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Quebec realtors dispute figures showing more condos on sale in Montreal than Toronto

Quebec realtors dispute figures showing more condos on sale in Montreal than TorontoQuebec realtors dispute figures showing more condos on sale in Montreal than Toronto

 

Condos: “Montreal is actually where the greatest supply-demand imbalance currently exists,” analyst Ben Rabidoux wrote Wednesday in The Globe and Mail.

Photograph by: Allen McInnis , The Gazette

MONTREAL — Whenever there’s a big national story on the spectre of a tidal wave of plunging resale prices, empty condos and foreclosures turning major Canadian housing markets into ghost towns, the epicentre of the impending collapse always seems to be in either Toronto or Vancouver.

So when recent opinion pieces warned of “signs of another bust in the making” — that the number of homes for sale in Greater Montreal on the Multiple Listing Service now surpassed active listings in Vancouver and Toronto combined, the figures were startling.

Equally surprising were figures showing double the number of condos for sale on the MLS (or on the Centris listing system in Quebec) in Greater Montreal as in Greater Toronto — the largest real estate market in the country, which has more condos under construction than anywhere else in North America.

“Montreal is actually where the greatest supply-demand imbalance currently exists,” analyst Ben Rabidoux wrote Wednesday in The Globe and Mail.

While active listings for condos have soared in Montreal, direct comparisons between the number of homes for sale in the two cities have come under fire.

In a response Wednesday, the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards challenged the argument that there were more condos for sale in Montreal than in Toronto, citing the disparity in housing starts between the two cities.

There are now 51,000 condos under construction in Greater Toronto, compared to 12,600 in Greater Montreal, the federation said, citing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data. As of January, 20,800 of those condos in Toronto have yet to be sold, compared to 5,800 units in Montreal, wrote Paul Cardinal, the federation’s director for market analysis citing data from research firms in both cities.

“Right there, that’s about four times less than in Toronto,” Cardinal wrote.

“It’s clear that there are far more condos for sale in Greater Toronto than in Greater Montreal. So we cannot confirm that supply is more problematic in (Montreal) than in Toronto.”

What’s more, the Toronto Real Estate Board tracts data separately for condo apartments and condo townhouses, while in Montreal, those numbers are compiled in one category for all types of condos. Yet most of the comparisons between the cities include all 12,623 condos for sale in Montreal last month, but only cite the 6,123 condo apartments in Toronto, which make up the majority of the active listings in that category.

In March, there were about 1,000 condo townhouses for sale in Toronto, data from the TREB show.

But while the comparison may not be two to one, there is still a gap in the active listings between the two cities.

Either way, it’s clear that supply is rising in Greater Montreal, where the condo market now favours buyers for the first time in 15 years with March inventory up 25 per cent to 12,623 units, compared to the same month in 2012.

While certain Montreal condo projects have already sold out, some developers are now giving away cars, raising brokers’ commissions and running special promotions to sell units. And on Saturday, the downtown Montreal condo tower Avenue is holding a sale where buyers can get higher-floor apartments for the same price as units on lower levels.

For Montreal buyers, it doesn’t take a comparison with Toronto to know that choices abound these days in the city’s condo market.

alampert@montrealgazette.com

Twitter:@RealDealMtl