019.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada / Montreal Gazette

Montreal is emerging as one of Canada’s hottest markets for luxury real estate, according to two recent reports on the country’s top-tier property markets. Sales of multimillion-dollar homes are soaring — and more million-dollar condos are being sold than ever before.

For the first time, sales of these ultra-luxe condos topped 20 per cent of real estate sales valued over $1 million in Montreal, according to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s Top-Tier 2019 year-end report — a 39-per-cent increase in sales compared with the previous year.

Most Montreal luxury condo sales in 2019 were within the $1-million to $3-million range, and two units above $4 million sold in 2019 (only one unit sold at that price point in 2018).

According to Don Kottick, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, low-maintenance condo living is often attractive to wealthy world travellers, whether they are based in Montreal or in search of a pied-à-terre.

“Montreal has truly become a global city. And when you have global cities, obviously, real estate tends to increase and, therefore, if you can’t build out, you build up,” Kottick said.

Sotheby’s credits strong economic fundamentals and the lack of foreign buyer taxes for the increase in luxury property sales. It also noted that Quebec experienced its largest population increase in three decades in 2018 and 2019.

A second report on the same theme produced by Engel & Völkers noted that the hottest Montreal luxury property markets in 2019 were the Plateau Mont Royal, Outremont and the Gay Village. The report singled out Mile-Ex and Mile End as emerging hot spots for million-dollar-plus property.

Little Italy and Villeray were also mentioned as areas with strong investment potential, and farther afield, the South Shore, North Shore, Eastern Townships, Tremblant and Quebec City are also becoming known as healthy markets for luxury property, the report noted.

In the past year, Montreal home prices rose faster than they have in almost a decade, and Engel & Völkers anticipates annual price growth of four to seven per cent in 2020 in both the Montreal and Mont-Tremblant markets.

In Montreal, the number of detached homes valued over $4 million sold increased 60 per cent, from 10 in 2018 to 16 in 2019, the Sotheby’s report noted. Interestingly, the number of sales of detached single family homes over $1 million decreased by three per cent in 2019 compared with 2018 to 423 homes sold. Yet Kottick said the lack of sales doesn’t reflect a lack of interest.

“Really, this is just a lack of inventory. If there were more homes available, I think you would see even more sales,” he said. “There’s definitely a shortage in the $1 (million)-$2 million range. Detached homes are just not coming on the market, and that’s obviously creating a bottleneck.”

Most Montreal luxury condo sales in 2019 were within the $1 million to $3 million range.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada /

Montreal Gazette

In certain markets, however, there may be other factors at play.

According to West Island Royal LePage broker Sean Broady, the number of properties that were removed from the market or didn’t sell in areas like Beaconsfield has increased in recent years.

Of the West Island municipalities, Beaconsfield typically has the most sales above $1.5 million, Broady said. Since 2017, the number of sales above $1.5 million has held steady at about 10 per year. In 2017, there were seven expired or cancelled listings. In 2018, there were 21, and in 2019, 31.

There may be many reasons why those homes didn’t sell. The homeowners could have changed their minds, for example. But Broady suspects a simpler answer:

“It’s not selling because it’s purely speculative pricing. You’ve got these homes that are at $1.5 (million) to $2.5 million, and you’re just seeing some crazy asking prices. I think some of the brokers are as much to blame as the owners of these properties,” Broady said. “The savvy buyers who are in that price range aren’t just going to pay whatever. They’re doing their homework, they know what these homes are worth.”

The homes in this price range that did sell, Broady noted, sold much more quickly than in 2017, averaging 60 days on the market instead of 153 days.

“Those who are pricing their homes correctly are meeting that same number of buyers that have that budget, and they’re selling them quicker,” he said.

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Vancouver real estate agent makes surprise guilty plea in murder trial – Vancouver Sun



Tejwant Danjou startled his own lawyers when he admitted at the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial that he killed Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel room

At the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial for second-degree murder, Tejwant Danjou pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel two years ago.

Kelowna Daily Courier

A surprise guilty plea was entered in a Kelowna courtroom Tuesday to a murder charge.

Tejwant Danjou startled his own lawyers when he admitted at the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial that he killed Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel room.

“I’m guilty,” Danjou, a 70-year-old Vancouver real estate agent said when asked how he was pleading to the charge of second-degree murder.

Asked by Judge Allison Beames if he had consulted with his lawyer, Donna Turko, before entering the plea, Danjou responded: “I don’t need to speak to anybody. I’m guilty.”

Danjou said Crown counsel had offered him the mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder of 10 years before parole eligibility in exchange for a confession.

Beames asked Danjou if he fully understood the implications of the guilty plea. She also told him that, despite whatever deal the Crown might have offered him, it would be up to her to impose the sentence, which for second-degree murder means imprisonment for between 10 and 25 years before parole eligibility.

“I need to be sure that you know what you’re doing,” Beames told Danjou. “Do you understand that only I can make a determination as to what the appropriate sentence is?”

“Yes, m’lady,” responded Danjou, dressed in red prison clothes.

Given the surprising turn of events, a short recess was declared. 

After proceedings resumed, Turko said she’d spoken with Danjou and confirmed his desire to plead guilty to second-degree murder.

“He’s very clear about it,” Turko told the judge.

Crown counsel Simone McCallum was also surprised by Danjou’s guilty plea: “This has come on the sudden, a little bit,” she said.

Proceedings will resume at 10 a.m. today, when it’s expected there will be a joint submission from Crown and defence on a statement of facts, describing events surrounding the murder.

Sentencing is expected on March 13.

Police were called to the Best Western Hotel Plus on Carrington Road in West Kelowna on July 22, 2018.

Inside one of the hotel rooms, they found Gauravarapu’s body. Police said Gauravarapu and Danjou, both from the Lower Mainland, were known to one another.

Danjou has been in custody since July 2018. After he was arrested and charged with murder, his licence to sell real estate was suspended by the Real Estate Council of B.C.

Gauravarapu had worked as a financial planner for a Royal Bank branch in Surrey.

Read more Kelowna Daily Courier news here

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Montreal real estate: Luxury home prices spiked in 2019, and will continue to in 2020, Royal Lepage forecasts – CTV News



Prices of luxury homes in the Montreal metropolitan area increased more than anywhere else in Canada over the past year, according to a survey by real estate firm Royal LePage.

During the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, the prices of luxury homes in Greater Montreal increased by 8.5 per cent, while those of high-end condominiums increased by 8.3 per cent.

Luxury properties of the Greater Montreal region are experiencing the same price momentum as in the more general residential real estate market, said Dominic St-Pierre, vice-president and general manager of Royal LePage for Quebec.

Demand for well-established high-end sectors, such as the city of Westmount and the Montreal borough of Outremont, remains stable,    Royal LePage noted.

There was also an increase in the price of luxury properties in other districts, such as Plateau-Mont-Royal and Griffintown. Luxurious West Island residences remain popular, especially because of the quality of the schools and views of the water, features that would be popular with wealthy newcomers, according to Royal LePage

The firm also observed that a lack of confidence among sellers is a factor that greatly contributes to the reduced supply of luxury properties in the Montreal region. Sellers are worried that they will not find what they are looking for after their current home is sold, and most are concerned about rapid price increases.

Royal LePage forecasts that over the next 12 months, the median price of a luxury home should increase by 5.5 per cent in the Montreal region to reach $1.955 million, while that of a high-end condominium is expected to rise 5 per cent to $1.48 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.

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CBRE predicts record $50 billion investment for commercial real estate this year – Toronto Star



TORONTO – Canada could see a record-breaking $50-billion worth of investment in commercial real estate this year as economic tailwinds and immigration policies support the booming sector, according to a report by CBRE, but it says the strong economy is also creating challenges of affordability and supply.

The commercial real estate services firm said Tuesday that total investment would be about $5 billion higher than 2019 and about a billion dollars higher than the record set in 2018.

Growth comes even amid low vacancies in major markets as tech companies in particular continue to prize downtown locations. Other strong areas include investments in rental apartments as home affordability gets out of reach for many Canadians, and industrial growth driven by e-commerce demand for logistics centres.

“Canada has so many advantages, and so many underlying fundamentals that are positives over the long-term, that we certainly think that growth in the Canadian commercial real estate market is going to continue,” said CBRE Canada vice-chairman Paul Morassutti.

Those trends, along with strong population growth and stable banking and governance, would help steer the sector if a recession hits, said Morassutti.

“The wild card is a recession. My feeling is we’re very well positioned to weather a recession, and I think we’ll continue to flourish after that because of those attributes.”

Heightened interest in the market is also creating challenges, including rising rents and limited office and industrial space, while climate change is creating its own issues.

CBRE says prime office rents jumped 20.9 per cent in Vancouver between 2018 and 2019, 14.2 per cent in Montreal, and 10.1 per cent in Toronto, while national industrial rents rose by 12.3 per cent between the two years for the largest increase on record.

Rents still form a small portion of company budgets and don’t seem to be a major constraint on growth yet, said Morassutti. He noted that in the industrial sector, costs savings in transportation from better locations more than offset costs from higher rents.

Rental rates for apartments are also climbing in major centres as home ownership becomes more expensive, which has helped drive investment in the multifamily. The sector could see about $11.9 billion in investment this year, up from $8.3 billion in 2018, to see the most of any commercial sector, CBRE expects.

The upward trend in residential rental rates is however putting pressure on income inequality, said Morassutti.

“Partially because of that lack of home affordability, you have all these people becoming renters, so on the one hand that’s a good thing. On the other hand, it’s not great for society that our two major cities are becoming unaffordable, it’s not great for the income divide, which is already a large social issue.”

Along with affordability, CBRE says the lack of investment in transit infrastructure, and increasing pressures of climate change on the construction sector and land values are also structural issues of concern for the year ahead.

More immediately, the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak also loom as a big unknown, but could be short-lived if it is contained, said Richard Barkham, global chief economist at CBRE said in a statement.

“If the coronavirus outbreak is relatively contained sometime in March, impacts on the Canadian economy and most commercial real estate sectors will be noticeable in the near term but less substantive over the year.”

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He noted that short-term impacts would largely hit the hotel and retail sectors. He said the global property market should be able to weather the effects of the virus as anticipated today, but that a clearer picture of the epidemic should materialize sometime in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.

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